Championship is a state of mind

By Ryan Lewis -

Greatness and Navajo baseball are synonymous and they have been for a while now.

Head Coach Weston Winters has built this team into one that can compete yearly and considering last spring’s 22-5 record, one has to imagine how high the expectations are at the school.

The team is loaded with standout talent but when asked, there are a few names that really stick out in the minds of the fans.

Max Smith is going into his senior year and is one of those players who people can see his best years are still ahead of him.

Smith is the primary catcher for the Indians’ baseball team, but he plays right down the line at third base and he does so with an intensity and skill level that few have and most want. He has started since his freshman year, the grade in which average players are still developing their game and can only dream of reaching that level. To top it all off, he is a solid hitter right in the meat of the lineup.

Junior center fielder and shortstop Stan Netherton is the team’s lead-off hitter and runs the bases like he owns them. He too has been a starter on this stacked team since his freshman year and now a year wiser and better, his goal — like every other member on the team — is championship or bust.

Meanwhile, David Gilstad is the team’s ace, a one-of-a-kind pitcher with the ability to cover the outfield when called on to do so. He delivers speed and command so consistently, he has earned every minute he gets to play.

“This year we have a lot of state tournament experience on this team,” said Winters. “In the spring, we had a really tough schedule just like every good team should have and by the time we reach the playoffs, we will be battle tested and ready to make a deep run in the playoffs.”

The team has had a lot of success and it is something the players have gotten quite used to.

Just last season they won the Donnie Elliot Classic at Granite and the Shortgrass Conference Championship at Sayre and probably would have won the Blair tournament too if not for it getting rained out.

Now they are ready to see what they have learned and how they can apply it to their current team to get the where they need to be by the time the season ends. They want a state championship. That is what they are hungry for and luckily for them, they have all the necessary pieces to make it happen.

By Ryan Lewis

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.

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