By Ray Hamill — It remains to be seen just how much of the remainder of their season they get to play, but the Eureka Loggers are preparing to play in the Big 5 until someone tells them otherwise.
Road trips over the next two weekends have been put on ice for now, but head coach Jeff Giacomini and his players are still hoping they get to compete in a Big 5 this spring.
“We’ve canceled our Sacramento trip and our Bay Area trip, but as far as the H-DN and everything, things are still moving forward until the powers that be tell us different,” Giacomini said. “And I trust they’ll make the right decision.”
Giacomini returned to take over as head coach earlier this year after a one-season hiatus.
“It’s unfortunate, but I really hope that we’re able to play,” he said. “I feel bad for our three seniors if we can’t. Because I’m sure that’s not how they wanted to end their careers.”
If the Loggers do get to play again this spring, they have plenty of youth to build around, with Josiah Graham, Nate Fowler and Curtis Edge the only three seniors on the team, .
“It’s a young team, but it’s a group that’s got some serious talent,” the head coach said. “They’re eager, they’re eager to learn, and they show up every day with one goal in mind, and that’s to get better.”
No one more so than junior Keenan Morris, who broke into the varsity team as a freshman under Giacomini two years ago and is expected to play a pivotal role once again this spring.
“I can’t tell you just how impressed I am with this young man,” Giacomini said. “Every day he shows up and he absolutely has one of the best work ethics I’ve ever seen. He plays like an older guy. He plays like a senior, and he always has.”
Ih addition to his work ethic, Morris has some serious talent.
“He’s probably the best all-around player I’ve ever coached at the high school level,” Giacomini said of the middle infielder. “He wants to be the best and he definitely has the ability and the potential to be. I’m really excited to be coaching him.”
Once again the Loggers have plenty of pitchers on the roster this year, with playing time on the mound still up for grabs early in the season.
Junior Hayden Bode, who enjoyed a big summer pitching for the Humboldt Eagles, will see plenty of time on the hill, but there remains a lot of spots up for grabs after that.
Big things are also expected out of junior Parker Rodgers and sophomore Jackson Giacone.
Rodgers is another player who benefitted from a summer playing American Legion baseball.
“He’s come on really strong and he’s worked really hard in the offseason,” Giacomini said of the starting catcher. “You can definitely tell he’s put in some serious work.”
Giacone, a strong all-around athlete who was an all-league selection in basketball this past season, injured his shoulder in an early game for the 1-3 Loggers, but is expected back in the lineup soon.
“He’s going to drive in a lot of runs as soon as he gets healthy,” Giacomini said of the sophomore third baseman.
This year’s team also features a sophomore exchange student from Mexico, Abel Lopez, who is expected to have an impact on the team and will also see some time on the mound.
“It’s going to be a good year. I’m just hoping we get to play,” the head coach said. “I’m curious to see how this group comes together.”