New coach and commitment for Hunter baseball
May 10, 2017 11:38AM
By Greg James
Brakken Knorr loads up to hit the next pitch. T, the junior is part of the new regime for Hunter baseball. (Greg James/City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
Its field sits in plain view to all who pass by the school yet Hunter’s baseball team operates in relative obscurity. However, change is on the horizon.
“It has been a rough start to our season. It is confusing to me. I really feel like this year’s team has the best chemistry it has ever had,” first year Hunter head coach Quinn Downard said.
Downard takes over after Aaron Perkins left after last season. They compiled a 3-15 region record last season and finished in last place in Region 2. He is the third head coach in four years at the school.
“It is hard for these kids to have so much change, but I plan on staying as long as they will have me,” Downard said.
Pitching depth is improving for the Wolverines. Downard said the mix of veterans and several freshmen will help the team improve in years to come.
He has also enlisted the help of Dalton Parks and Austin Bean as assistant coaches. They both are graduates who played college baseball.
“They have experience at the next level and a good connection with these younger kids,” Downard said.
The 2017 season has not started well for the Wolverines. They only have two preseason wins, Tooele 12-2 and Union 5-1. Scoring runs have been at a minimum. They are averaging just over three runs per game and allowing over 12. The team batting average is .231.
“Our season has been a little rough, but I think if we can fix some of our mistakes we will be fine. I think our outfield is better than it has been. They track the ball really well,” senior first baseman Hayden Brock said.
Brock has pitched in three games to start the season. He had not allowed an earned run. He leads the team with nine hits and four doubles.
Baseball has always lived in the shadows of the football team at Hunter. Brock said more kids play football, but that is not what is important.
“We have 14 freshmen on our roster. I think things are getting better. They are starting to get the recognition in the hallway at school. Kids are noticing our baseball players more often. We really try to teach about life experiences and what is really important. What they need to do to be successful,” Downard said.
Junior pitcher Quade Dunyon leads the Wolverines with 16 strikeouts. He is 1-2 in his four games and has pitched 16 innings.
Senior Tya Hansen is also hitting .316.
“I love the game. I like coming to the field for practice or games. It is like a sanctuary where I can go and forget about everything else,” Brock said.
The Utah High School Activities Association 5A state baseball tournament is scheduled to begin May 16. The Wolverines last state tournament appearance was 2015. They lost to Bingham and Northridge.