Chaparral aims to unite baseball players

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Summer baseball is the time for potential high school players to show their stuff.

Chaparral has been trying to keep all potential varsity players on the same summer team, which has become a tough, demanding assignment in recent years.

“What we've tried this year and we've done in the past is to try to keep as many of our spring varsity guys together as we possibly can,” said one of the Wolverines' summer coaches, Ryan Serena. “It's tough. I played here and both of our other coaches did too. We stayed around.

“In the last couple years, guys have started to go different directions, and we've tried to reel them in. We have a good core of our guys for next spring. One of the main purposes is to play together as a team. The more games you play together, the more comfortable you feel. You get out there in the spring and you feel you belong.”

This summer's Chaparral team has a few players who will be seniors next season, a majority of juniors-to-be and a few participants who will be sophomores.

“It's a good mix of guys who have been at the varsity level and guys that have played at the lower levels getting a chance to play up against better competition,” said Serena.

Summer could also an audition time for players.

“Definitely,” said Serena.

Spencer Olwell is one player who can attribute a good summer season for a position on the Chaparral varsity.

“Our guy (Olwell) that is hitting in the 3-hole played last summer and he was a sophomore last spring,” explained Serena. “He played last summer and just raked, he was hitting the ball, hitting the ball. We got to see that all summer long.

“Come spring we need a designated hitter and he was the guy. He hit in the 5-hole for us. We were in the Final Eight in the spring and he was a big part of that. That was huge for him because that was a senior-dominated group in the spring, but because of what he did last summer here in front of us, he definitely earned his spot.”

Olwell hit .321 with 12 runs batted in for the Continental League co-champion Wolverines in the spring.

Chaparral qualified for the championship bracket in the June 7-9 Cherry Creek Classic but lost to a team from Billings, Mont. The Wolverines went 2-3 in the non-qualifying portion of the Creek tournament, but Chaparral went 6-0 to win a recent tourney at Highlands Ranch.

“It's been a good summer so far,” said Serena.

Some of the other key players for the Wolverines this summer besides Olwell have been Keenan Eaton, who played center field for Chaparral in the spring, Davis Clark and Cole Halpin.

Halpin, who pitched some for the Wolverines in the spring, is making a bid to be Chaparral's first baseman next season. Halpin was 3-1 in 20 innings pitched, with a 2.80 earned run average, and made six appearances in the spring. He didn't collect a hit in two plate appearances.

“He was one of our pitchers in the spring but didn't play a ton in the field,” said Serena. “He'll have the opportunity to take first base as his spot. He's going to be a good player for us.”

Eaton was a .305 hitter in spring baseball for Chaparral.