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March Madness is here to entertain most of us.
But spring break has also arrived as students, faculty from schools and universities in the United States take time off from studious routines to relax and have fun.
Colorado high school baseball teams have been or will be flocking to the warmer climates of Arizona, California and Florida to bond, practice, play a few games, visit some colleges and, yes, have a little fun.
I remember my longest high school road trip was all the way to Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, but times have changed.
Some of the benefits of spring trips include usually guaranteed playable weather and exposing Rocky Mountain players to the perspective of baseball from other states, and this can offset the increasing expense of heading south for a few days.
Some schools conduct fundraising endeavors to help offset some of the cost of the spring break trips but parents often chip in most of the money.
Fees vary depending on the itinerary of trips, but a typical cost would be around $850 per player.
Chaparral’s baseball team is in Phoenix. The Wolverines took in an Arizona State and Rockies spring training game before playing five games that started with a March 19 game against Edmond, Okla.
“Things have changed and with CHSAA giving us four more games next year, it makes us able to add more games on these trips,” said Chap coach Alan DiGiosio. “This could be something where we add one or two more games. We played a game against a team from Oklahoma on March 19 and it was their 15th game and it was on our third.
“The competition is great and it’s fun. And it’s good to just be around and see how the guys on the next level conduct themselves and how they train. We feel like we get better, although we often get pressured when you have five games in four days and then come home and sit for a week (next game March 30). Next year with four more games we might be able to keep that game schedule more consistent.”
Legacy rotates between going to Arizona and Florida, and this spring between March 26-31 the Lightning will compete and train at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla.
Coach Ty Giordano tries to schedule some fun into the spring break baseball trip.
“We work all year around,” he said. “We work out in the fall and the winter, so when spring break comes around you utilize that as a chance to get away. You take a little break and it is kind of cool for the kids. Even though from our perspective it is treated as a baseball trip.
“We are always going to practice, work out and play games but we do try to have some fun, go to the beach once or twice, so we try to create a little bit of a vacation out of it but the main focus is baseball. It gives us a chance to clear the cobwebs, refocus and come back ready for league play.”
Arapahoe will be in the Phoenix area for three games starting March 28.
“For sure the weather is a benefit but more than that is the bonding side of traveling down there,” said Arapahoe coach Jim Dollaghan. “We fly together, we stay together, we eat together and we play together. I invite and want parents to go but I don’t want them to take their kids away from the team.
“We’ll go see a comedian one night, go to a Rockies game one night. It’s just a time to get the kids away from school and can just focus on being a kid and playing baseball. We have whiffle ball game that we give out trophies. We just want to kind of have that mesh.”
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-566-4083.
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