ST. GEORGE – Battling weather issues and some very good teams from Nevada, it hasn’t been the greatest of opening weekends for the Snow Canyon Warriors, who won two of four games.
But Snow Canyon, the defending 3A Champion, will undoubtedly get things going as the Warriors gear up for another run at the state title.
“We’re excited about the guys and the group of kids we have here,” Snow Canyon coach Reed Secrist said. “We expect some of these younger kids to step up and fill some of the holes we have and hopefully we can build a championship season every year.”
Team captains Riley Gates, Brogan Secrist and Chandler Day will all need to be solid on the mound if the Warriors are going to compete in a tough Region 9. Gates has been pitching varsity since he was a freshman phenom and the southpaw knows his team will need more than just pitching to go all the way.
“We expect, the same as any other year, to win a state championship,” Gates said. “But we need to stay focused. I know we’re capable of winning a state championship, but we’ve got to compete. No one’s going to give it to us. It’s got to be earned.”
The younger Secrist said he knows replacing star Austin Ovard won’t be easy.
“Playing for Snow Canyon you expect to win,” he said. “I don’t know if you can replace Ovard. You’ve obviously got to step up and do whatever you can to help your team win.”
Day, a speedy infielder who will also fill an important role in the SC pitching rotation, said he loves the opportunities he’s been given.
“I want to hit the ball, make plays, just do my job and do whatever I can to help out the team,” he said. “As lead-off hitter, I need to get on base and get things going. If guys are willing to work and step up we can get where we want to.”
The Warriors have been the banner-carrying program for Region 9 the past few years. Last season, SC was forced to forfeit several games after using an ineligible player and had to win a series of games to close out the season just to make the playoffs. Undaunted, the Warriors swept through the playoffs and defeated Juan Diego in the if necessary game to clinch the title.
“I want my kids to feel that way, that they expect to win a state championship,” Reed Secrist said. “That helps you when you get on the field, you have a little swagger to your stride. But obviously we’re not taking anybody lightly. We know how tough this region’s going to be.”
The Warriors started with the tough games this weekend, dropping decisions to Cimarron Memorial and Foothill, both from the Las Vegas area. Snow Canyon did get wins against Syracuse and Herriman, a pair of 5A schools from the Salt Lake City area.
The Warriors play 4A Mountain Crest next Thursday before opening region play in late March.
Videocast by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News
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