2018 Baseball Capsule Previews

(as submitted by coaches)


Head coach: Kurt McGinnis, first season

2017 record: 4-11 (3-11 2A Southern, sixth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Six (six)

Top players: Sam Shain (Sr.), Mordechai Shirit (Jr.), Harrison Clayton (So.)

Outlook: McGinnis takes over a team that hopes to show improvement and contend in the Class 2A Southern League.

“We gained some valuable experience during our first year in the league last year, and we hope to build upon that this year,” McGinnis said.

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Head coach: Gary White, sixth season

2017 record: 13-15 (9-9 Northwest/fourth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Thirteen (seven)

Top players: IF Jesse Pierce (Jr.), C Trey Urban (Sr.), IF Nick Cornman (Jr.), P Austin Pfeifer (Sr.)

Outlook: The Aggies return seven starters from a team that qualified for the Sunset Region playoffs last year.

Pierce (.389 average), Urban (.333) and Cornman (.333) return to help the offense. Pfeifer (3.63 ERA) should be among the leaders on the mound.

“Hopefully, we will be able to pitch, hit, and play defense at a competitive level,” White said.

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Head coach: Scott Baker, seventh season

2017 record: 29-7 (16-4 4A Sunrise/second)

Returning lettermen (starters): Thirteen (nine)

Top players: 3B/P Garrett Giles (Sr.), 2B Christian Rivero (Sr.), LF/C/P Trace Evans (Jr.), 1B/OF/P John Howard Bobo (So.), P Shane Spencer (Jr.), P C.J. Dornak (Sr.), OF/P Nick Thompson (Sr.)

Outlook: Could it be anything but ideal?

The Wolves bring back nine starters after winning their second straight state title, then went on to win the American Legion World Series.

OK, so they have to replace first-team all-state honoree Jack Wold and his .460 batting average, 13 doubles, 10 home runs and 45 RBIs. But it’s not as though the Wolves are short artillery.

Giles (.448, 10 doubles, 30 RBIs; 2-0, 0.47 ERA, 15 innings) was a second-team all state pick. Rivero (.402, 10 doubles, 35 runs, 22 RBIs), Evans (.402, 10 doubles, 30 runs, 33 RBIs; 5-1, 2.62 ERA, 34.2 innings) and Bobo (.385, 16 doubles, 36 runs, 21 RBIs) also return on offense.

Spencer (5-3, 2.55 ERA, 46.2 innings, 42 strikeouts), Dornak (5-1, 1.06 ERA, 33 IP, 32 strikeouts) and Thompson (1-0, 1.94 ERA, 18 innings) join Giles and Evans as prominent arms.

If it can stay healthy, Basic has to be considered one of the favorites in the Sunrise Region.

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Head coach: Leo Verzilli, fifth season

2017 record: 8-9 (4-2 1A Central/second)

Returning lettermen (starters): Five (five)

Top players: P/SS Armondo Gonzalez (Sr.), P/1B Jacob Henry (Jr.), OF Daniel Costello (Sr.)

Outlook: The Hornets return five starters from last year’s squad.

“We’re looking for a successful season,” Verzilli said. “We made the playoffs last year and look for the same this year.”

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Head coach: Travis Delaney

2017 record: 6-16 (2-4 1A Southern/third)

Outlook: The Diamondbacks are young, but hoping to show improvement and build for the future.

“Beaver Dam baseball is looking to be competitive this year,” Delaney said. “We have one returning senior, Adrian Salazar, our team captain.”

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Head coach: Gino DiMaria, fourth season

2017 record: 30-7 (17-1 Southwest/first)

Returning lettermen (starters): Seventeen (six)

Top players: C/DH Austin Wells (Sr.), P/2B Dutch Landis (Jr.), 3B John Gaughan (Jr.)

Outlook: The defending Sunset Region champions lost a handful of ultra-talented players, but appear to be strong again this season.

Wells (.500, 8 home runs, 47 RBIs) was a first-team all-state pick last year. Gaughan (.393, 13 doubles, 5 HR, 36 RBIs) earned second-team all-state honors.

