Riverton baseball traverses season with three seniorsMay 03, 2021 01:00PM ● By Josh Martinez
Freshman Zach Edwards fires off a pitch during a 13-7 loss to Lone Peak on April 9. Riverton head coach Jay Applegate has placed many underclassmen in varsity roles since there are only three seniors. (Josh Martinez/City Journals)
By Josh Martinez | [email protected]
There’s a unique dynamic on the Riverton High School baseball team’s roster this season.
Of the 32 players on the roster, three of them are seniors. That means while the majority of those playing for the Silverwolves are underclassmen with little to no varsity experience, especially since there was an abbreviated season last year.
This has put all players in unique roles with their own set of challenges, but Riverton baseball coach Jay Applegate said his team has shown a lot of character through it all.
“It’s tough when you’re not on the field, but so far, everybody’s accepted their role and tried to be prepared that when their number is called to go out on the field, they’re ready to go,” he said. “As a coaching staff, that’s something that you really appreciate.”
Team statistics show the majority of the underclassmen getting experience are juniors, but there are some sophomores and freshmen in the mix. The team’s three seniors—Tryston Musgrove, Weston Curtis and Mark Henderson—all take on leadership roles.
Both Musgrove and Curtis are captains who have significant playing time, while Henderson makes his appearances mostly as a pitcher. Applegate said all three have added a lot to his team both on and off the field.
“They know their roles, and they understand what they need to do,” he said. “So far, they have done a great job leading the team.”
Musgrove and Curtis have multiple opportunities to show their leadership as captains. During an April 9 game against Lone Peak High School, freshman pitcher Zach Edwards found himself in a hole.
In the top of the second inning, Riverton was in the midst of giving up what would eventually be six runs. Edwards was on the mound and helped the Silverwolves get out of the inning.
The dugout shouted its support throughout the inning, and there were visits to the mound to help Edwards get through the inning. The seniors have found themselves helping the younger players in similar circumstances throughout the season.
“A lot of it is encouraging them, because a lot of time, especially in baseball, things don’t go your way,” Curtis said. “[We’re] just helping them realize nobody’s perfect in this game and helping them know that whatever happens, happens; you keep your head up and keep working hard.”
Applegate said many of the juniors, who he knew had varsity talent, were “thrown into the deep end” in terms of experience. Getting them varsity experience has been the main goal for the Riverton coaching staff.
“I can tell you where we’re at right now versus the start of the season, we’ve taken some giant steps,” he said. “We’re definitely not where we want to be, but I think that’s just a process. It’s a journey, not a race.”
Obtaining that experience has come in many ways. Musgrove said there have been times when he and Curtis have had to come out to allow for an underclassmen to gain experience.
“We don’t care if they take our positions,” he said. “We have each other’s backs when they do.”
This type of mentality is possible because of the brotherhood that exists among the student-athletes. Musgrove said that fraternity comes from spending time together away from baseball and working together in it.
Curtis said because there are few seniors, they spend a lot of time with the underclassmen “probably more than typical seniors would.”
The bond isn’t only strong between the underclassmen. Curtis said he feels a close relationship with his fellow seniors because they work together instead of competing against each other.
While Riverton has seen both successes and shortcomings on the field, Applegate said he is happy with the progress because of how they’ve learned to make sacrifices for each other.
“That’s one thing we’ve really enjoyed,” he said. “Their chemistry, their brotherhood has been really tight so far.”