Season in Review: Struggles abound for young Cowboy baseball team
The Crook County High School baseball team was young and inexperienced this season, and it showed as the team finished the year in fifth place in the Intermountain Conference with a 3-12 league record and a 6-20 overall mark.
The season was marked with difficulty, as illness during the middle of the season left both the varsity and JV rosters shorthanded. Changes in the team's coaching situation late in the year also caused difficulty. However, the team continued to work hard throughout the year.
"The team is still young, and working hard to get better," said assistant coach Frank Martinez following the end of the year. "We made some mistakes, but we are young, and they are trying hard."
Crook County had just three seniors on the roster. Mitch Warren held a key leadership role with the team, and he was named second team all-league. Easton Perrin anchored the Crook County defense at first base all season, while fellow senior Benny Allen spent much of the early part of the season on the bench but played more late in the year and contributed to the team's offensive output in a big way.
"Benny really started hitting the ball well, the last four or five games," Martinez said. "Easton did a great job defensively, while Mitch was doing a good job leadership-wise."
The remainder of the Crook County roster returns next year, including the entire pitching staff and infield. In addition to Warren, outfielder Tyis Yustat, utility player Logan Faust and pitcher Tyson Martinez also earned all-league recognition. Also earning valuable varsity experience were Kody and Carson Knudtson, Gage Martinez, Dustin Wilson, Hayden Forman, Clayton Dill and Austin Vaughan, as well as several other players who played mostly JV ball but also saw limited varsity action.
The Cowboys will still be young next year, as this year's varsity roster had just three juniors, eight sophomores and two freshmen. Not only that, after a couple years with either limited or no summer ball, Crook County has enough interest to field two complete teams for summer ball this year.
The team also drops from Class 5A to Class 4A next season, where they will once again join the Tri-Valley Conference. North Marion dominated the conference with a 15-0 league record, but fell in the state quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Madras and Gladstone also reached the playoffs, but both lost in the first round. That means the future could be bright for the Cowboys, who have not reached the state playoffs since 2019.
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