Maxwell High School’s baseball team is still a week away from the season opener, and the Panthers have been working hard to prepare their field and hone hitting, pitching, and defensive skills for the 2017 campaign.
On a preliminary roster of 13 players, Maxwell has six players returning from last season. Wyatt Charter and Donnie Manson are the returning seniors, and figure to anchor the left side of the infield at third base and shortstop, respectively.
Angel Velazquez and Lance Gwinnup, the junior returners, will see time at both the corner infield positions (1B/3B). Timmy Kromis, a sophomore southpaw who also played last year, will likely man center field for the Panthers.
Fellow sophomore Cody Pearson will be a valuable asset for his versatility, as he figures to split time at catcher with junior Cody Moore and play middle infield as well.
With the new pitching rules, the Panthers are anticipating almost everyone toeing the rubber at least once this season. With four preseason tournaments and around 20 games scheduled, Maxwell will need several players to step up and pitch.
“Everyone is in the same boat,” Panthers head coach Forrest Bateman said. “The teams with a lot of guys who can come in and throw strikes will be successful.”
Vincent Reynoso, a junior who recently transferred from Colusa, may help Maxwell on the mound and in the outfield.
Reynoso, Moore, senior Skyler DeWit, juniors Jake Sutton, Travis Fleming, and Cody Polit, and sophomore Gerardo Ambriz haven’t played formally in at least one year.
Bateman hopes the new personnel will help the Panthers follow up last year’s 16-6 season (6-2 MVL). Maxwell finished second, behind Esparto, in league play, earning the No. 3 seed in Division VI playoffs. They defeated Greenville in the first round but lost to American Christian Academy of Redding in the semifinals.
The Panthers open the 2017 season with the Glenn Cox Tournament in Los Molinos on March 8 and 10.