Sand Devils open baseball season with high hopes

The Page Sand Devils play a double header against the Aztec Tigers in Page on Feb. 25.

It was opening day for Sand Devils baseball Saturday, and in a strange turn of events, the weather was warm and calm. Any Sand Devil baseball or softball fan can attest that that is seldom the case. 

Page hosted the Aztec (New Mexico) Tigers in a double header, and despite losing 9-5 and 11-1, head baseball coach Ty Bennett is “100% optimistic about this season.” The rest of the coaching staff and players feel the same way.

Aztec, it should be noted, are a 4A team with a strong group of players who advanced to the semi-finals last year.

“We held our own,” said Coach Bennett. “We just had a couple errors and a couple bad innings, and that was the difference.”

The Sand Devils have had just three days of actual practice. Basketball and wrestling seasons finished just a week ago, which kept three of the starters off the field. Page then missed two days of practice due to days when it was snowing too badly to get on the field. 

The main factor that has Coach Bennett and the other coaches looking forward to the 2023 season with high hopes and confidence is the group of seniors that are returning. Seven of the nine starters are seniors, all of whom were starters last year, too.

“They’re mature and experienced,” said Coach Bennett. “We had a great season last year, led by this same group. I don’t know how to describe my feelings for this year very well, but last year if we started the season at a one, this year we’re starting at a nine or 10.”

The next two weeks will be very busy for Coach Bennett and his boys. They travelled to Winslow Tuesday, then it’s on to Kingman this Thursday through Saturday for a tournament. Following that, the Sand Devils return for a week and a half of home games.