Starting fresh from last year’s successful season, the RedHawks have taken to the field to work out a new dynamic. The team lost many seniors to graduation last June, and this year they are working with what Coach Eric Lay called a re-energized “team” feeling for the entire roster.
Another new addition to the RedHawks is assistant coach, Zach Troughton, who Lay said brings a calm balance to the table.
Troughton previously played for Lay at Maxwell High School, before going on to play for Butte College and Boise State.
Lay said that he feels the team’s biggest strengths will be pitching.
Junior Drew Bradbury will be on the pitcher’s mound.
Bradbury said he is looking forward to playing the Winters Warriors, who put an end to the RedHawks during last year’ playoffs.
Also on the mound are Cole Simmons, Emanuel Frias, and returning sophomore Ethan Lay, who said that the team may have new players this year, but many of the boys have been playing together since the age of nine. He added that another strength for the team is conditioning, which many of the players get by playing in other sports.
“Even though there’s not as much running in baseball, it’s still energy and endurance,” said Ethan Lay. “It just keeps you in the game.”
The young athletes will each bring something to the team.
“We’re going to be playing a more aggressive style on offense that will utilize our team speed,” said coach Eric Lay. “We’re going to turn our kids loose at the plate a bit more than in years past, which should help our power numbers at the plate.”
The team will also feature returning players Justin Lee, Xavier Lopez, Hunter Nobles. Newcomers Keith Chavez, Anthony Berry, Edgar Garcia, Emanuel Frias, and Blake Kalfsbeek.
All are expected to add to the new team formula for the upcoming season.
“We lost a lot of seniors,” said Lopez. “It’s our job as the seniors now to take their spots and be leaders on the team.”
“I think the underclassmen coming in are very energetic; more so than maybe previous years,” said Nobles. “I think we are better off as a whole like that.”
Coach Lay has simple goals for his new team as they practice for the four upcoming tournament games, league matchups, and a game at Raley Field against Cloverdale on April 11.
“We want to improve as the year goes on, but our larger goals are to be the best team in our county, in our league, and in our division,” the coach said. ■