BASEBALL PREVIEW - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

BASEBALL PREVIEW

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Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 11:13 am | Updated: 3:58 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The baseball regular season began this week. Glendale-Peoria Today asked local coaches questions about their 2011 teams. Here are their answers:

CACTUS COBRAS

COACH: Dave Meredith (1st year as head coach).

DIVISION/REGION: 4A-II Black Canyon.

2010 RECORD: 16-10, 7-3 region. (Lost in 1st round of 4A-II state tournament)

TOP RETURNEES: Richard Monrial, Sr., 1B (11 RBI).

CENTENNIAL COYOTES

COACH: Jason Nuttall (7th year as head coach).

DIVISION/REGION: 5A-II Desert West.

2010 RECORD: 12-19, 7-5 region. (1-2 in 5A-II playoff games)

TOP RETURNEES: Reyes Murillo, Jr., P (3.07 ERA in 57 IP), Spencer Bayless, Soph., 2B (.263, 7 RBI), Zach Hoffpauir, Jr., CF (Missed 2010 with injury. .404, 30 RBI in 2009).

1. How many years have you coached baseball? This is my seventh season as the varsity coach.  Overall, I have coached baseball here for 11 years.

2. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? I think our team’s best attribute is they are hungry to get back to winning consistently. The team members all get along well and have gelled together nicely so far.

3. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need consistent offense and situational execution. We will have opportunities to score. It will come down to whether or not we are able to execute.

4. Who are your team leaders? Our team elected not to have captains this year; however, Zach Hoffpauir, Josh Taylor, Reyes Murillo, and Brian Turczyn will all be expected to establish leadership positions as the season progresses.

5. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Cameron Nelson and Brandon Revels will split time behind the plate. Brian Turczyn will play some middle infield. Freshmen Bryce Johnson and Chase Thompson could play significant roles on our team as well.

6. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? Well, we have a pretty tough schedule considering that our non-conference opponents are Horizon, Deer Valley, Ironwood Ridge, Pinnacle, Mesa Mountain View and Desert Ridge. I would say we need to win three of those six games and look to finish in the top two in our region. That will give us a chance to be in the top eight seeds come state tournament time.

DEER VALLEY SKYHAWKS

COACH: Larry Eubanks (10th year at Deer Valley)

DIVISION/REGION: 5A-II Northwest.

2010 RECORD: 15-16, 11-3 region. (1-2 in 5A-II playoff games)

TOP RETURNEES: Darian Ramage, Sr., SS/P (.410, 15 RBI, 4.02 ERA, 57 K in 55.2 IP) Andrew Nicholas, Sr., IB (.329, 4 HR, 15 RBI)

1. How many years have you coached baseball? I have been coaching on various levels of baseball the last 25 years, the last 10 as the varsity coach.

2. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Probably our greatest attribute is our work ethic. The kids show up everyday with a great attitude ready to put in the work to get better every day.

3. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Time, we are for the most part very young with only four returning starters.

4. Who are your team leaders? Seniors Darian Ramage, Andrew Nicholas and Zach Richter.

5. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Luke Doyle, sophomore infielder, and Andy Watkins, sophomore infielder.

6. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? We need to become consistent and more competitive on a daily basis.

DYSART DEMONS

COACH: John Helmsley (7th year? as head coach).

DIVISION/REGION: 4A-I West Valley.

2010 RECORD: 15-14, 6-6 region.

TOP RETURNEES: Austin Vitali, Jr., UTIL, P (.359, 26 SB) Jason Flynn, Sr, C (.333, 4 HR, 14 RBI) .

IRONWOOD EAGLES

COACH: Sean Hegarty (1st year at Ironwood)

DIVISION/REGION: 5A-II Desert West.

2010 RECORD: 11-17, 5-7 region.

TOP RETURNEES: Zach Rodgers, Sr., SS (.418, 5 HR, 23 RBI), Tanner Metro, Sr., 2B (.328, 14 RBI)

1. How many years have you coached baseball? First year as varsity coach.

2. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our team’s best attribute this season is our ability to work together as a cohesive unit and our starting pitching.

3. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We will need to improve our defense and hitting. We are a young team with a lot of potential.

4. Who are your team leaders? Our team leaders are seniors Zach Rogers and Tanner Metro and junior Eric Little.

5. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Newcomers include sophomores Dylan C’Debaca and Joey Desilva. Both will play a significant role on the team this year.

6. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? Hard work in practice, consistent pitching, hitting and fielding during games and eliminating mental mistakes.

LIBERTY LIONS

COACH: Mark Ernster (5th year at Liberty).

DIVISION/REGION: 4A-II Skyline.

2010 RECORD: 25-6, 6-2 region. (Won 4A-II state title).

TOP RETURNEES: Nathan Bannister, Jr., P/3B (.449, 3 HR, 38 RBI, 7-2, 2.72 ERA, 63 K in 57.3 IP), Paul Panaccione, Jr., SS, (.430, 20 RBI, 15 SB) Thomas Gillies, Sr., 1B/P (.338, 3 HR, 24 RBI)

1. How many years have you coached baseball? 10 years, five at Liberty.

2. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? They are hardworking, young and talented.

3. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? The sophomores will need to mature quickly

4. Who are your team leaders? Nathan Bannister, Thomas Gillies

5. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Kyle Anulao (CF), Cody Roose (C)

6. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? We need to play as a team that buys into the same system of success, willing to learn and improve every day.

MOUNTAIN RIDGE MOUNTAIN LIONS

COACH: Tommy Eubanks (5th year at Mountain Ridge)

DIVISION/REGION: 5A-I Northwest.

