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Conifer baseball takes 4th at Colorado 7 tourney

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Junior second baseman Jackson Hale’s offensive production has helped keep the Lobos afloat all season

By Alissa Noe

While this season has not always been kind to the 9-10 Conifer baseball team, the Lobos were able to earn a fourth-place finish at the Colorado 7 tournament in Fort Morgan last week despite the rainy weather.

After dropping a 12-2 decision to Fort Morgan on the first day, they bounced back to defeat Fort Lupton 12-8 and decimate Weld Central 13-0.

Throughout the season, the Lobos enjoyed a strong pitching staff that kept them in many games and an even stronger offense from the likes of Avery Fulford and Jackson Hale, a 4-6 pair that is not only lethal at the plate, but in the diamond as the two turn a lot of double plays.

By a large margin, Fulford and Hale lead the Lobos with ballooned averages, batting .477 and .446, respectively. That batting role, junior second baseman Hale said, is something that’s taken some time to grow into.

“When I’m at the plate, I like to stay calm, think that I can do my job at the plate and do whatever I need to at any time at the plate,” Hale said. “It keeps me confident when I’m up there, when it’s a better pitcher. I used to struggle with confidence at the plate.”

That success of mind and matter, he said, started when he paid more attention to what the pitcher was throwing at him.

“It’s pretty hard to see right out the hand sometimes, especially with different arm angles,” he said. “I usually like to look at the spin of the ball — sliders have circular spins and curveballs have oval spins, so you can tell where the ball is going to break once it does. Then you attack the ball before it beats you. Reading whether it’s going to be a ball or a strike can be difficult sometimes.”

On the other end of the playing spectrum, Hale struggled at the beginning of the year to adopt a new position at third. But, after moving to second instead, he saw his defensive output improve significantly.

Now, he says he’s made his transition at the four position much more smoothly.

“The ball’s always hit toward third,” Hale said. “They call it the ‘hot corner’ for a reason, so they hit super hard. It’s a little nerve-wracking sometimes when a big guy comes to the plate.”

Going into next year, Hale looks to be a great leader for his Lobo squad, whether it be at the plate or in the diamond.