Middle School Mavericks To Play Hardball

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The Mavericks are playing baseball this season for the first time since the program was disbanded about six years ago.

The sport returned to Rim Country Middle School after a group of concerned parents and citizens, led by Gary Chitwood and Gary Fishel, approached the school asking it again be an athletic offering in the district.

Chitwood said he and others wanted to field a team to fill the gap between Little League and high school baseball.

The board eventually approved the program — but only if sponsors, coaches and players generated the funds needed.

“We were told we had to be self-supporting,” said Chitwood. About $4,000 in pledges will be used for uniforms, equipment and traveling expenses.

Next on the agenda was putting together a schedule, which proved to be a huge task. Because the middle schools in the 3A East region, in which Payson High is aligned, do not play baseball, organizers had to search elsewhere.

“At first we didn’t get any (responses) back, but later they came flowing in and we could have 30 games if we wanted them,” Chitwood said. Organizers were eventually able to schedule games in Prescott, Verde Valley, Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Miami and Globe.

Most of the players have enjoyed varying degrees of individual and team success in the Little League program.

Evidence of the players’ prowess surfaced March 29 in the Maverick’s season-opening 16-4 win over Miami.

Next up for the Mavs, is a doubleheader on April 7 at Bradshaw Mountain. Games begin at 2 p.m. RCMS makes its home debut at 4 p.m., Monday, April 19 at Rumsey Park against Camp Verde.

Practices are 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. each weekday at Rumsey Park Kiwanis West field.

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