“Our goal is to win the state championship and compete at the highest level,” DiMaria said. “We are deep in pitching, and the offense should be solid.”

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Head coach: Mike O’Rourke, fifth season

2017 record: 16-15 (8-10 Southwest/fourth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Nine (four)

Top players: 2B Nick DeSoto (Sr.), OF Matthew Cox (So.), OF/IF/P Julian DeLeon (Jr.), P Davis Dunkley (Sr.)

Outlook: DeLeon (.316, 14 RBIs; 2-1, 3.79 ERA, 27 strikeouts in 27 innings), Cox (.301, 15 RBIs), DeSoto (.220, 11 RBIs) and Dunkley (2-0, 2 saves, 3.61 ERA, 21 strikeouts in 21 innings) are among nine returning lettermen for the Bengals, who hope to earn another postseason berth.

“We need to replace a lot of at bats and innings lost due to graduation but our kids come out and compete every day,” O’Rourke said. “I love our team.”

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Head coach: Eddie McCann, first season

2017 record: 23-15 (8-2 3A Sunrise/second)

Returning lettermen (starters): Twelve (seven)

Top players: IF D.J. Reese, Rhett Armstrong, Chaseton Wagstaff, Teddy Lobkowicz, Nolan Herr, Anthony Pacifico, Shawn Jones

Outlook: McCann, who coached Moapa Valley’s baseball team last year, takes over a team that has won two straight state titles.

The Eagles return seven starters from last year’s Class 3A championship team.

“We have a chance to return to the playoffs if we continue to take the time to improve in areas that are lacking,” McCann said. “We have good chemistry, good upperclass leadership and overall, a great tradition.”

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Head coach: Robert Wiley, second season

2017 record: 2-19 (1-19 4A Sunrise/11th)

Returning lettermen (starters): Six (five)

Top players: SS/P Trevor Berkemeyer (Sr.), IF/P/C Luis Osorio-Avila (Sr.), P/2B Aiden Moriarty (Jr.), Gavin Rhynes (Jr.)

Outlook: Berkemeyer hit .426 on his way to second-team All-Sunrise League honors last year. Rhynes (.367 average) also provides a spark to the Pioneers’ lineup.

In all, the team returns five starters.

“We are a young team that will be looking to build off of last season,” Wiley said. “I expect our team to learn how to compete throughout the season and continue to develop as student-athletes.”

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Head coach: Charles Cerrone, 19th season

2017 record: 25-11-1 (16-2 Northwest/first)

Returning lettermen (starters): Thirteen (five)

Top players: P/IF Garrett Holden (Sr.), P/IF Zak Simon (Sr.), P/IF Nik Dobar (Sr.), P/IF Kian Wilbur (Sr.), OF/P Austin Krysczcuk (Jr.), C Mike Jones (Sr.), OF/P Brian Wyche (Sr.), P/IF Kris Bow (Jr.), IF Zach Hare (Jr.), OF Trevor Wright (Jr.)

Outlook: The defending Northwest League champions are hoping for another successful season.

“The Bulldogs graduated a large part of our offense, however we have five returning starters and a good group of hard-working players,” Cerrone said. “We may experience some growing pains early, then hopefully we will contend for a playoff spot, and if we stay healthy, perhaps make some noise in the playoffs.

“The players are grinding hard every day, and our goal is to continue to improve as the season progresses.”

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Head coach: Dave Soto, seventh season

2017 record: 21-11-1 (5-5 3A Sunrise/third)

Returning lettermen (starters): Nine (five)

Top players: IF/P James Cobian (Sr.), OF/C Jacob Mauro (Sr.), C/P Robert O’Connor (Sr.), OF/IF/P Antonio Vara (Sr.), IF/P Talon Greene (Sr.)

Outlook: The Cowboys return five starters from last year’s squad.

Cobian (.333, 19 RBIs; 3-1 record), Mauro (.346), O’Connor (.383, 21 RBIs), Vara (22 runs) and Greene (.405, 31 runs) all return to help the offense.

“This will be a very interesting and challenging season as all six teams in our division have a shot at the playoffs,” Soto said. “The Cowboys will have to rely and good fundamental baseball, a scrappy offense and a tight defense. Pitching by committee will be the way to go in order for the team to reach its peak.

