During the past two years, Class 1A baseball has been Wayne's world.
The 2008 season is shaping up to be no different.
Wayne, winners of the last two 1A baseball championships, is currently on a 37-game winning streak dating back to late in the 2006 season. The Badgers have won those 37 games with many of the same players who earned starting jobs as freshmen and are now seniors.
Seven starters are back this year for the Badgers, who have won their first 10 games of the season by an average margin of 14.2 runs.
"Wayne is at the top of class there's no doubt about that," said West Ridge coach Dave Brock. "They're loaded."
It's rare that a team returns a state MVP and four first-team all-state players, but that's what Wayne brought back this season in Lance Peterson (the reigning MVP), Carson Bray, Jordan Ellett, Tyce Peterson and Trevor Taylor. Marcus Manzanares and Colin Anderson are also returning starters.
"They're all better than they were last year," said Wayne coach Scott Ellett. "This team is probably as good as any team I've had."
The play of the returning all-state players and Manzanares has been as solid as expected. Ellett said he's been pleasantly surprised at how well Anderson has fared at the plate. His bat has helped turn an already potent lineup into one that's almost unbeatable in 1A. Wayne has won nine of its 10 games by at least 10 runs.
Ellett said his players haven't gotten complacent during their successful run on the diamond. The Badgers' 37-game winning streak is the third-longest in state history. That's impressive, but it hasn't given Wayne any unnecessary arrogance.
"I don't know if I could have a team with any better work ethic," Ellett said. "Even with all the winning, they've never taken it easy or become overconfident or arrogant. That's just not in their nature."
It won't be easy, but there are a handful of teams hoping to challenge Wayne when the 1A champion is determined on Oct. 11. Brock said his team is as strong as any he's had at West Ridge, and it just got better because two key players recently earned their eligibility for the season. The Fighting Eagles lost to Wayne in the 1A title game last year.
Clay Sherwood and Brad Davis are among the players leading West Ridge.
"We're deeper than we were last year," Brock said. "It's been a hard choice to see who starts."
Panguitch is the only team to lose to Wayne by less than double digits this season. The Bobcats have a quality program and expect to challenge Wayne in October. St. Joseph returns some depth from last season and may be a final four team. Tabiona is scrappy but lost a lot of key players from last year's team.Green River and Wasatch Academy aren't the deepest teams in the state, but they return some good players. The Pirates are led by Brennan Bigelow, Tyson Johnson and Elias Polito. Zach Galbraith, who hit .526 and drove in 16 runs last season, leads the Tigers.
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