The J. L. Crowe Secondary School knocked one out of the park, as the high school returned to the diamond with Junior Varsity and Varsity baseball this spring.
The plan to bring baseball back to Crowe attracted interest from over 40 would-be baseball players who attended the first meeting earlier this year, and Crowe has since formed a foundation of 23 players from Grades 8-12 to play on the Hawks Junior and Varsity squads. The younger players from Grade 8 and 9 will form the Junior Varsity team, while Grades 10-12 make up the Varsity team.
“I’m hoping most of the younger kids will go to the Varsity games to see what goes on,” said coach Darren Miracle. “I’d like to see them learn from the older players. See how far they throw, how far they can hit a ball, just the whole thing.”
Last year, a half dozen Crowe students played for L.V. Rogers baseball team in Nelson and enjoyed the experience, so with the valued input and cooperation of J. L. Crowe teachers, baseball returned to Crowe.
“Thanks to Terry Jones, Joel Tremblay, and Kirk Blank, thanks to those guys, they’re helping out and it’s huge; this wouldn’t happen without those guys,” said Miracle. “I think it’s a great thing it started and hopefully it works into maybe an academy.”
Jones was a major player in sponsoring the team, while Miracle, Blank, and Tremblay have been working out and coaching the kids since January.
Crowe, historically, has fielded formidable baseball teams with the likes of former college and pro players Jason Bay, Chris Kissock, Matt Mason, Kareem Johnson, and Todd Thompson playing on the last Crowe teams in the late 1990s. Miracle expects this year’s version to be a competitive team, but the most important aspect is the opportunity for local students to play ball.
“The biggest thing is keeping kids more interested in ball. We have trouble getting 16 and over to keep playing, well this is perfect to keep them playing. Give them a high-school league, give them somewhere to play, then they have the XBL in Trail (in summer). So it’s really good.”
Scheduling has been a hurdle with many of the Washington State teams, restricted by the number of games they play each year, but Miracle has succeeded in hammering out a schedule for the Hawks.
“It’s just against teams that have an opening,” said Miracle. “What happens down there is that they’re only allowed 20 games. You’re allowed one international and one exhibition.”
Teams begin scheduling in November, but by the time the Feb. 29 deadline arrives, the schedules change and a few resulted in the cancellation of Crowe matches. The Trail coaches have been able to reschedule some games or find another team, and as game time approaches, Miracle is more than happy with the response and attitude of his players.
“The kids, everybody, is getting up at 6:15 every morning for when we practice. They are a dedicated group so I think this is a good thing. I got a lot of good kids.”
The Hawks have games scheduled against Chewelah, Deer Park, Colville, Northwest Christian, and Grand Forks over the next two months, in addition to playing in three tournaments at home in Trail Apr. 15-17, Cranbrook Apr. 29 to May 1, and Grand Forks May 6-8.
The Varsity team opens its season against Chewelah today, while the Junior Hawks take on the Northwest Christian School from Colbert, WA.