“Our goal this year is to play sound baseball, graduate every senior and to represent Chaparral High School with class and dignity on and off the field.”

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Head coach: Aaron Bailey, second season

2017 record: 2-18 (1-9 3A Sunset/fifth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Four (two)

Top players: Joey Barile (So.), Zac Childress (Sr.), Diego Hernandez-Roblas (So.), Christopher Rose (Jr.), John Mahoney (So.)

Outlook: The Desert Shields bring back only two starters from last year’s squad and hope to build throughout the year.

“This is a young team with abilities to only get better as the season goes along,” Bailey said. “We expect to improve upon last year’s record as well as becoming well-rounded players.”

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Head coach: Mike Hubel, 17th season

2017 record: 18-15 (9-9 Northwest/third)

Returning lettermen (starters): Nine (six)

Top players: CF/P Trevor Doyle (Sr.), SS/P Derek Decolati (Sr.), 1B/P Seth Hoffman (Sr.), IF/P Zach Culver (Jr.)

Outlook: The Spartans bring back six starters from a team that finished third in the Northwest League.

“We will look to be competitive with good senior leadership,” Hubel said. “Pitching will be our question mark this season. We have a good mix of young and experienced players. A couple of young players will need to contribute.”

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Head coach: Brian Gregorich, fourth season

2017 record: 5-24 (1-17 Southwest/seventh)

Returning lettermen (starters): Four (two)

Top players: P Bryce Panozzo (Sr.), OF/P Elijah Fuchs (Jr.), C/P Dylan King (Jr.), C/OF Kelsey Brooke (So.), UTL Koby Cornejo (Jr.)

Outlook: The Chargers return just two starters from last year’s squad.

“A lot of fresh faces on the squad this year, but the Chargers have been coming together during the offseason,” Gregorich said. “The players have been working hard and have outstanding team chemistry.

“The roster has many versatile players capable of playing multiple positions effectively.”

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Head coach: Rich Santigate, third season

2017 record: 20-13 (13-7 4A Sunrise/fourth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Twenty (seven)

Top players: CF Jake McLean (Sr.), P Kyle Hall (Sr.), P Boston Mabeus (Sr.), 3B/1B Cristian Herrera (Sr.)

Outlook: The Cougars bring back 20 players from a team that finished fourth in the Class 4A Sunrise League.

McLean (.416, 7 doubles, 3 triples, 4 home runs, 28 RBIs) and Herrera (.400, 5 doubles, 29 RBIs) return to guide the offense.

Hall (6-3, 3.30 ERA) and Mabeus (4-2, 4.06 ERA) will anchor the pitching staff.

“This veteran group will compete in two of the top high school tournaments in the country, the Boras Classic in Tempe, Arizona, and the IMG National Classic in Bradenton, Florida in March before returning home to compete in the always tough Sunrise Division,” Santigate said. “They have their sights on going deep into the regional and state playoffs.”

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Head coach: Jorge Romero, fifth season

2017 record: 11-15-1 (2-8 3A Sunrise/fifth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Three (three)

Outlook: The Dragons return only three lettermen from last year’s squad.

“We are a very young team, looking to gain some varsity experience early on,” Romero said. “With some hard work and execution, we hope to compete for a playoff spot.”

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Head coach: Paul Buboltz, sixth season

2017 record: 25-11 (14-4 Southwest/second)

Returning lettermen (starters): Thirteen (seven)

Top players: IF/C Cole Schaefer (Sr.), 1B/P Chaison Miklich (Sr.), OF Jay Sharman (Sr.), IF/P Aaron Roberts (Jr.), IF/C Parker Schmidt (Jr.), 1B/P D.J. Jefferson (Jr.), IF/P Izzy Gutierrez (Sr.), P Josh Sharman (Jr.)

Outlook: The Diamondbacks return 13 lettermen from a team that finished second in the Southwest League.

Miklich (.389, 5 home runs, 35 RBIs; 4-2 record), Schaefer (.352, 28 RBIs; 3.12 ERA, 8 saves), Jay Sharman (.304, 11 doubles), Roberts (.330, 3 HR, 25 RBIs; 5-2) and Schmidt (.289, 22 RBIs) all should be among the leaders on a team that does not lack talent.

