Hayden players make waves at MCHS in Craig | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden players make waves at MCHS in Craig

Bryan Richards throws a pitch for Moffat County earlier in the year. Richards, along with Jordan Williams and Halen Raymond, travel from Hayden to play baseball for Moffat County.
John Henry

— When it comes to baseball at Moffat County High School, a storied program that’s enjoyed a run of recent success, there’s a pipeline of players coming in from an unexpected source.

It’s a pipeline that runs along U.S. Highway 40 from Hayden, where the Class 2A school doesn’t have a baseball program.

Hayden’s loss, however, is Moffat County’s gain.

Hayden senior Bryan Richards, junior Jordan Williams and freshman Halen Raymond have helped the Bulldogs to a 12-6 overall record and 11-3 record in the Western Slope League as well as a berth into the district playoffs.

“It’s an absolute positive having them on our squad,” Moffat County pitching coach Junior Herndon said. “In addition to being great players, they are three great kids. Even though they go to Hayden, they are Moffat County Bulldogs in our eyes. Every kid deserves an opportunity to play, and we are glad they have chosen to play for us.”

The three Hayden players aren’t just filler on the team. They are part of the middle of a lineup that has hit 38 home runs.

Richards, Williams and Raymond have combined to hit 23 of those, with Richards hitting a team-leading 11 and Williams right behind at nine.

While the three live in Routt County, they said playing in Steamboat has never been a thought. The three played Triple Crown baseball in Craig, with Richards and Williams playing together from the beginning.

“The first team I played on was in Craig,” Richards said. “Jordan was nine and I was 10. It pretty much started when we started playing baseball. I thought about going and playing in Steamboat for a little bit, but Craig has a better program. It’s more stable. I didn’t know what Steamboat was going to be.”

Playing for the Bulldogs also gave Richards and Williams a better opportunity to continue playing after high school. With Moffat County having a history of putting players through to college baseball and some to professional baseball, Richards and Williams said the choice was easy.

Williams, along with Raymond, plan to stay around and play legion baseball this summer with a team for Craig while Richards’ future is unknown now.

What is known is Richards will make some team happy next year.

As one of the top players in Class 4A, Richards played summer and fall baseball on an Anaheim Angels scout team and in a league funded by Major League Baseball. His team played at tournaments in Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. It also played a slew of junior college teams.

Richards said he’s got offers from junior colleges and colleges from around the nation. He’s also recently talked to Major League scouts.

“I talked to a scout from the (Cleveland) Indians a couple of weeks ago,” Richards said. “He asked me some stuff, told me they were interested in me and asked how much (of a signing bonus) I’d want. But really, I haven’t thought about that too much.”

With whatever happens, Richards is assured his second straight year in the district playoffs and a possible league title depending on how Palisade finishes the season.

It’s no wonder coaches from Moffat County thank the baseball gods every day that the Hayden threesome makes the trip west.

“Their impact is huge,” second-year Bulldogs manager Rich Sadvar said. “Ultimately, they have a choice to play for either Steamboat Springs or Moffat, and luckily for us, they have chosen to play for us. They are a tremendous benefit for the program.”

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