The 18-year-old Stanislaus Cardinals Babe Ruth baseball team ended its season with an early run in the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament. With the help of a pool of talented players from local schools including Turlock, Pitman and Hilmar High, the team is shaping up well and looking to surpass last season's success and eventually make the World Series.
“Every year we are optimistic about our chances. Obviously, to get a chance to repeat and go to the Southwest Regional Tournament would be optimistic in that regard,” said head coach Bobby Swedberg.
Of last year's team, the Cardinals only return Turlock's Cody Cornell who helped lead the squad to a 26-2 record. Cornell was second on the Turlock High team as a senior in RBI with 22 and second in home-runs (3). He was also a vital asset on the defensive side, playing as a utility player including catcher and pitcher.
To make the team even more locally-based, Swedberg has added some of Cornell's teammates from Turlock.
Turlock's Marcus Lopez, Bubba Moreno and Alex Pallios join Cornell in what already looks to be a near All-Star caliber squad.
Lopez, Moreno and Pallios all come off senior seasons leading the Bulldogs to an 18-10 record including a postseason push into the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division I Section tournament.
“It gives us options as far as making moves throughout the game to get these athletes,” Swedberg said about the Turlock crew. “They will help us compete and when we go out and get guys like this, that is key to turning the program around and it helps our chances to be competitive and go to the World Series.”
Pitman High graduate Trevor Chaney, who was pitching at Merced College this past season, will also be part of the team along with the possibility of adding more recent Pitman players.
“Maybe we will get some other guys from Pitman, I am not sure yet because we are still in the talks,” said Swedberg.
Swedberg returns a familiar face from not just last year's Babe Ruth team, but from his recent first season as Hilmar High's varsity baseball head coach Yellowjacket lefty Jacob Ahid.
The recent CSU Monterey Bay signee was a workhorse this past season for Hilmar and considered by many as one of the top left handed prospects in the area as he ended his senior year with an ERA of 1.19 in 70 and 2/3 innings.
“Jacob had a good season last year before I was at Hilmar and showcased his talent and will continue to work,” Swedberg said.
Bradley Knightengale from Central Catholic and Michael Cummings of Modesto Christian will come to Babe Ruth, both playing as utility infielders.
“We look forward to having that addition from outside schools as well,” Swedberg added.
The first game has not been officially set but it should be during the first week of June Swedberg said.