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Cottonwood baseball looks to defend state title with a young lineup

Apr 11, 2018 11:50AM ● Published by Brian Shaw

The Cottonwood Colts baseball team did something they haven’t done in many years last season, winning a 5A state title in improbable fashion. 

But, many pieces of that Colts squad that won the crown by making Lone Peak succumb to the 10-run rule in the state championship game last May are gone now, off to play college ball. 

That leaves behind a young lineup according to head coach Jason Crawford, who helped pilot Cottonwood to its first title since 2008.  

“We will have a young team this year. We will look to establish our identity early and give players chances to earn jobs,” said Crawford in an interview with Deseret News earlier this month. “I like our pitching. On paper it is a very solid staff. It’s time for our players to go out and earn their roles and see what they can do.” 

The Colts will put junior Porter Hodge on the mound, along with Ross Dunn, who is only a sophomore.  

Hodge went 2-1 for Cottonwood last year, while Dunn was 0-1 in his only start. Hodge also possesses some power in the field; he hit a home run last year. 

In the field for Cottonwood, the Colts will rely on the steady hands and solid arm of senior catcher/infielder Caleb Manuel, who exiled from Cuba several years ago and has an interesting personal and baseball background. 

Manuel was one of Cottonwood’s leading hitters last season, playing in all 30 games for the Colts while hitting four doubles. 

Another one to keep your eye on is junior shortstop Hunter Cornia, who like Manuel managed to play in all 30 games for the Colts last season and hit several doubles—three, in total—for Cottonwood. 

Infielders Jason Luke and Daniel Gonzalez—both juniors—also comprise a part of the lineup that helped Cottonwood claim the state title and they’re expected to fill the void that the other departed players left. 

For Cottonwood though, having a young lineup won’t be the only change. The region in which the Colts play has been entirely reclassified and now Cottonwood will be playing against the likes of Corner Canyon, Alta, Brighton and Timpview. 

Also, the Colts will now potentially compete against Timpanogos, last year’s 4A champion who has now moved up to 5A. The two powers will tangle on March 30. 

In a statement sent to the Deseret News, Crawford said, “We are excited for the opportunity to compete in a new region and a new classification. We will strive to put out a competitive team daily and represent Cottonwood High School and our community with pride.”   

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