BROWNING — The inaugural high school baseball season has arrived in Montana, and the Browning Indians are getting ready for their opening day matchup.
The team will be under the helm of head coach Douglas Blackman, who comes from a long history of baseball. Coming from a baseball state, Blackman was unaware there was no baseball team or coaches is he jumped on the opportunity when it arose.
“I’m pretty excited about it being that I come from a state that is high on baseball. It’s going to be nice to get out and teach these kids some baseball, another sport for them to play,” he said.
While most schools have kids that have outside baseball experience, Browning is almost the complete opposite. The team is filled with athletes who have little to no experience but are excited about learning the game and having the opportunity to play, even if it is only for their senior year.
“I’ve always had interest in it,” said senior Diego Jaminez. “I always grew up watching it but we never had baseball here. I'm excited to learn and get better.”
Even with the lack of experience in the sport, Jaminez and his teammates have high expectations for the school’s new baseball team. They want to see Browning’s growth going forward over the years.
“I want to win, just have fun, and hopefully make the playoffs. It’s a lot better for the future kids coming up so I am happy for them. I wish we had it here when we were freshman,” Jaminez said.
While anything is possible in the world of sports, this team is looking to take baby steps as they progress into becoming the successful squad they envision they will be. Blackman has a goal of teaching them the sport rather than the traditional practices of gearing up for games, and believes things will fall in line as they learn more.
“Teach the basic fundamentals,” said Blackman. “Be a teacher first and compete second. That’s my goal with the kids, to teach them how to play the game. Teach them the ins and outs of baseball and basically those wins might come.”
Not only is the team lacking some experience, but they also are at a disadvantage due to lack of facilities. This Browning team does not have its own baseball field to practice on, and in fact began training inside the basketball gym and has continued its practices on the football field.
The team has been placing bases out on the field to create their own diamond, but have made no excuses during their training.
“We can go out and make a field and we will get it done,” said Blackman. “But lack of facilities is a big problem for us. Our kids aren’t getting the opportunity to clean and learn how to take care of their fields and mounds.”
Browning will have to travel to Cut Bank just to play their home games. Cut Bank is a field they have yet to play or even practice on, therefore making home games almost feel like road games. They will open up their season on Saturday as they travel to East Helena.