Updated: Oct 12, 2019
Late Fall 2019 & Early Spring 2020 Program Update
My last message was back in May 2019 when we detailed our summer and fall programs. This message hopes to answer a few of your collective questions. This Fall our 18u, 16u and 15u teams have played well and we continue to measure significant player development. For 18u, the experiences that our players have been exposed to is significant. They have travelled to and played well at college venues to include Junior Colleges (JUCO) and 4 year college/universities. On those occasions, they have been introduced to college coaches and their recruiting coordinators and been given tours of their facilities. They have had the chance to interact with college players and to sample the college experience- academics, lifestyle and athletics. As of today, I have college recruiters talking to me about four of our players who are participating in our Fall program. As we enter our last few weeks of Fall play it is important to remember and recognize the commitment that our players and coaches have made to weekly practices focusing on fundamentals, the weekend travel to games and to our program.
Our Fall season ending tournament this year will be to the Galveston, Texas area 10/24-27. We did this after taking a look at the escalating cost of the traditional trip to Arizona. We are piloting the Texas trip and working with not-for-profit college coaches there versus the for-profit tournament directors. As with previous years, we are taking both an 18u and a 16u team down to play in Texas.
I would like to introduce our new Spring 2020 Head JV Coach Hal Farmwald. Hal recently relocated to Colorado from Indiana and was previously the Varsity Head Coach at Goshen H.S. Hal has an impressive coaching resume, which is posted to our website. Hal will be assembling his JV coaching staff. He will also be assisting me with the Varsity team as an Assistant Coach specializing and working directly with infielders and base running.
Matt Smith has accepted the position as our Spring 2020 Head Freshman Team Coach. The Spring Freshman Team is a club team under the umbrella of our Evergreen Baseball Boosters and as such plays in the Jeffco Level 3 (L3) League. It is open to rising 9th graders who are currently enrolled in 8th grade and planning to attend EHS. It is also open to Home Schooled students who are planning to attend EHS in 2020. Matt will be building his coaching staff, too. Please monitor our website for coaching staff updates and their coaching resumes.
The 2019-2020 CHSAA Activities Calendar lists spring sports dates for all Colorado high schools. Important Dates and Information for Spring:
• 1st Practice is March 2
• 1st Scrimmage March 7
• 1st game March 12
• We are limited to 2 scrimmages and 23 games per spring season.
• First Round of Playoffs for 4A is to be completed by May 23, followed by games May 29 and 30.
• State Finals this season are June 5-6.
• This Spring we will field Varsity (V) and JV teams with designated “Swing Players” and “Pitchers Only” or POs.
• After evaluations on March 2, those that are not rostered to the V or JV will be referred to our Club Freshman Team for evaluation. Referrals to our Freshman Club Team are for current EHS freshman or sophomores only.
• V and JV players are required to have at least 5 days of practice before they participate in a scrimmage or game. They also must have submitted required Jeffco district paperwork; and be academically eligible.
Spring Break 2020
We traditionally travel to Arizona on a chartered bus and take the V and JV, play 3 games each and practice. Last year our Freshman Club Team also went to AZ but not on the chartered bus – Families provided own transportation. At the request of players and parents we were asked to explore other possibilities to include Vegas, Texas, and Florida. I agreed to undertake this study. I have been in contact with coaches in each state. Here are a few preliminary findings:
Vegas – hosts a great Spring Break tournament but it is not when we “Break” (3/21-29) Florida- we have received an invitation to play in the 2020 IMG 8th annual National Classic 3/24-27 in Bradenton. It is competitive, total immersion with lodging, meals and fields/practice facilities on campus. I invite you to go to their website for more information. I am running the numbers. Fly into Tampa or Orlando.
Florida- I am looking at direct scheduled games with central/West Coast Florida H.S. Coaches. So far I have interest from Largo H.S., and Montverde Academy. This option will require a lot of work to find other schools for V and JV games and access to practice facilities; lodging; local transportation; etc.