“We have a very experienced team that will ride our juniors and seniors this year,” Buboltz said. “We look to compete in a very competitive Southwest League.”

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Head coach: Ricky Earp, fourth season

2017 record: 9-19-1 (5-5 3A Sunset/third)

Returning lettermen (starters): Eight (eight)

Top players: P/IF/C Juan Castaneda (Sr.), P/IF/C Steven Laureano (Sr.), P/CF/C Cesar Bailon (Sr.), P/IF Salvador Becerra (Sr.)

Outlook: The Jaguars return eight starters from last year’s playoff-qualifying team.

Castaneda (.493, 3 home runs, 36 RBIs), Laureano (.297) and Bailon (.308, 2 HR, 16 RBIs) return to lead the offense. They’ll also see time on the mound, along with Becerra.

“We come into the season with a very experienced team,” Earp said. “We are looking to build on our playoff appearance from last season.

“We have high expectations and will be looking for leadership from our senior class to be successful in the playoffs this season.”

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Head coach: Sam Knapp, 17th season

2017 record: 11-20 (4-14 Southwest/sixth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Twelve (five)

Top players: SS/P Duke Pahukoa (Sr.), C/IF Jason Salazar (Sr.), OF Renae Lara (Jr.), 1B/P Ryan Barry (Jr.), P Spencer Clemens (Sr.), C/DH Justin Lucas (Sr.), P Jacob Bavaro (Jr.), OF Irvin Weems (Fr.), P/IF Daniel Hauben (So.)

Outlook: Pahukoa, who hit .424 with four home runs and 30 RBIs last year, leads a group of 12 returning lettermen for the Trailblazers.

Lucas (.310, 3 HR, 20 RBIs), Salazar (.304), Lara (.299) and Barry (.287) also should be among the leaders on offense. Bavaro (2-2, 3.73 ERA) and Clemens (two wins) are expected to help guide the pitching staff.

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Head coach: Dave Anderson, third season

2017 record: 7-21 (3-15 Northwest/seventh)

Returning lettermen (starters): Fourteen (seven)

Top players: P Josh Brown (Sr.), P/1B Jake Ortega (Jr.), P Zach Phillips (Sr.), OF Sagan Gronauer (Jr.), IF Lucas Dockery (Sr.)

Outlook: The combination of a young squad and a rugged Northwest League schedule did the Crusaders no favors last year.

Fourteen lettermen return, hungry for success.

Dockery (.333 average), Gronauer (.320) and Ortega (.430 slugging percentage) should be among the leaders on offense, with Phillips (5-2 record) and Brown (46 strikeouts in 40 innings) back on the mound.

“We leaned heavily on young guys last year, and we’ll see how much they have matured going into this year,” Anderson said. “We gave away 11 leads that we carried into the fifth inning or later; turn those around and we actually make the playoffs last season.

“We have some talent on the mound, and if we can command the strike zone and mix in secondary pitches, we can compete with anyone in town.”

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Head coach: Matt Iglitz, 12th season

2017 record: 16-16 (10-10 4A Sunrise/sixth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Nine (six)

Top players: OF/P Andrew Hauck (Sr.), IF Chayse Parenteau (Sr.), IF/P Kelton Lachelt (Jr.), OF Tommy Dirk (Jr.)

Outlook: The Falcons return nine lettermen from a team that finished sixth in the Class 4A Sunrise League.

“For the first time in recent years, we have an experienced, older starting core,” Iglitz said. “We anticipate starting juniors and seniors at every position except behind the plate.”

Hauck and Lachelt both have pitched since their freshman year and are expected to occupy the top spots in the rotation.

“We’re hoping that experience across the board will lead us towards a good season,” said Iglitz, who added that Parenteau, Dirk and seniors Gage Streit and Tyler Kara should be among the leaders on offense.

“Like any club, if we can find some early season success and confidence, we should expect to compete in our division for a possible playoff berth,” Iglitz said.

