From The Dugout

Alright Tiger fans pull up a seat here in the dugout. At least there’s a little shade. That helps, because it’s been brutal out there in the sun. Well, let me tell you, as much as you and I suffer from this heat, can you imagine the toll on our Tigers, out there working and competing in 100-degree weather. And I’ll tell you something else here too. As hot as the thermometer say it is? Well, it’s probably 10 degrees hotter out there on the artificial turf.

Don’t get me wrong. The Diamonds at Tiger Fields are beautiful, and they are one heck of an improvement over the old, rock strewn, uneven and very patchy (to be kind about it) diamonds we had before now. Thing is this. They get hot. This will be really nice when seasons are when they are supposed to be, like next season. That turf will feel great in the late March sun. We are not meant to be out there playing varsity baseball and softball in the middle of June, heatwaves in New Mexico. And it’s not just them. Our Tiger track team and Tiger golf team are out there in this as well. Its a health a safety issue for our kids. It’s just unnatural. There, I said it. 

And hey, now that we got around to them, how about our Tigers of Track and Golf? State bound as we speak. Tiger golf is sending four to State, two boys, two girls. As they recruit more for next year, look for those two to go as full teams in both divisions.

Our Tiger track stars will be competing at the State Championships on Saturday, June 19. We have 11 athletes going, between the boys’ and the girls’ squads competing in 14 events. That is half of the entire team. Not too shabby for li’l old Hot Springs High. Of course, a fair whack of our Tiger varsity athletes, across all sports, are actually just finishing middle school, and only a handful are seniors. Sorta speaks well for the future of Tiger sports. We’ll talk more about that in coming weeks.

Okay, let’s shift gears a minute and talk about something. Despite the mounting losses as the season draws towards its end, the Tiger girls of the diamonds, our intrepid Tiger softball team continue to improve, and gain in softball skills and knowledge with a hard focus on the future of their team and their program.

That pair of games facing Socorro in the Tiger’s home ballpark were the ones to watch, at least that’s how I saw them. Here’s the thing. The Tigers are a team with no seniors, not one. It’s a team whose center of gravity is made of freshmen and eighth graders, built around a small core of sophomores and juniors, only five of whom were on the last team that had a season, the 2018-19 team. Remember last year, the season was cut off at the ankles after just one game. It doesn’t really count.

With no seniors, on a team heavy with eighth grade and freshmen athletes competing, a matchup against JV teams gives a better gauge to where the Tigers are, where they are heading and what the strengths and weaknesses are. Yeah, okay. Areas to work on? Sure, there’s plenty. Strengths to build on though? Well, they have those too, skills, diamond-smarts and some other things too. Not the least of which is a huge, strong and ample supply of Tiger heart and fire.

So anyway, Tiger fans, we’ll meet up someplace else next week and keep this dialog going. Pretty soon, you know what? We’ll ne counting down to Friday Night Lights! Now THAT is pretty exciting, isn’t it? 

Anyway, I’m looking forward to NEXT June, when I can be covering intermural, tournament and camp basketball and volleyball, in nice air-conditioned gyms, like I’m supposed to be doing this time of year. ‘Nuff said? Darn straight!

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