2010 RECORD: 20-12, 11-3 region. (Went 2-2 in 5A-I playoffs).

TOP RETURNEES: Dan Will, Sr., 1B/P (.375, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 1,63 E.R.A. in 30 IP), Joe Brinkman, Sr.,  2B/SS (.368, 3 HR, 21 RBI)

PEORIA PANTHERS

COACH: Brian Batty (1st year as head coach).

DIVISION/REGION: 4A-I West Valley.

2010 RECORD: 6-22, 3-9 region.

TOP RETURNEES: Austin Tennant, Sr., IF/P (.321, 18 RBI, 4.10 ERA, 35 K in 41 IP) Dallas Volkman, Sr., OF/P (.319, 18 RBI)

1. How many years have you coached baseball? I have coached baseball on and off for 12 years and have coached football here at Peoria since 1992.

2. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have a very experienced team with a lot of seniors and we are looking for their leadership to come through and help us get back to the playoffs.

3. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to improve on our basic fundamentals and not give the opponent extra outs every inning. We are looking to improve our defense and pitching because offense can come and go but defense can always be played well. As a group we also need to raise our expectations and effort to make the state playoffs, and so far this year I have been very pleased with our work at practice and the attitude of the kids.

4. Who are your team leaders? Some of our leaders are Trent Aldrete (OF), Shane Beyl (C) and Austin Tennant (IF).

5. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Branden Mendez (IF-P), Ira Rojas (Sophomore IF-P), Jake Sandrick (Jr. OF) and Brandon Crawford (Jr. IF-P).

6. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? To make the state playoffs we must play better defense and take advantage of every day to get better. We must be willing to compete every game and every inning and I think I have the young men who will do this.

SHADOW RIDGE STALLIONS

COACH: Kevin Carleton (1st year as Shadow Ridge varsity coach).

DIVISION/REGION: 4A-II Skyline.

First year as a varisty porgram.

1. How many years have you coached baseball? This will be my 11th year of coaching baseball.

2. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We will rely heavily on our pitching staff.

3. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Our team will need to improve on our defense and be able to adjust to the speed of the varsity level.

4. Who are your team leaders? No team leader has  stepped to the forefront. Our guys hold each other accountable.

5. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Matt and Nick Haro, Bryen Laffoon, Isaac Gonzalez, and Emillio Ramirez.

6. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? For us to have an outside shot at making the play-offs we need to have our pitching staff do what they are able to do, and our defense needs to be solid. If that happens then we have a shot.

SUNRISE MOUNTAIN MUSTANGS

COACH: Eric Gardner (13th year at Sunrise Mountain)

DIVISION/REGION: 4A-I West Valley.

2010 RECORD: 20-10, 10-2 region. Lost in second round of 4A-I playoffs.

TOP PLAYERS: Tyler Crawford, Sr., P/1B (2.21 ERA, 72 K in 57 IP, .417, 20 RBI) Aaron Bummer P/1B (1.67 ERA 54 K in 42 IP, Austin Byler, Sr., 3B/DH (.417, 7 HR, 31 RBI)

1. How many years have you coached baseball? 13th season.

2. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have eight returning seniors and nine returning starters. Led by three senior pitchers — Tyler Crawford (University of Arizona), Aaron Bummer (University of Nebraska) and Steven Kane (Paradise Valley Community College.)

3. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Most important is to play good defense throughout the season. We have a great pitching staff and good hitters throughout our lineup, we just need to play consistent defense.

4. Who are your team leaders? Austin Byler, 3B senior, Tyler Crawford 1B/LHP senior, Aaron Bummer 1B/LHP senior, Shane Johnson OF senior, Tony Troftgruben OF senior, Steven Kane OF/RHP senior, Jessie Poweziak 2B senior, Drew Wolff SS senior.

5. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Seth Martinez and Brick Paskiewicz are both sophomores on varsity that will both have an impact on the mound and in the field.

6. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? With a pitching staff that most consider one of the best in the state I would have to say that if we play good defense throughout the season we control our own destiny.

VALLEY VISTA MONSOON

COACH: Klent Corley (5th year as Valley Vista coach).

DIVISION/REGION: 5A-II Northwest.

2010 RECORD: 18-13, 7-7 region. (1-2 in 5A-II playoff games)

TOP RETURNEES: Caleb Wood, Jr., SS, (.500, 29 RBI), Nelson Benjamin, Jr. OF (.371, 16 SB)

1. How many years have you coached baseball? 5 years.

2. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We return key defensive players from a good defensive team last year.

3. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Our pitching will need to step up for us to improve from last season.

4. Who are your team leaders? No team leader has  stepped to the forefront. Caleb Wood and Nelson Benjamin were both first team all region players as sophomores last year. Gary Springer was a second team all region player last year and is a senior this year.

5. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Jensen Puahi is a new player from Hawaii who will have a big role this year.

6. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? We need to get better everyday when we step on the field and have everyone buy into our team approach to the game.

WILLOW CANYON WILDCATS

COACH: Brandon Martin (8th year as Willow Canyon coach).

DIVISION/REGION: 5A-II Northwest.

2010 RECORD: 7-20-1, 5-9 region.

TOP RETURNEES: Tyler Tingley, Sr., INF (.379, 9 SB), Austin Schiber, Soph., INF (.311, 10 RBI)

1. How many years have you coached baseball? 15

2. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? These young men are coachable and are willing to work hard for the good of the team.

3. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Pitchers will have to hit spots and fielders will have to make the routine plays

4. Who are your team leaders? Senior Tyler Tingley and senior Tayler Meditz

5. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Joe Meyers and Gaetano Florio

6. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? Continue to get better everyday through hard work and dedication.

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