The Gate City Grays’ latest hunt for a championship began last Saturday.
On Friday, the team’s hometown fans get their first look at this year’s Northern Utah League hopefuls.
Gate City (2-0) hosts Hyrum in its home opener Friday at Halliwell Park. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.
This summer’s squad features plenty of familiar faces and names. Among them are longtime Grays veterans Kris Gokey, Chris Needham, KC Qualls, Preston Wells and Nick Winters.
But many first-time players also litter the roster. Several newcomers have area ties, whether they played at a local high school or for the club baseball team at Idaho State University.
First-year grays player Chans Arce plays for the ISU club team. He came to Pocatello for ISU’s educational opportunities and jumped at the opportunity to play a summer’s worth of America’s pastime.
“I’m really excited for what the season has to bring,” Arce said during the Grays’ contract signing event Tuesday at Portneuf Medical Center. “Any chance to play baseball, I’m there.”
Arce is one of seven ISU club players on this year’s Grays roster, joining Ben Ditton, Brandon Long, Austin Losser, Spencer Persky, Thomas Riley and Riley Secord.
“I’ll get a lot of experience and a chance to get better at the game because you’re surrounded by talent everywhere, every day,” Arce said. “There’s always a chance to get better and just play the game of baseball. Can’t be mad at that.”
Through two games — both wins against Logan — Losser, Brendan Hamill and Anthony Pannullo lead the offense with three hits apiece. Losser and Qualls are tied for the team lead with three RBIs.
On the mound, Needham and Colby Hay have combined to give up zero earned runs in nine innings pitched. The pair, combined with Rhys Pope (one earned run), gives Gate City’s staff an early 0.58 ERA, with 12 strikeouts and two bases on balls.
GRAYS TO DEDICATE SEASON TO FALLEN TEAMMATE
The Grays are dedicating the 2019 season to late former teammate Matt Terry, who died May 30 at the age of 25.
Terry played for the Grays during the 2016 season. He pitched a complete game to win that year’s Northern Utah League championship, holding Providence to one hit in a 5-0 victory.
Terry is a 2012 graduate of Century High School. A celebration of life will be held in his memory June 30 at the Portneuf Wellness Complex.
“We were shocked. He’ll be missed,” Grays co-owner Terry Fredrickson said. “He definitely is a part of our team and always will be.
“One of my fondest memories of Matt is watching him absolutely shut down a team for a championship. That’s a memory I’ll always keep with me the rest of my life.”