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Head coach: Corey Gehlken, seventh season

2017 record: 26-7 (19-1 4A Sunrise/first)

Returning lettermen (starters): Eleven (four)

Top players: C Gavin Amelburu (Jr.), P Joseph DiGiacomo (Sr.), P/1B Jake Empey (Sr.), IF Carter Gehlken (Sr.), IF Garrett Nelson (Jr.)

Outlook: The Gators bring back four starters and 11 lettermen from a team that went 19-1 in league play last year.

Carter Gehlken (.427, 20 RBIs), Nelson (.411, 17 RBIs) and Amelburu (.300, 20 RBIs) are back to lead the offense, and DiGiacomo (2-2, 4 saves, 3.65 ERA) and Empey (2-1, 5.10 ERA) return on the mound.

“We expect to compete in every game and to improve to be playing our best baseball at the end of the year,” Corey Gehlken said.

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Head coach: Eric Rolwing, first season

2017 record: 3-5 (independent)

Returning lettermen (starters): Four (three)

Top players: C Diego Guerra (Jr.), 3B Logan Hall (Jr.), OF Cameron Forsythe (So.)

Outlook: Forsythe (.486 average, 15 RBIs), Hall (.204, 13 RBIs) and Guerra (.277, 7 RBIs) are among only four returning lettermen for the Guardians.

“We lost a lot of players from last year’s team, so we are in a bit of a rebuilding process,” Rolwing said. “With that said, we believe that we will be a team that will grow a lot over the next year, and are looking forward to our official membership into Class 1A next season.”

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Head coach: Gary Desch, second season

2017 record: 11-11 (7-7 2A Southern/fifth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Seven (five)

Top players: C/P/IF Joseph Johnson (Jr.), OF/C Mitch Dolinar (Sr.), P/IF/C Mark Costolo (Sr.), IF/P Ryan Kennedy (So.)

Outlook: The Eagles bring back only five starters, but some potent bats in Costolo (.403), Dolinar (.373), Johnson (.369) and Kennedy (.353).

“We are looking to continue building the program with a good group of freshmen coming in to assist the upperclassmen with a competitive season,” Desch said. “I feel we will be competitive even though we lost some important players from last season.”

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Head coach: Sam Thomas, 20th season

2017 record: 13-19 (9-11 4A Sunrise/eighth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Nine (four)

Top players: OF/P Kevin Verduzco (Sr.), IF/P Payton Miller (Sr.), IF/P Nate Freimuth (Jr.)

Outlook: The Wildcats bring back four starters from a team that qualified for the Sunrise Region playoffs.

Verduzco (.267 average), Miller (.280) and Freimuth (.273) are expected to be among the leaders on the club.

“We are young and inexperienced,” Thomas said. “We’re hoping to compete.”

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Head coach: Tony Petrik, 23rd season

2017 record: 18-9 (11-3 2A Southern/second)

Returning starters: Six

Top players: UTL/P Richard Coulston (Sr.), C Andrew Braaksma (Sr.), OF Cesar Arellano (Sr.), 1B/P Tyrell Gonzalez (So.), SS/P Diego Trujillo (So.)

Outlook: The Cougars return six starters from a team that nearly advanced to the Class 2A state tournament last year.

“I think we have a chance to be competitive this season,” Petrik said. “Lincoln Country, Needles, and Lake Mead should all field very strong, competitive teams this spring.”

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Head coach: Joey Lauria, second season

2017 record: 11-18 (6-12 Northwest/fifth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Nine (five)

Top players: 1B/P Jordan Crawford (Sr.), OF/P Zach Ahmed (So.), IF/P Fabian Torres (So.), IF/P Aaron Lopez (Fr.)

Outlook: The Longhorns took a big step forward in their building process last year.

“I’m happy with the direction our program is going,” Lauria said. “The tireless work our players have put in has been off the charts, and we look to compete in one of the best conferences in town.”

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Head coach: Todd Faranda, second season

2017 record: 17-16 (11-9 4A Sunrise/fifth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Eleven (four)

Top players: 1B/3B Andrew Gallegos (Sr.), OF Joseph Rush (Sr.), UTL/P Tyler Williamson (Sr.)

