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Athletes of the Week: Great Falls Chargers look for bounce back - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Athletes of the Week: Great Falls Chargers look for bounce back year in 2016

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Progress. That’s a word that comes up a lot at Great Falls Chargers baseball practice. And if you ask second year manager Levi Johnson, there’s been a lot of it.

“We can definitely see that some of our system is starting to be a little easier for the guys,” Johnson said.  “We definitely have some news guys this year that are trying to buy into it a little bit, but the older guys coming back are helping them along.”

One of those returners is senior pitcher Justyn Martinko, who will earn the start for Great Falls in season opener at Missoula.

“We’re a different team than we were a year ago,” said the senior at Great Falls High. “I feel like we’re better, we’re a deeper team than we were. We have more chemistry than we had last year. These past couple weeks of scrimmaging each other has got us a little antsy. So we’re excited to go out and play Missoula and finally have games that mean something.”

The Chargers feature several returners with experience. Guys like Martinko, Wyatt Bleskin, Dawson Reiman and Daniel Bonilla. But the Chargers boast a lot of young talent as well that will see their first taste of Class AA action this weekend. So the lineup is a work in progress.

“We’re going to move guys around and see who fits where,” said Johnson. “That’s what these first few months of the season are for is to see who gives us the best chance to win.”

“We’re still young for sure,” said sophomore shortstop Cade Stuff. “But I feel like we can do what most teams in the state can do.”

After finishing with only 15 wins and missing the state tournament in 2015, winning is something the Chargers plan to do a lot more of this summer. Great Falls hasn’t claimed a legion title since 1977. But with the right amount of talent and the right amount of confidence, this team believes anything is possible in 2016.

“Don’t count us out,” Martinko said. “I feel like we’ll be a lot better than the 15-40 we were last year. Come see us at Don Olson or Centene.”

The Chargers open the season with a double header against Missoula, Saturday at 1pm. Then Sunday, the Chargers will host Gallatin Valley in a double header at Centene, first pitch also at 1pm.   

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