Fifth-place finish at 2022 State tourney motivating JHS baseball
The Jamestown High School baseball team began practices this week.
JAMESTOWN — In the spring of 2021, Jack Bowman was outside for his very first practice as the head coach of the Jamestown High School baseball team.
"If you get outside early, it's kind of a bonus," Bowman said. "That's not going to be the case this year. Fans had better bring their snowshoes and cross-country skis."
While it might still look like winter out at Jack Brown Stadium, inside Jamestown High School and Jamestown's Two Rivers Activity Center, it's full-on springtime for the Blue Jays
The Blue Jays began practices on Monday and are set to kick off the season on April 6 with a nonconference game at Fargo Davies. Bowman said whether the tilt against the Eagles will be played is weather-dependent.
"You always kind of expect to start in the gym," Bowman said. "All of the teams are inside, we're all in the same boat so we're going to lace 'em up and do all we can with the facilities that we have. We have good facilities so that helps us out and gets these boys prepared to play once we get out on the field. We just have to put the work in."
The Blue Jays are coming off a fifth-place finish at the 2022 Class A State Tournament. The trip to the Class A tourney was the Jays' first since 2017 and fifth was the highest the Jays had placed since the early 2000s.
"It wasn't necessarily a surprise to me because I knew we were decent but I think we snuck up on some people last year," Bowman said. "We won't (surprise anyone) this year. Everybody knows that we are decent and so we're going to get their best every time. "
The Jays lost 2022 first-team all-conference and all-state selection, Connor Hoyt, vocal leader Gage Orr as well as role-player and all-star teammate Kasen Rowell to graduation.
"We lost some key pieces but with the group that we have, I think we will be able to restock," Bowman said. "I have eight seniors. They've been contributing quite a bit in the last couple of years. We have open gyms so they've been getting themselves ready and after what they've done in the last couple of years, I expect that they are kind of itching to get going in their final year of high school."
For seniors, the Jays will return Max Fronk, Jackson Walters, Mason Lunzman, Brooks Roaldson, Reagan Sortland, Payton Hochhalter, Preston Gall and Carson Orr. All eight have seen varsity time since they were sophomores.
As of March 23, the Jays are still in the midst of team tryouts but Bowman said he expects to see sophomore Thomas Newman and some of last year's junior varsity athletes fighting for some playing time.
Bowman and the Jays may be just four days into its official season, but Bowman said the team's leadership combined with a group of highly athletic and intelligent kids should make for a top-notch year out at Jack Brown.
"Fifth (at State) is something the high school has not done since 2002 but to the boys' credit, I think they were disappointed," Bowman said. "They wanted to be better than fifth. We were picked ninth in the WDA so we finished higher than we were picked but I think we finished a little bit below where we thought we could have finished.
"Our goal this year is to win it," he said. "That won't be easy. There are really good teams both in the West and in the East. On paper, we can compete with anybody. It's just a matter of executing on the field and staying healthy."