Panthers celebrate seniors: Young baseball team has benefited greatly from leadership
Middle Park baseball celebrated its trio of seniors after the team took league foe Bennett into extra innings on June 2.
Last year Middle Park had 10 seniors on the team, but the Panthers didn’t get to play any games because COVID canceled their season. This year, the team has only three, and coach Patrick Gallegos is grateful for all of them.
Gallegos said he expects great things from the baseball team in the coming years and each one of the team’s three seniors is leading the way for the continued success of the program.
At catcher, Alex Holinka has been a backstop for the Panthers in more ways than one this season. Playing in the outfield, Guy Granger has been solid both on defense and at the plate for Middle Park.
“Both of them, they’re just tremendous athletes, tremendous kids, great role models and good kids to have in and around your dugout,” Gallegos said. “We’re young, and (the three seniors) have really helped show those younger kids how to be a strong competitive baseball team.”
Both Holinka and Granger came back to baseball after a hiatus took them away from the sport in high school. Naturally, Gallegos couldn’t be happier they decided to return to the game.
However, perhaps no one embodies the heart and soul of Panthers baseball team better than Ethan Callarman, who has been with the squad for as long as Gallegos has been the coach. During his time with MPHS baseball, Callarman has certainly made a lasting impression.
“He’s a tremendous grinder. He wants to play. He wants the ball,” Gallegos said. “He’s a tremendous role model for all the kids playing on this team.”
Gallegos said he expects Middle Park to compete among the best in the state in the coming years, and Callarman, as much as anyone, has been instrumental laying the foundation for the Panthers’ continued success.
“Ethan has been one of my favorite kids to coach for as long as I can remember,” Gallegos said, adding that Callarman might not be the fastest or strongest player on the diamond but he’s worked and hustled his way into an invaluable role as a leader on the field for the Panthers.
“Ethan was the kid that was younger who played up, and now he’s the older kid playing down with the next group of kids,” Gallegos said. “(The baseball team) kind of comes in waves, and he’s that kid who’s been in between both groups. He’s bought into what the older kids were doing and has really helped bring it to the younger players. Like I said, I love coaching the kid.”
Currently, Middle Park sits at 7-1 in Class 3A Frontier League and 8-6 overall after forcing extra innings in games against Bennett games vs. Class 4A Battle Mountain.
Bennett dealt the Panthers’ their first loss in the Class 3A Frontier League this season and Battle Mountain also won in extra innings.
However, Middle Park got back on track by beating The Academy in a league contest over the weekend. Because The Academy beat Bennett earlier this year sits, the top of the league standings features three teams each with one loss.
Middle Park is scheduled to face Steamboat Springs in a nonconference matchup at 4 p.m. Friday.
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