Meet the Geckos; they play good baseball
As the summer heat begins to rise, so too do the Glenwood Geckos’ in the Mountain West Summer Collegiate Baseball League.
Currently, the Geckos sit on top of the league standings, and quite frankly, they’re well on their way to winning the MWSCBL for the second straight season despite having a vastly different team from a year ago.
Oregon Tech University head coach Nick Gauna, who is the Gecko head coach, has done a great job of putting together this year’s team, combining some serious power at the plate with good pitching and above-average defense at all nine positions.
Behind solid starting pitching thanks to redshirt freshman Trask Telesmanich of Oregon Tech, sophomore Taylor Gulick of Blue Mountain Community College, sophomore Cooper Webster of Lane Community College and redshirt freshman Chase Nieslanik, the Geckos are mostly shutting down opposing offenses while their own lineup simply explodes game after game.
Telesmanich has become sort of the ace of the staff for Glenwood, while Gulick has won three straight starts. Webster pitched a gem Tuesday against Vail, while Nieslanik provides the Geckos with a lefty option in the rotation who can get consistent outs.
Outside of the starting staff, sophomore John Shultz of Oregon Tech, redshirt freshman Josh Davis of Oregon Tech University, redshirt freshman Jake McAvoy of College of Siskiyous and sophomore Jackson Hokum of Fullerton College provide the Geckos will a solid quartet of relievers who can come in at any time and slam the door shut.
With the pitching Glenwood is getting this year, it’s no surprise to see the run the team is on as pitching wins championships in most baseball senses. But what has really stood out this year for the Geckos has been the power and production they’re getting out of the lineup top to bottom.
Led by sophomore first baseman Blake Billinger of Mission (California) College, junior designated hitter Anthony Rosario of Rochester (Minnesota) Community College, and sophomore outfielder Caden Goldby of Yavapai College, the Geckos have some big boppers in the middle of the lineup who are a threat to go deep in every plate appearance.
Redshirt senior catcher Brian Magana of Azusa Pacific University has also gotten good wood on the baseball all summer while providing solid defense behind the plate with a young pitching staff. Former Roaring Fork standout and future Colorado Mesa Maverick outfielder Tanner Nieslanik has provided a steady presence at the plate and in the field, quietly putting up a rather impressive summer of baseball in Carbondale.
Due to the combination of a high-scoring offense and some timely pitching, the Geckos are running roughshod on the five other teams in the MWSCBL, as evidenced by their league-leading record of 15-4 (.789). As college athletes, the quality of baseball put on display every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday is highly entertaining. You’ll see plenty of home runs and a decent share of slick defensive plays.
Sophomore shortstop Stewart Maes of the University of Sioux Falls and sophomore centerfielder Garrett Myers of Lower Columbia College are two of the better defenders in the league, consistently coming through on routine plays while also making the spectacular ones look like another ordinary play.
The play on the field is well worth the time spent watching in the stands, especially in the heat. But outside of those who are billeting the players in their homes this summer, not many spectators show up to these games.
I understand there are very few local ties with the players on the roster, but for baseball fans in this valley, showing up for either game of the doubleheaders is worth with the time.
They might not be on the level of professional athletes, but they’re constantly working on their craft, taking this summer seriously while hoping to improve heading into the fall season at their respective schools.
With great fundamental baseball and some serious offensive fireworks, it’s well worth the free admission.
Joshua Carney is the Post Independent sports editor.
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