This year is shaping up to be an interesting one for the Lincoln County High School baseball team, according to head coach Michael Collins.
“It’s a young team,” he said during practice March 10, “but we’ll be doing good once our seniors get back.”
The seniors in question were away visiting the nation’s capital and their absence was felt by the whole team. With their first major tournament on the horizon, the Lynx are gearing up to face some of their greatest rivals.
The team might be a little green, but the coach is not. Michael Collins has been involved in sports for a large part of his educational career, coaching everything from football to basketball and track. But, while his résumé speaks for itself, this will be the first time he’s coached a baseball team. Therefore, he decided to pull out the big guns.
“I’ve drafted the best that the county has to offer,” he stated when referring to his coaching staff. Ken Thornock, another Lincoln County educator and the father of one of the team members, is one such assistant. McKinley O’Connor, a Lynx alumnus who helped lead the team to victory during his time as a player, will also assist Collins. The Lynx also seem to have the law on their side, since Justin Cheeney and Kyle Seevers (a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy and Highway Patrolman, respectively) will be helping out the team as well.
On the players’ side, there are a few seniors that the coaches are leaning on to help pave the way for the team’s success: Mason Thornock is one of them, along with Dean Otley and Dylan Robinson, all of whom are not just veterans of the previous baseball season, but of many other sports as well. However, seniors aren’t the only upperclassmen expected to perform during the upcoming season. Collins is excited that juniors like Talon Phillips and Kobe Kelley are rising to the occasion. While the team may be younger than some of the other programs out there, Collins recognizes that, “We need our core leaders.”
While Collins and company are excited to see what the team can do this year, there are a few teams that may be a cause for concern. Mountain View always has a good program, according to Collins, and they happen to be the Lynx’s first opponents of the regular season. But, before they face off against the Saints, the Lynx will wet their feet at the Spring Slam Tournament in Las Vegas. While the team could have begun the season with an earlier tournament, Collins decided against it since such tournaments would have interfered with the trip to D.C. and he didn’t want to jump into the season without the seniors and juniors.
The Lynx’s first opponents will be the Virgin Valley Bulldogs, followed by the GV Christian Guardians and the Wells Leopards. Their final opponent, however, is the one that has Collins most interested.
Collins has been aware of the friendly rivalry against the Pahranagat Valley Panthers ever since he moved into the area, and he’s excited to see what his team can do in that kind of environment. “It was just amazing,” he said, referring to some of the other games he’s attended where the two rivals have met, “just the amount of energy and how everyone was willing to come down to support their teams … it’s really great.”
With a mixture of excitement and hope, the Lynx face off in their first tournament March 12 at 1:10 p.m.