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High expectations: New coach aims to inspire team through competition

New Boulder City High School baseball coach Denny Crine has high expectations for his program and, with an abundance of starters from last season returning, they might just come to fruition.

“The goal every year is to win a state championship,” Crine said. “We’re not looking at anything else. We’re not looking at certain teams. Our goal is to start Friday and work our way to a state championship. It doesn’t matter what we do the first half of the season, as long as we’re getting better every game, we’re reaching our goal.”

Senior Kanon Welbourne returns after being named last season’s Mountain League pitcher of the year, backed by a strong pitching rotation that includes seniors Isaac Gibson, Jeremy Spencer and Dylan Spencer. Junior Derek Render is also expected to make an impact on the mound.

“We have four guys who on any day can go out and win us a ball game,” Crine said. “That’s going to be big for us later in the year as long as everyone stays healthy.”

All named first-team league selections last season, Welbourne compiled a 4-0 record with 39 strikeouts. Jeremy Spencer finished 4-0 with 17 strikeouts. Gibson finished with a 2-2 record with 40 strikeouts.

Capable of making an impact on the mound, Render finished 2-0 last season with 17 strikeouts in limited work, while Dylan Spencer finished 2-1 with 21 strikeouts.

Equally dangerous at the plate, Gibson was named a first-team position player, along with Dylan Spencer and Render.

Gibson batted .433 last season with 31 runs batted in. Dylan Spencer batted .438 with 28 RBIs. Render batted .387 with 16 RBIs.

Senior Brayden Cook was named a second team selection after batting .361 with 16 RBIs, along with Welbourne (.250 batting average, nine RBIs) and Jeremy Spencer (.380 batting average, 15 RBIs).

“We’re going to be able to put nine guys out there each game that we can score runs with,” Crine said.

Preaching competition as the only way to get better, Crine said playing time will be earned this season, in hopes of getting the very best out of his ball club.

“I’m aware of what everyone did last year, but this season at every position we’re starting fresh,” he said. “Everyone has to earn what they get. Our batting order and pitching order will be determined on how we perform and how we get better as the season goes on.”

Having their hands full right out the gate, Crine will get a first-hand look at how polished his team is when it faces stiff competition over the weekend in the Southern Nevada Desert Classic.

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

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