Legacy baseball took a gut punch to finish its 2011 campaign.
The team shook off key injuries during the regular season to make one of it most convincing postseason runs in a spell. But the Lightning heroics came to a screeching halt from a 8-2 loss to Pine Creek in the championships of the Class 5A District 6 tournament.
The season-ending falter stung, to be sure. But with nearly its whole roster retuning, the Lightning enter the season ready to swing for the fences.
“We have 14 seniors, our whole pitching staff back and everybody but one player in our lineup back,” Legacy catcher Ty Overboe said. “It’s nice.”
There should be few weak points on the Lightning, but there is one area the team should be exceedingly strong. Legacy has the potential to batter its opponents with its offense.
Second baseman Dillon Bollig (.508 average) and Overboe (.349) finished with the most at bats season and the most success at the plate. But the senior are only the tip of the iceberg went it comes to turning the crank on the offense. With lineup that all swings over .300, the Lightning could have opposing pitchers shaking at the top of the mound.
“We have all the pieces,” said Jake Bubltiz, who finished his abbreviated sophomore season batting .379. “The biggest thing is going out and accomplishing when we get on the field.”
The Lightning also have the potential to keep batters at bay with an experienced pitching lineup.
Devin Osbment and Jake Long are expected to anchor the Lightning’s rotation. but the seniors are far from the only arms the team plan to throw at the competition.
The wild card on the mound might be Lucas Gilbreath. The left-hander had 58 strikeouts in 2011 and only looks to grow stronger his sophomore season.
“With the experience we have, we shouldn’t run into any problems”, said Long, who has pitched varsity since his freshman year. “But staying consistent on the mound will be one of our biggest challenges.”
The Lightning have all physical and talent aspects in spades, but for Ty Giordano, there are other factors getting him geeked up.
One of the biggest assets the coach believes his team has is its chemistry. Few if any teams out there have the amount of games played together in and out of the high school season as senior-heavy Legacy.
“We’ve spent quite a few summers together and have been building up to this for a while,” Giordano said. “There is a great feel around the club. There is a lot of confidence and chemistry, and they go a long way.”
As a member of the Front Range League, the team has its work cut out for it. The conference has been among the most competitive in the state. But if there is a year for Legacy to mow down its murderer’s row, it is this season.
“It was good pushing into districts last year,” Overboe said. “But we’re looking to go further this season.”