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NHS baseball diamond no longer in the rough

Skyler Messinger, now playing third base for the Fresno Grizzlies in the Colorado Rockies' organization, last played on it in 2017. His brother, Connor Messinger, played on it a few years earlier before heading off to play baseball at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and later the University of Nebraska at Kearney, then returning to Niwot as an assistant coach.

Last season, seniors Jed Kilpatrick, Julian Lettow, Diego Castro and Jaedyn Adler played on it, together with a number of underclassmen infielders, helping lead the Cougars back to the state playoffs for the first time in several seasons.

"It" is the infield at the Niwot High School baseball diamond, which is undergoing a makeover this summer.

"The field is being leveled and laser graded, which will include some new sod in the infield as well," Athletic Director Joe Brown said. "We are very excited about this much needed maintenance."

The baseball field was new back in 2000, when Mike Moat, Brad Dayhuff, Danny Bote, Matt Barker and Steve Lux had the opportunity to christen the facility while helping the Cougars win a third straight state 4A championship.

Moat, who often played third base when he wasn't pitching, went on to be drafted twice by MLB organizations, eventually heading to San Diego State before spending four seasons in the White Sox organization. He later returned to Niwot as an assistant coach. .

Dayhuff alternated with Moat, moving between third base and the pitcher's mound. Both pitchers clocked in at 90 mph or more on the radar gun, but Dayhuff went on to the University of Colorado to pursue an engineering degree, ending his baseball playing days.

Bote was the team's shortstop in 2000, moving on to a 4-year career at Division I Liberty University and then a stint as a high school coach, while Barker became Niwot's regular second baseman after a sore arm curtailed his pitching efforts, then was drafted by the Rockies as a "draft-and-follow" selection. Lux was only a sophomore in 2000, but went on to play at Grand Canyon University after graduating.

Sam Distefano, who last played on the field in 2010, said that the infield played well back then, but he recalled drainage problems around home plate and first base. Distefano now coaches baseball in Holyoke, Colorado.

After 24 years, the field has become damaged by poor drainage, uneven sod, and divots, making ground balls much more difficult to catch. Next spring the Cougars will have a chance to play on the brand new infield as they attempt to return to the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

 

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Rendered 04/21/2024 10:54