From the hot corner to shortstop to the pitching mound, there isn't much dirt left on the infield that Aaron Coats hasn't grazed his glove on.
He'll try yet another position this year.
Coats, a senior on the Durango High School varsity baseball team, will bat cleanup and start at catcher today in the Demons' regular-season opener against Piedra Vista at Ricketts Field in Farmington. The nonconference game will start at 5:30 p.m.
"He's such a versatile player," said DHS coach Rob Coddington, who flirted with the move last season. "He plays the infield for us, pitcher, catcher. He's done a real good job of taking the lead and being everything a catcher should be.
"Justin (Whirlow) is not far behind."
Coats and Whirlow will handle the catching duties.
Coats, Chris Breed, John Ugai and left handers Jordan Gillen, Matt Elliott and Austin Rochford will handle the pitching duties.
"Aaron has proven he can beat people in this league," Coddington said of last season's ace. "Chris has looked really good this offseason, and John pitched well all summer long.
"There's been plenty of improvement. We've always had pretty good pitching, just not that much depth."
Gillen will start today's opener, while Ugai and Coats will be used in relief if necessary.
Kenneth Gallegos will start at third, and Phil Crom - a "mainstay," Coddington said - will start at second. Shortstop will be a combination of Ugai and Grant Wells, while first base likely will be a platoon between Christian Silva, Josh Stein and Rochford.
Ben Southworth will be the Demons' utility infielder.
"He can play anywhere on the infield, even catcher," Coddington said of Southworth. "We've got a lot of guys that we can put just about anywhere on the infield. That's a good problem to have."
Last year's second baseman, Tyler McKnight, will make the switch to center field this season. He will be flanked by a combination of corner outfielders in Breed, Elliott, Gillen, Chase Locke and Tim Keresey.
"The first week we'll try and mix as many guys into the lineup as we can," Coddington said. "We'll see how they do, just go from there."
McKnight, an All-Southwestern League first-team pick last season, had 37 hits, a .506 batting average, 32 runs scored, 20 runs batted in, seven doubles, one triple and just two errors, all while playing his final five games at a new position with a dislocated shoulder.
Like Coats: new season, new position.
"Talk about a guy that worked his butt off in the offseason," Coddington said of last year's No. 2 hitter. "He added 25, 30 pounds of muscle. He's 6-1, 205."
McKnight, for now, will hit leadoff, although his bat might dictate a move down in the order into more of a run-producing hole.
"Tyler, Aaron, they're definitely our leaders," Coddington said. "We've got a lot of kids that can swing the bat, though.
"Ugai hits a ton. Kenny Gallegos is healthy, and he's hitting a ton right now.
"Our guys have made a conscious effort of hitting the ball where it's pitched, instead of trying to yank everything," Coddington said.
McKnight, Ugai and Gallegos are penciled in 1-2-3 on the coach's lineup card. Coats, who hit .357 with 27 RBIs last season, will bat cleanup.
"One through nine, this is as strong as I think we've ever been," Coddington said.
Durango, two days after today's opener, will leave for the Roswell Tournament on Thursday through Saturday in Roswell, N.M.
Durango will play Piedra Vista on March 17 in its home opener and will open SWL play March 27 in the Grand Valley.
"We're ahead of where we've been the last couple of years," Coddington said. "We've got a lot of depth at pitching, and we've looked good in the couple of scrimmages that we've played so far against Bayfield and ourselves.
"We've got a lot of baseball players. Baseball is their thing. They play a lot. We can't keep 'em out of the batting cage, off the fields. I had to kick 'em off the field just the other day so the freshmen and junior varsity could practice.
"This is a real special group of kids," Coddington said.