Delhi and Denair High's varsity baseball teams have had a run of bad luck over the last recent years, but after Wednesday's pre-league battle between the two, things look to be on the upside for both programs.
The Hawks of Delhi came out with a fury and head coach Kevin Ross made sure his team was ready for the start, however, they just couldn't contain the Coyotes in the end who pulled out the 7-4 win.
“This game here was the product of a lot of hard work,” said Ross. “These kids really put in a lot of hard work. We are really preparing with a max effort and that allows us to perform at a high level and we saw a lot of good things.”
“Delhi came out ready to fight. They came out wanting to win the game at our field and that is terrible for us,” said Denair coach Bob Moore. “We can't lose in our field, but I think our guys came out flat. The win is great, but I think we took them for granted and our kids shouldn't because this is a much-improved team from last year no doubt.”
Since taking over last year, Ross has been working towards a turnaround for a program that has never quite been established or had a winning season in the Southern Athletic League.
The Hawks now look resurrected, despite the youth on the roster.
“We are 0-3, but we’ve been doing some good things. But when we make mistakes we do them in bunches and as you know in baseball it’s a death sentence,” said Ross. “I always have high expectations. I think this year overall talent wise we are a couple runs better than we were last year there is no doubt.”
Coach Ross has had the pleasure of welcoming in a combination of multi-sport athletes that includes football’s Aiden Rocha playing third and Samuel Cortez.
Basketball’s leading scorer—Chance Browning—is also part of the squad this year.
Browning pitched a shutout inning over Denair on Wednesday, ending the day with 13 pitches.
“He is just a great athlete,” said Ross of Browning. “We are stronger all the way around. We don't have a ton of weak spots in the defense.”
Denair, which is currently 3-0-1, will rely heavily on Brenden Curnow, Blake Davis and JT Smith.
“They are some of our best players and we count on them all the time,” said Moore of the three stars. “They get most of our hits, but hopefully Joe Brasil will pick it up hitting wise although defensively he is doing fine, but he needs to get hits because he is strong as a bull.”
Also, look for Delhi's Marty Hernandez and Mataio Cazares to continue the progression of the Hawks.
Coach Moore of Denair knows that next time they meet Delhi for league it’s anybody's game.
“I told their coach they are much better than before, but it’s a work in progress since they have so many young guys out there,” said Moore. “We are getting better, but we still have a lot to work on as you can see with the defense. We struggle, the team didn't seem to get up when they needed to.”
Elvis Silva should also contribute to the Coyotes this upcoming year according to Moore.
“Out at center field, Elvis is a great athlete and we’re looking for him to step up and be an on-the-field leader, he can lead that way and he is responding,” Moore added. “We will switch some positions around and see where we will move around for when league starts.”
Denair's next game will be on the road at Roosevelt High in Fresno at 11 a.m. today.