Florida- a Jacksonville area H.S. coach is a baseball friend of mine and he is offering us an opportunity to come to JAX to play in a tournament. Arizona- We also have the option to return to the Greenway Festival and use chartered bus for V and JV. These costs have risen over the years. Texas - I plan to talk to H.S. coaches when we travel down there in a few weeks to gauge interest.
Our goal is to limit and even reduce costs but at the same time provide an experience that meets our program goals and objectives. We understand that families need cost estimates in order to commit to these travel experiences and we will make every effort to get those to you as soon as possible. With our early spring weather challenges, it is important to get our players outside and under the sun throwing, running and working on their baseball skills to help mitigate risk from injury. I am also sensitive to what parents and families would like to see since many of you travel and “vacation” at the same time.
Please note that we have released the online stores (Elite Sports and Victory Athletics) for player gear and apparel EARLY this year. Our branded apparel is also open for parents, grandparents and friends of Cougar Baseball. The online stores offer quality gear at Pro-deal discounts and lists of both required and optional items will be made available to parents as soon as possible. I will generate a separate message about this.
Finally, I want to thank a few people who have really stepped up to help this program.
1. Eric Aafedt, who last year and again this year made very large donations to our program to off-set the cost of our new 10-inning scoreboard, which will be going up in RF. Todd Schiro has been project managing this initiative, working with the School District and Zuni Signs.
2. Scott Sarkisian, who has acted as our General Contractor on the concession stand renovation. The concession stand was found to be out of code and we have to remove the interior stairs to the second floor and replace with exterior stairs/landing with new window, door on that side, which faces the Upper Field. Scott has been very patient in dealing with all the internal and external stakeholders and has put his own personal funds into the project. His sweat equity along with fellow carpenters Louie King, Todd Schiro and Gary Dekoker is appreciated. Gary stepped up and is helping us with donated material too.
3. Emily and Chad Webre, who did a great job in making our 2nd annual Golf Tournament at Hiwan a huge success. Getting swag to silent auction, dealing with Hiwan, the arm twisting to get keynote players, etc. To a guy who used to play a lot of golf, I know how much work it takes to pull off such a first-class event. Each year it keeps getting bigger and better. To those that worked that event, thank you (Emily Webre, Daphne Taber, Candace Read, Elaine Lipka, Beth Kapner and Wendy Sarkisian.)
4. Our Booster Club Board. It isn’t an easy job and we have a number of short and long term projects in addition to the everyday tasks. Thank you Daphne Taber, Todd Schiro, Mike Read, and Barbara Schmidt.
5. Adrienne Smith, who has managed the Concession Stand and the many drives down to Costco and carrying back and forth the heavy boxes of snacks and beverages, has cleaned up the mess after games and balanced the needs of other shared users.
6. Tony York, who provided 2 IP cameras in our indoor batting cages along with a monitor and CPU to capture indoor hitting and pitching. We have a few kinks to work out like purchase the right software program but this has been very helpful so far and the right step towards leveraging the collection of video to help with mechanics. Ed and Caryn Pearson donated a large wall mounted TV screen in our indoor cages along with player locker magnetic name tags.
7. Chris Hilgers, who purchased 2 full sets of catcher’s gear for our program this last spring season. Dawn Vilims purchased our 2 large, wheeled travel coolers which have been to AZ and back. Heather Patterson and Rachael Schreffler purchased our 2 wheeled laundry carts which are used as ball carts in our cages.
8. The parents of players, who we as coaches see working the Concession Stand in the window or cooking burgers; those that come up to us on the field and say “how can I help you prep the field for the next game”; that without asking, pull the trash can liners and take the trash bags down to the dumpster down by the high school. Thank you is not enough. I wish that I could do more to thank those parents.
Our program is strong and it is because of you. We offer a player development program that as one college coach said “equals if not exceeds anything that I have seen from the high dollar club programs.” We should all be proud. I hope this update helps. Thank you for your support of the program, and Go Cougars! Head Coach John Lipka