Outlook: The number of returning lettermen for the Patriots is a little deceiving, given that the team lost 12 seniors to graduation. Only four starters return.

“Graduating 12 from last season, the Patriots’ entire infield has new faces, as well as on the mound,” Faranda said. “Liberty will be a sophomore/junior-heavy program this year with a group of young talent.

“The Patriots hope to grow as the season goes on and make a run like they did last year deep into the playoffs.”

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Head coach: Brad Halverson, third season

Returning lettermen (starters): Five (four)

Top players: P/SS Trevor Campbell (So.), P/3B Bryan Smith (Jr.), 1B Caleb Shorer (Sr.)

Outlook: The Knights return four starters from last season as they continue to build.

“Our baseball team has a solid mix of junior and senior leadership along with a youthful core of up-and-coming players,” Halverson said. “This will be a great learning year for our team. We’re looking forward to developing a team that gives 100 percent and competes at a high level.”

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Head coach: Raymond Wadsworth, sixth season

2017 record: 25-3 (14-0 2A Southern/first)

Returning lettermen (starters): Twelve (seven)

Top players: P/IF Kobe Walker (Jr.), P/IF Alex Vincent (Jr.), P/C McKinley O’Connor (Jr.), OF Kamden Lewis (Jr.), OF Dean Ottley (So.)

Outlook: The Lynx bring back 12 lettermen after winning their second straight Class 2A state title last year.

“It’s exciting to see that several players will have the opportunity to step up into leadership roles,” Wadsworth said. “Hopefully they will do just that. We anticipate being competitive in every game and win more than lose.

“Peaking at the right times in the season will be beneficial as we strive to make the state playoffs.”

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Head coach: Darin Hadley, first season

2017 record: 22-11 (9-1 3A Sunrise/first)

Returning lettermen (starters): Eleven (five)

Outlook: Hadley takes over a squad that last year won the program’s first league title in 17 seasons and made its first state appearance since 2012.

Eleven lettermen return from that team, and the Pirates are hoping to make another deep playoff run.

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Head coach: Stephen Bock, first season

2017 record: 14-15-1 (8-2 3A Sunset/second)

Returning lettermen (starters): Four (four)

Top players: P/3B/C Michael Cianci (So), P/SS Kevin Gutierrez (Jr.)

Outlook: Bock takes over a team that brings back four starters after qualifying for the postseason for just the third time in school history.

The Rattlers are young, but hoping to contend for a playoff berth again this year.

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Head coach: Ken Parker, 11th season

2017 record: 19-11 (10-4 2A Southern/third)

Returning lettermen (starters): Ten (eight)

Top players: OF Jayden Yeager (Sr.), IF Ezra Ponce (Sr.), OF Dillon Darrow (Sr.), OF Ryan Dunn (Sr.), IF Dillon Horn (Jr.), OF Damon Lewis (Jr.), IF Nathan Parker (So.), OF Tyler White (So.)

Outlook: The Mustangs advanced to the Class 2A state championship game last year and bring back eight starters.

Yeager was a first-team 2A All-State honoree last year.

“We have a solid core returning and younger talent joining the program,” Ken Parker said. “This is looking to be the largest freshmen class in recent years, and we hope for some breakthrough players.

“The returning starting core is looking to repeat a trip back to the championship finals, led by seniors Jayden Yeager, Dillon Darrow, Ezra Ponce, Ryan Dunn. The strong supporting cast of Dillon Horn, Damon Lewis, Tyler White and Nate Parker hopes to make an even bigger impact to help lead the way.”

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Head coach: Brian Hayes, sixth season

2017 record: 22-13-1 (10-0 3A Sunset/first)

Returning lettermen (starters): Fifteen (seven)

Top players: P/OF Garrett Lucas (Sr.), P/C/UTL Willie Lucas (Jr.), P/OF Bradda Costa (Sr.), OF Anthony Charles (Sr.), P/1B/3B Cyle Havel (So.), SS Chase McDaniel (So.)

Outlook: Garrett Lucas (.372, 28 RBIs; 6-2, 1.63 ERA) was the Sunset League MVP last year, and Willie Lucas (.359, 10 doubles, 26 RBIs; 4-3, 3.47 ERA) was a first-team all-league choice.

