When the Cody Legion baseball tournament takes the field Friday it will have been nearly two weeks since it last played a game and the players couldn’t be more ready.
The Cubs are hosting the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament, Friday-Tuesday.
“We’re feeling confident,” senior Jared Grenz said. “After AA state we refocused and are ready to play. I think after not winning games at AA state we want to come out more ready to play.”
Cody played up at the AA state tourney, losing to eventual champion Casper 10-0 and Evanston 7-2. Many of the players were battling illness at that tournament and in the week following, but now the Cubs are healthy and ready for regionals.
Eight teams are participating from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.
“There’s some really good teams in town with some outstanding players,” coach Bart Grenz said. “The games should be exciting and there should be a lot of good action in all of them.”
This is Cody’s third straight appearance in the NWCART and fifth in six years so it knows what to expect.
“There’s more pitchers that throw hard and they have deep bullpens,” senior Heston Williams said of the other teams. “It’s good for us because we’re better hitters off hard pitchers.”
Jared Grenz added, “All the teams are good and you know there’ll be competitive games. These are teams with multiple quality games instead of one.”
After losing a handful of players from last year’s team there will be some Cubs playing in their first regional games. While there will be some nerves for the younger players, Jared said they don’t last long.
“It’s always kind of nerve wracking when you’ve never been out there, but after the first couple innings you realize you can play with them,” he said.
To be successful during the tournament Williams said, “We’ll have to stay positive even when we’re down a couple of runs. We have to believe in ourselves and execute when needed.”
Pitching will also be key for success.
“Our pitchers will have to go deep into games and pitch well because of how many games you play if you win,” Jared said. “They’ll have to pitch well.”
The Cubs are both looking forward to playing on their home field and also feeling a little bit of the pressure that comes from wanting to do well in front of the home fans.
“Playing on our own field, we know the hops the ball takes and will have more crowd support,” Williams said, although he added that all the time spent with the team at past regionals is one of the best parts of the experience.
“You get to bond as a team,” he said. “Since we’re home we’ll have to get some activities together to bond as a team and have a good time.”
Cody faces Montana-Alberta champion Vauxhall, Alberta at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Prior to the game at 7 p.m. will be the tournament’s opening ceremonies. Each team will be called onto the field and the players will be announced before the National Anthem is played.