Opening Day Features Huge Crowd; Hopes Still Bullish for Summer of 2023
To say that the Rocky Mountain Vibes’ staff was confident about the 2023 Pioneer League Baseball season would definitely be an understatement.
During a press conference before the first pitch of the season had been tossed, the team’s coach and executive staff went as far as saying that the Vibes had the best heavy-hitting offense in the league.
After nearly two weeks of play, the Vibes have definitely not shown pure dominance on the diamond like the team’s staff had promised and their fans hoped for. But they also have shown that they will not fall to the bottom of the barrel (like they did during the first half of the 2022 season) this year either.
During the offseason, the team went through a significant revamping of their roster in hopes to be more competitive. The team acquired a veteran head coach and featured a number of new players.
The team started their season on May 23 on the road against the Northern Colorado Owlz. The Vibes fell by a single point in their first two games, but then they came back to win two in a row including their home opener on May 27.
To start the season at their UC Health Park in eastern Colorado Springs, the Vibes had a large and excited crowd of more than 6,000 people in the stands. Then after the Vibes’ huge 9-4 win over the Owlz, fans celebrated with a fireworks presentation.
However, the team then suffered from another slump. After losing their second home match against Northern Colorado on May 28 5-3, the team traveled north to Montana to lose 17-5 and 17-4 to the Missoula Paddleheads.
But then last Thursday and Friday, the Vibes brought their heads above water and came up with back-to-back wins. On Thursday, the Vibes beat the Paddleheads 10-9 and then on Friday they defeated the Glacier Range Riders 10-7 during another away game.
At the end of last week, the Vibes had a 4-5 record putting them in fourth place in the Pioneer League South Division. However, the season is still young and the Vibes are only two and a half games shy of the division’s top spot.
Star Hitters, but Pitchers Go Bust
Despite the fact the team has had a rather rocky start, two of their players currently sit in the top 10 in the Pioneer League when it comes to hitting. Infielder Casey Petersen is currently ranked eighth in the league with a batting average of .438, eight runs, eight RBIs, and one homerun.
Vibes’ infielder Dusty Stroup sits in tenth place with a .433 batting average, 11 runs, 13 RBIs, and three homeruns. Outfielder Milton Smith has also looked impressive this year with his .359 batting average, nine runs and six stolen bases.
So far this season, the coach was right when he said that their pitching would be where work would be needed. After playing nine games, none of the Vibes’ pitchers have stood out, and lacking strength on the mound has proven to be the Vibes’ greatest setback.
The Vibes return home this Tuesday to play three games in a row against Northern Colorado who started the season 6-3. Then on Friday, they stay on their home field to challenge the 7-3 Boise Hawks for three matches over the weekend.
This Saturday, the Vibes will have a special event for their theme night. The theme is “Jurassic Jungle” and fans will have the option to camp overnight after the game to enjoy s’mores and a movie on the giant screen.