Costa (3-3, 2.26 ERA) and Havel (.313, 18 RBIs; 2-1, 3.37 ERA) both were second-team all-league choices for the defending Sunset League champions.

“We return seven seniors and have a strong junior and sophomore class,” Hayes said. “Expectations are high and our boys hope to take that next step in our program this season. If our boys come together as a team and buy into our Trojans’ Creed, it will be a fun season for us.”

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Head coach: Joe Hallead, third season

2017 record: 22-10-1 (14-4 Northwest/second)

Returning lettermen (starters): Fourteen (four)

Top players: IF/P Jaret Godman (Sr.), C/OF/P Jacob Godman (Sr.), UTL/P E.J. Arnold (Sr.), SS/2B Scotty Cosby (Sr.), UTL/P Bryce Robison (Jr.)

Outlook: Coming off a strong season last year, the Panthers bring back 14 lettermen, but only four starters.

Jaret Godman (.467, 7 home runs, 31 RBIs), Jacob Godman (.356, 7 doubles, 17 RBIs), Arnold (.280) and Cosby (.289) should be among the leaders on offense.

“We have an extraordinary schedule this season that we believe will have us battle-tested and ready to make a push in the playoffs,” Hallead said. “We are in a very competitive league where any team can be beaten on any particular day.

“We are focusing on doing our job each and every day and playing a faceless opponent. If our team can focus on that approach, I am excited to see where we end up in May.”

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Head coach: Manny Llamas, second season

2017 record: 26-10 (15-5 4A Sunrise/third)

Returning lettermen (starters): Seventeen (11)

Top players: SS Edarian Williams (Sr.), UTL/P Jimmy Gamboa (Sr.), OF Anthony Guzman (Sr.), 1B Layton Walls (Sr.), OF Joey Walls (Sr.)

Outlook: The Rams bring back 17 lettermen after advancing to the Class 4A state tournament last year.

Gamboa (.457, 25 RBIs, 11 doubles; 2-1, 3.11 ERA, 43 strikeouts in 36 innings) was a second-team all-state selection last year.

He’ll have plenty of help from Williams (.411, 24 RBIs), Guzman (.353, 11 doubles, 19 RBIs); Layton Walls (.373, 14 RBIs; 4-3, 3.00 ERA) and Joey Walls (.319, 20 RBIs).

“We are all in this year,” Llamas said.

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Head coach: Frank Tousa, 10th season

2017 record: 13-17 (6-2 Northwest/fifth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Eight (three)

Top players: SS Kristian Saldana (Jr.), P Tyler Vizcarra (Jr.), OF/P Trent McGregor (Sr.)

Outlook: The Mustangs will have some new faces in the lineup as they bring back only three starters.

“We hope to compete on a daily basis and battle for a playoff spot,” Tousa said. “We will be young and need to gather experience quickly.”

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Head coach: Joe Moyes, second season

2017 record: 14-12 (7-11 Southwest/fifth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Eight (five)

Top players: OF/3B Cooper Kitrell (Sr.), SS/P Nick Morice (Sr.), OF Cody Culpepper (Sr.), 1B/P/3B Daymian Yohner (Sr.), 2B/P/SS Alex Chavira (Jr.)

Outlook: The Mountain Lions narrowly missed out on a playoff berth last year.

Kitrell (.425, 5 triples, 2 home runs), Morice (.290, 15 RBIs), Yohner (.311) and Culpepper (.270) are expected to be among the leaders on offense, and Chavira (4-1, 2.23 ERA) is expected to be among the leaders on the mound.

“Despite low numbers this year, the Lions will be fighting for a playoff spot utilizing a strong senior class with an abundance of pitching,” Moyes said. “The catching corps has also gained valuable experience over the offseason.

“Strong pitching and defense will be key for the Mountain Lions this season.”

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Head coach: Brian Whitaker, 24th season

2017 record: 14-17 (10-10 4A Sunrise/seventh)

Returning lettermen (starters): Seventeen (five)

Top players: SS Dax Fellows (Sr.), C/P Grant McCarty (Sr.), 2B Caleb Hubbard (So.), UTL/P Tyler Paasche (Sr.), UTL Nikolas Cortez (Sr.), OF Blake Zorne (Sr.), OF Sean Graves (Jr.)

