Summertime is the best time to play baseball. Not often do players have to avoid blizzards and freezing temperatures in the months of June, July and August, as they may in the months of spring. Instead, players and coaches can concentrate on the game of baseball and work on the skills which augment success in prep programs while playing in a competitive environment.
Though Delta High School is through the first part of its summer schedule, there is much to be done in preparation for the next prep baseball season.
Delta High School's baseball team with coach Steve Reiher recently played a game in Montrose where the Panthers trailed, 3-1, before moving on to earn a 9-6 decision over the Indians.
Delta headed into the sixth inning with the 3-1 deficit but found its bats to go on a hitting spree that eventually led to the win.
Reiher got great work out of Ezra Kathrein on the mound against the Indians. Kathrein went the distance in picking up the win. "He has pitched extremely well this summer," noted Reiher.
The Panthers success for the season hasn't been of paramount importance for Reiher. "We have played okay this summer. We (coaching staff) are more concerned with getting reps than the outcome of games. It's obviously good to win, but, it is definitely about getting better."
As for who benefits from a summer program in baseball. "I would say everyone benefits from these summer programs," quoted Reiher. "That's why it's so important for everyone to play. Summer ball is getting tougher every year for the simple fact that we want, and need, two and three-sport athletes competing, and for that to happen athletes need to get work in all their sports. The frustration is with the kids that only play baseball don't get all the reps needed in each sport. Eventually, those kids get weeded out because they simply get passed up by guys that are putting in the time."
Reiher will have a few key players back next season with third baseman, and the 3A WSL Player of the Year, Gauge Lockhart returning along with top pitching-prospect Nolan Bynum.
Delta was scheduled to play a doubleheader at Central on Monday and hosted Hotchkiss on Tuesday.
A scheduled tournament, to be played at Central High School, had to be dropped because several teams withdrew causing the tournament to be cancelled. "That means the Rifle Tournament (the last week of June) will probably be it for the summer," noted Reiher.
Reiher hopes to find a couple of games to replace the four games his Panthers were to play in the Central Tournament.