Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Niwot Legion B wraps up 2017 season


August 3, 2017

Niwot head baseball coach Adam Strah had modest expectations for his Legion team this summer. With all but a few of his varsity players lost to graduation or club teams, he knew his mostly untested squad would struggle against more seasoned teams, so he didn’t expect to see much success by the conventional metrics. In the bargain, though, he would get a team much better prepared to run the Northern League gauntlet next spring.

Unfortunately for Cougar fans, Strah’s prediction was largely borne out. Niwot finished the summer season with just five wins and failed to make the Legion post-season tournament. There were also some genuinely cringe-worthy moments from the Cougars on the basepaths and on defense, and many times this season, the team’s inexperience was painfully evident.

For the relentlessly positive Strah, though, the team was better at the end of the season than the beginning, which was really the only goal all along.

“We have been telling the boys that regardless of what the scoreboard might say our goal was to be better in July than June,” he said. “I feel we did that. That is the positive we can all go into the school year and fall holding onto.”

Mike Newton, Legion assistant and varsity pitching coach, agreed, “Where we started and where we ended were two different teams. We started taking care of the small things, and that helps take care of the big things that help you win. The record doesn’t indicate how far we came.”

That improvement was on display during the last week of the season, when the Cougars nabbed wins in two of their last three games, including the best performance of the season, a 17-3 pounding of Northglenn on July 20. Veteran Joey DesEnfants had three hits on the day, including a double, and was impressive on the mound, going all five innings of the rule-shortened game while giving up just four hits. Ben Karbassi also had three hits on the day, in what was arguably his best performance of the summer. Aidan Galloway and Mason Kunkel chipped in two hits apiece, and both had three walks on the day.

The Cougars also got a 4-3 walk-off victory against Eaton in their season finale on July 24, when Jaryd Meek hit a hard grounder towards third that took a fortuitous bounce over the third baseman’s head, scoring Galloway from second.

“That was a great game, an exciting game,” said Newton. “The pitching was excellent…our hitting was really good, and we had some good plays defensively. It was definitely a good way to end the season.”

On the mound, the Cougars benefited from solid outings by some of their youngest pitchers. Sophomore Will Douthit threw five solid innings and was relieved by Micah Sheats, an incoming Niwot freshman who turned heads on the U16 team and joined the Legion team for their last weekend.

For Newton, the progress of the pitching staff was one of the most positive developments of the summer, and has him looking forward to next spring.

“Our quality of pitching and pitches that we made were outstanding towards the end of the year. We got into some trouble but made some quality pitches to get ourselves out of trouble,” he said. “I was really happy with our staff as the season went on. Dylan [Ferrero], Joey DesEnfants, Aidan Galloway and Will Douthit did a great job of taking the bump every day and making some great, quality pitches.”

With another summer in the books, the coaches are looking ahead to their fall baseball program, which is slated to begin in early September and run through the end of October. Fall ball will be primarily instructional in nature, with small, focused workouts and more individualized coaching. For more information about the program, please contact Adam Strah at strah_adam@svvsd.org.


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