By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
It’s a new season, and new expectations await the Moapa Valley High School Baseball team.
The arrival of new Head Coach Ed McCann has changed the atmosphere of the program. McCann’s energetic personality has rubbed off on his players and his aspirations have as well.
“There’s good talent here!” McCann said. “These kids will get to the playoffs; I really believe that.”
Last year, the Pirates went an even 7-7 and just barely missed out on a spot in the playoffs. This year, they hope not only to reach the postseason, but go even further than that.
We have to set the bar high,” McCann explained. “If we just say, ‘Let’s just get to the playoffs’ or ‘Let’s just beat Boulder City (the defending champions)’, then your season is over after that. I would be really surprised if we didn’t make it to divisionals.”
For the first year Pirate coach, what has made the difference this year is a change of culture. One of the things he emphasized was having a desire to win.
“My philosophy is that; when they need to win like they need food, water, and oxygen; they will find a way,” McCann said, “We are learning to expect to win, not to hope to win.”
One of the things that sets the Pirates apart from other teams is their talented core of seniors leading the team. McCann highlighted the importance of players such as Jade Marshall, Tyler Peterson, Dayton Wolfley and Drake Staheli.
Anthony Cornwall is another senior who will be a key piece of the Pirates’ puzzle this year. McCann called him ‘one of the best hitters in the state’.
Cornwall will be dealing with a hand injury early in the year but should be a hundred percent by the league schedule, McCann said.
“These seniors want to win!” McCann said. “It’s amazing what happens when you get everybody pulling on the same piece of rope at the same time and in the same direction.”
He went on to add that he was thrilled about the upperclassmen and their ability to teach and mentor the younger players in the program and teach his philosophy to them.
Strategically, the Pirates are looking to play fast this year. The tempo of the game will be a major focus for the team. McCann illustrated this by saying, “I think they all understand how important the speed of the game is. They better have energy, because there’s nobody out there with more energy than me. Enthusiasm and hustle covers up a lot of mistakes.”
Last Friday, the Pirates took on Lincoln County in a scrimmage. McCann said that he was proud of his team’s effort. In this scrimmage, McCann saw that his team needed to work on their base running, but their effort was overall very impressive, he said.
McCann emphasized that there isn’t any one star that will be leading the Pirates, but rather a combination of athletes. “You don’t want the nine best, you want the best nine,” he said. “That’s what we got in this group.”