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Paul Buboltz still optimistic for summer baseball

LAS VEGAS — After winning a Nevada state baseball championship in 2019 and watching his Desert Oasis High School team get off to a 7-1 start this spring, Paul Buboltz had nothing but high hopes for the Diamondbacks for this year.

But those hopes came crashing down fast after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down baseball all over the country. Buboltz, who graduated from New Ulm Cathedral in 1999, is still hoping a summer season can be held.

“I think we’re going in phases and I think we’re going to start Phase 1 soon,” Buboltz said about possibly getting life back to normal and resuming sports. “I think a lot of our summer is going to be what they do with football, because football hasn’t been working out and at some point, they’re going to have to start letting these guys work out. If they open it back up for football, I think we’ll be at least cleared to at least get our kids out there. Our plan is start on June 1, that’s the tentative plan, if it has to be after that, we’ll take it, even if it has to be July 1, we’ll lead that right into our fall year.”

The Diamondbacks won their first tournament of the season with some of the top teams in the Vegas area in it. They were scheduled to play in a tournament in Orange County, California and another national tournament in Arizona. Both of those tournaments got canceled.

“When all of this stuff started coming down, it was quite the disappointment for our guys, to not take those trips,” Buboltz said. “A lot of the schools from the west coast come to those games to watch our guys. It was a disappointment, I think in the last 15 years this is the longest we’ve gone without playing baseball.”

Buboltz has had several players get drafted and are now playing in the minor leagues or in college baseball somewhere. The summer program has been one of the more successful programs in the country. He’s coached there for eight seasons now and he has a career record of 176-81 during that stretch. His 2019 team set a school record for wins with 34 and they won league titles in 2015, 2018 and 2019.

This year’s team had some talented seniors, but Buboltz said the junior class was another one that was going to be special.

“We had three [senior] guys that signed with the College of Southern Nevada this year and a guy going to Washington to a junior college,” Buboltz said. “But I think the biggest thing is that our junior class, we were senior-heavy last year, and our junior class this year, we have five or six guys that are potential Division I players that all missed out on that junior season, which is a big year for recruiting stuff.

“I think that it’s going to affect them more than anything, because a lot of them would’ve gotten offers and been committed by this point if we would’ve been playing,” Buboltz said. “We’ve been in contact with some colleges, one of our guys had quite a jump in velocity, a pitcher. The colleges are still recruiting, it’s just tough for them to see any progression on our guys that they’re looking at. That’s why we’re trying to get back at it as soon as we can, to get those guys to have a place to play after high school.”

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