Back on the diamond

After thirteen months, Creek baseball is returning

Cameron+Yuran+is+gearing+up+for+a+great+season.+%22I%27ve+been+working+a+lot+more+on+the+mental+game%2C%22+he+said.

Raegan Knobbe

Cameron Yuran is gearing up for a great season. “I’ve been working a lot more on the mental game,” he said.

Carly Philpott, Editor-in-Chief

2019-2020 SEASON SUMMARY

Creek baseball had only played a few scrimmages in Mar. 2020 when COVID hit. They were about to travel to their first tournament of the year when they were told their season was being put on hold indefinitely.

“We figured out, actually, during practice that we were going to get out of school because of COVID, and then the rest of the season was kind of on hold for a little bit,” senior shortstop Carter Dorighi. “We were kind of left a little in the dark for a while and then they eventually canceled the whole season.”

This was extremely disappointing to the team, who had big plans for the 2020 season.

“It was decimating for the players,” said Varsity Coach Marc Johnson. “The majority of the team was returning as seniors, and so it was very hurtful for them that they lost their entire season.”

Over the winter and spring season, the baseball organization played and practiced together, and now they’re ready to return to normal baseball – or as normal as it can be.

Baseball doesn’t even get to start tryouts until Apr. 25 this year. CHSAA scheduled the sport for Season D, the final season of the school year, which runs into June, much later than a normal baseball season.

And because of COVID-19 regulations, the four baseball teams can’t practice at Creek, so they’re currently using the Slammers facility near the Centennial airport, practicing only two days a week and late at night when the building is available.

“It’s been hard,” junior pitcher Cooper Katskee said. “The juniors and seniors only get about an hour, from nine to ten PM. In one hour you can’t hit and throw a full bullpen.”

Still, the team is putting the work in and is prepared to win this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Much of the team’s stars graduated last year, but with few returning players and multiple eligible underclassmen, this is the

Cooper Katskee, a junior pitcher, expressed that not being able to practice at Creek this year has been difficult. “It’s been hard,” Katskee said. “The juniors and seniors only get about an hour, from nine to ten PM. In one hour you can’t hit and throw a full bullpen.” (Raegan Knobbe)

year to start watching Creek.

“We’re returning a couple of players who got some pitching time,” Johnson said. “But each of these jobs are open, so it creates a competition where everybody has a chance to try to win a position.”

Even among the new faces, there are also older players to look out for. Katskee (left) was on varsity last season before COVID canceled it all. But this year, he’s been preparing.

“I want to be the best teammate I can be,” Katskee said. “Go out, put my best on the field, and help my team win.”

Team members also pointed to two other returning seniors, senior Zach Herrick and junior Codi Trebelhorn, as players Creek should be watching, as well as senior first baseman Cameron Yuran (below).

“This year I’ve been working a lot more on the mental game,” Yuran said of how he was preparing for the season.

Most of all, Creek should be watching Dorighi, who recently committed to Lafayette College in Pennsylvania for baseball.

“I’m looking to step up as a leader for the team, kind of help some of the younger guys out,” said Dorighi, who also mentioned that he spent time on his hitting this offseason. “I want to set the example of what kind of culture we’re creating for Cherry Creek baseball.”

SEASON GOALS

Creek baseball has often been promising in the past, and this season is no different. Although the team is made up of many new players, they still have high hopes for the year.

“Our main goal, same as every year, is to try and get to that championship,” Katskee said. “Win games, play baseball.”

Teammates echoed Katskee’s sentiment. “We really don’t know what the season’s gonna look like,” Dorighi said. “But I know we’re playing lots. So our focus is just to kind of dominate our conference.”

This year, like many years in the past, Creek’s main conference rivals will most likely be Grandview and Mullen. In order to make it to the late playoffs, Creek will need to perform well against those teams and others.

Johnson said that his focus is less on championships and more on continuing to build the culture of the team. “I’m an old-school advocate of, ‘we’re not worried about tomorrow, we’re worried about today,’” he said. “We’ve got to take care of our business today, and try to be as good of a team we can be today, and then tomorrow we’ll take on tomorrow.”

Overall, the team is mostly just glad to be back on the field after months away. And with big plans for the season, Johnson expressed gratitude for the coaching staff that make it all possible.

“[The coaches] don’t work for me, they work with me,” Johnson said. “I can’t even tell you how important they are to the success of our program and the successes we’ve had in the past.”