Outlook: The Skyhawks return 17 lettermen from last year’s squad.

Fellows (.430, 6 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs, 26 RBIs) is hoping to have another big year.

“There are a lot of veteran type players on the 2018 edition of Silverado baseball,” Whitaker said. “The expectation is that leadership, coupled with an expedited learning curve by talented young players, will put us in the hunt.

“We have ballplayers that like to play hard and compete.”

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Head coach: Paul Bassett, 11th season

2017 record: 25-9 (12-6 Southwest/third)

Returning lettermen (starters): Eight (six)

Top players: OF Jack Sellinger (Sr.), C Jonathan Bakken (Jr.), IF Kade Higgins (So.), IF/P Braxton Bruschke (Jr.), P Donovan Souder (Jr.)

Outlook: The Grizzlies return six starters from a team that won 25 games last year.

Bakken (.471, 2 home runs, 30 RBIs), Sellinger (.365, 4 HR, 37 RBIs), Higgins (.388, 15 RBIs), and Bruschke (.325, 21 RBIs) return to guide the offense.

Souder (29.2 innings, 21 strikeouts) and Bruschke (15 innings, 13 strikeouts) both saw time on the mound last year and will strengthen the pitching staff.

“We look to be competitive in the Southwest League and earn a spot in the playoffs,” Bassett said.

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Head coach: Antonio Morales, fourth season

2017 record: 5-19 (5-5 3A Sunset/fourth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Two (two)

Top players: OF Cecil Hall (Sr.), SS/P Brian Ruiz (Jr.)

Outlook: The Miners are coming off of just their second playoff appearance in the program’s history, but have a lot of holes to fill after graduation took its toll on the team.

Ruiz (.380 average; 4-3, 3.62 ERA) and Hall (.292) are the only two returning starters.

“Losing eight seniors from last year’s team will hurt, and we will be very young this year,” Morales said. “That being said, we still expect to compete for a playoff spot again this year.”

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Head coach: Bill Stuber, 13th season

2017 record: 12-12-1 (2-8 3A Sunrise/fifth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Eight (six)

Top players: P/IF/OF Gabe Kermode (Sr.), 1B/P Sean Jones (Sr.), C Drew Cole (Jr.), OF/C Oscar Reynoso (Jr.), IF/P Jose Leon (So.), IF/P Jason Collingbourne (So.)

Outlook: Six starters return for the Roadrunners, who will look for some offensive firepower to emerge this year.

“We graduated a big chunk of our offense but bring back all our pitching,” Stuber said.

Kermode (6-5, 2.89 ERA, 58 strikeouts), Leon (3.96 ERA) and Collingbourne should be among the leaders on the mound, though Stuber also expects contributions from Jones, sophomore Matt Martinolich and senior Ivan Curiel.

Cole (.343, 26 runs), Reynoso (.296, 13 RBIs), Leon (.276, 26 RBIs), Collingbourne (.274, 18 runs) and Jones (.261, 18 RBIs) will be among the leaders on offense.

“Senior Adrian Perez and sophomore Sean Morgan should also add a spark to the offense,” Stuber said. “If our guys can pick it up on the offensive side, it’ll give us a chance to compete for a playoff spot.”

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Head coach: Chris Manning, second season

2017 record: 6-19 (3-17 4A Sunrise/ninth)

Returning lettermen (starters): Six (four)

Top players: IF/P Gatlin Hardiman (Sr.), IF/P/C Leeland Crawford (Sr.), IF/P/C Gustavo Donate (Jr.), IF Larry Valenzuela (Sr.), OF/IF/P Gary Bricker (Fr.)

Outlook: The Vikings return four starters from last year’s squad.

“The Valley baseball team is looking to improve upon the positive strides that were built last year,” Manning said. “I am hoping that we are more competitive than Valley has been in the past.

“As a team, we are expecting to deliver more wins than we had in the past. We want to shed the idea that Valley is an easy, pushover team.”

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