Bighorns ready to start 7th season on Saturday
These days, Dennis Young feels more like a shuttle driver than the head coach of a summer collegiate baseball squad.
“You’re right,” said Young. “I’ve spent more time at the Reno airport this week than I have all the time I’ve lived in Nevada.”
Young, who runs the Nevada Bighorns, has been picking up college players from out of town nearly everyday this week. He probably qualifies for a season parking pass if those were issued.
Young has been busily getting ready for the start of the Bighorns’ seventh season in Carson City. The Bighorns, who are in the the Pacific West Baseball League, have four games at Western Nevada College against Top Speed. The teams meet Saturday and Sunday for 11 a.m. doubleheaders.
One of his biggest chores is finding local families willing to open up their homes to his players. Young said he has families in Carson and Virginia City that agreed to his players.
“We have everybody but one housed,” Young said. “We have one player coming in next week, so hopefully I’ll be able to get him housed. It went better than I thougt it would. People don’t know how much I appreciate it.”
Young won’t even have an official practice, though the players that are already here have been hitting up at WNC.
The team returns several players – pitcher-first baseman Eric Maupn, infielder Matt Page, shortstop-outfielder Jeff Young, designated hitter-first baseman Adam Anderson, infielder Will Cote, and pitcher Jason Sirak.
Young said his weekend is all about getting to know his new players which numbers 26.
“That is what I’m going to do this weekend, run players in and out, especially the pitchers,” Young said. “I know the six or seven we have coming back, but everybody is going to play. We have four games and 14 pitchers. I’ve never had that many before. I don’t even know how to react.
“I run a pretty different program. We all want to win and we all want to compete. I don’t put any pressure on the kids. I want players to get more at-bats and get more innings. I want them to have fun and enjoy the two months they will be here. I don’t get in the middle of things that their college coaches are working with them on.”
Young said current and former players have helped get the word out about the Bighorns. Social media has helped, too.
Pitcher Joey Webb, who was scheduled to pitch this summer for the Bighorns this summer but ended up in Minnesota, recruited three of his Menlo College teammates – Ryan Buscemi, Sean Sweeney and Corey Metoyer.
Maupin, who went for WMC to New Mexico Highlands where he pitched and played first base (.296, 26 RBI and 2-1, 8.78), recruited A.J. Alexander (.367, 36 RBI) and Tommy Lyons (.364, 18 RBI) to join himself and Sirak on the squad. There are four players going to or playing at University of Texas-Permian Basin and three from Henderson State University.
Whitworth College, which reached the NCAA Division III World Series sent two of its pitchers, Carson Blumenthal and Dan Scheibe, to Carson City. Outfielder Eric Nikssarian (.291, 2 homers, 14 RBI) also is on the roster.
“Word of mouth has helped,” Young said. “Facebook and Twitter really helped a lot. We have kids from Henderson State (in Arkansas) and University of Texas-Permian Basin, and they were looking for a place to play, came across our web-site and called me.”