Pioneer League teams are getting ready for opening day on Monday - as the Great Falls Voyagers held their first practice on Sunday.
The Voyagers are especially unique in that many of them signed Thursday or Friday, flew to Great Falls on Saturday, practiced Sunday, and play Monday. However, the quick turnaround doesn't worry this team.
First-year manager Tim Esmay said he was impressed with how well the team is already bonding together and playing as one. The players are also looking forward to the talent that the roster puts up, and the success it could mean for them during the season.
"There's some big boys on this team, we can put on a show in batting practice," said outfielder Luis Gonzalez. "I expect to see a lot of home runs. I expect to see a lot of runs put up. I think we've got some fire arms out of the bullpen."
"I think we have a really good pitching staff, not to take anything away from our hitters. We have some college hitters, some guys that are pretty advanced, I believe, in their hitting approaches," said pitcher Adam Panayotovich. "I think we have a really good staff this year. I think we'll be alright. Obviously try to get out, get the first one under our belt tomorrow, and then move on from there."
Hosting the Voyagers at Kindrick Legion Field will be the Helena Brewers.
The Brewers are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since being the 2013 Pioneer League runner-up. The feeling around the clubhouse is - "this might be the team to do it".
Second-year manager Nestor Corredor says the lineup has power and the main challenge for his young Brewers squads will likely be plate discipline. Corredor expects to field improved pitching to complement a solid offense.
"My goal is to try to get my guys ready to compete on Monday. Regardless of win or loss we're going to go out and give one hundred and twenty percent and try to beat them," said Corredor.
"Get to get on the field. Play under the lights for the first time ... So we're trying to get in here and start off the season strong and win some games here," said first-year infielder Chad McClanahan.