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|Spring sports get into full swing|
|Written by Sam Grossman|
|Thursday, 08 March 2012 00:54|
Jamie Milligan will begin his first year as Tombstone High School’s head baseball coach. As the assistant coach last year, Milligan watched the Yellow Jackets finish 11-15, highlighted by a trip to state and winning in the first round before being knocked out in the second round by Thatcher.
Tombstone High is one of the smallest schools in Division III, but Milligan said he likes what he sees.
“We have a pretty good team,” Milligan said, adding his ultimate goal is simply to improve upon last year. “I certainly think we can qualify for state.”
Junior Mike Skiles, first baseman and pitcher for the Yellow Jackets, has been on the varsity team the past three years, and has high expectations for this season.
“There is really no reason we shouldn’t go further than last year,” Skiles said. ““We have really good team chemistry because we all play sports together.”
Numerous players on the baseball team play more than one sport. Skiles and brothers Anthoney and Tyler Prestly play on the basketball team together, and say they take their chemistry from the court to the field.
Anthoney Prestly, third baseman and pitcher, expects the team to go further in state than last year as well.
“We’re here to represent our city,” Skiles said. “Make Tombstone be known. Turn things around.”
Only 22 students tried out for baseball this year so while there is a strong varsity squad, there were barely enough for a junior varsity team.
Milligan said he hopes the baseball program will be able to field a junior varsity team this year without having to send down players from varsity like last year.
“Five varsity players had to be sent down last year so there could be a JV team,” Milligan said. But he is confident that there will be nine or 10 everyday junior varsity players this year, which meets the bare minimum.
Lack of athletic facilities continues to be a thorn in the side of Tombstone High School’s sports teams. Despite the fact the school has moved to a new location, the baseball team continues to play at the old high school’s baseball field.
“Having facilities at the new high school would be ideal,” Milligan said. “Transporting to and from the old high school takes about 30 minutes a day off practice time.”
The old field has several issues, including mediocre dugouts, a short right field fence that other schools have complained about and no locker rooms.
“The kids are forced to change in either the dugout or snack shack,” Milligan said.
Despite the old field, students say they’re excited to get out and start playing.
Tombstone High School’s other spring sports, especially the tennis and track teams, are looking to improve upon last year but also have to compensate for no new facilities.
The tennis team’s home matches are played at King’s Court in Sierra Vista, about 30 miles from the high school. But school officials are optimistic about their season.
David Thursby, the school’s athletics director, said Dan Romero’s tennis team is extremely talented this year, and envisions them not only qualifying for state, but winning a few matches when they get there.
The track team has to travel to Fort Huachuca, which is just past Sierra Vista, and agrees that commuting is an issue.
Joe Thomas, the women’s track coach, has said in the past that not having a home track doesn’t make sense. Despite not having a home track, the women’s track team won state in 2010.
“The boys track team’s strong suit this year will be its sprinters,” said Thursby, who added that the distance runners are young, but work hard so they should have a solid year.
Softball also travels to the old fields and has a younger team than most.
“The softball team is improving,” Thursby said. “Getting better every day."
While each spring team must travel elsewhere for its home games or meets, coaches and athletes have said they will choose to focus on getting better every day, rather than things they can’t change.