Evart starts summer baseball season
EVART — Area high school baseball teams are getting in as much action as they can this summer including Josh Johnson and his Evart Wildcats.
Johnson has his program in the Mount Pleasant Colt League, with two doubleheaders this week.
The summer opened on Tuesday with home games against Shepherd.
The first game was 8-7 in Shepherd's favor. The second contest ended 0-0 after two innings because of darkness.
The Wildcats had players returning from their spring team which will play for Evart in 2018, including Billy Conklin, Josh Dorn and Carter Pritchard.
“It's great to be playing some baseball,” Johnson said “Baseball is everything. It's a nice day.”
What coaches especially like about summer baseball is the warmer weather. Almost half of the regular season is usually played in temperatures less than 60 degrees.
A challenge is getting players to come out during the summer, but Johnson indicated he had 12 players in the Shepherd doubleheader.
“We had a bunch of athletes playing other sports (during the summer),” Johnson said, referring to basketball and football.
Even though the 2018 baseball season is nine months away, getting summer diamond time is valuable, Johnson said.
“There's no doubt about it,” he said. “What I'm telling them is we're looking at next year right now. If you're here, you're going to get better in some way.”
This week, the Wildcats are scheduled to play at home on Tuesday against Montabella and are at Carson City-Crystal on Thursday. Next week, the Coyotes have home games on June 27 against Beal City and on June 29 against Coleman.
They'll be home against Gladwin on July 5 and will finish out the month with road games at Harrison, Hemlock and Montabella.
There's also a game on Sunday, July 9, at Pine River, not associated with the Mount Pleasant Colt League.
In the past, Evart had summer games from teams in the west including Reed City, Grant, White Cloud and Fremont.
“Everybody from the east plays a lot of baseball and are at Division 3,” Johnson said. “The pitchers we saw against Shepherd were varsity level. They were tough.”