The Turlock Christian varsity baseball team had a great 2018 season that saw them make a deep run in the playoffs and the Eagles are hoping to continue that success in 2019.
Head coach Bill York returns a majority of that squad heading into the new season, a squad that reached the semifinals of the Division-VII Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs despite a roster that had multiple pitchers injured heading into the tournament.
“Baseball is a grind and takes a little bit to get into it. Up until this past week it was just their spring training since the basketball team had success,” said York. “Coupled with the wet weather and we haven’t been able to get out as much, but the guys are grinding and coming together at the right time.”
Despite the large number of players coming back, the baseball squad had to deal without some of their players after the basketball team made their deepest run in postseason history, reaching the SJS D-VI final, including a berth in the state tournament—also a first for TC boys basketball.
“We are gaining speed. The basketball team had success which was fun, and exciting for the school, but the downside it is a small school and four of those basketball players were starters so they are just now hitting their strides,” said York.
TC is coming off a 17-0 win over Brookside Christian on Tuesday, which was their first league win of the season after falling to Venture Academy in the Central California Athletic Alliance opener last Thursday, 11-3.
“Venture came out and were excited to jump out to a win and it was an eye opener,” said York. “Everyone is trying to knock us off the mountain. The kids are very hungry after last year’s playoffs. We lost three pitchers going into that playoff run and we had big expectations last year. Lord willing, if everyone stays healthy, we have those same expectations going into this year.”
Last year was a showcase of dominance for the Eagles who went 20-4, losing half their games in the final two contests. They also clinched the first ever Central California Athletic Alliance title with a 13-1 league record.
That team from a year ago boasted just two seniors on the squad and everyone else is a returner.
The returners for coach York include Ethan Fisher, Liam Jones, Micah Blomenkamp, Markie Delgadillo, Howie Skinner, Ryan Leonesio, David Lund and Will York.
“In fact, I think we upgraded a little bit. We have freshmen coming in that are making an impact already. Starting catcher is a freshman, Julian Espinoza and Matthew Leonesio, Ryan’s younger brother who wakes up and starts hitting,” said York. “My expectations are the same as they always are, I want them to play as hard as they can no matter what competition we have and because of their talent level they will be able to go places. It is up to them to grind it out and we scheduled some preseason games against higher level teams and they already tested us and league we need to be able to do our thing.”
TC (3-2 overall, 1-1 CCAA) will next host Mariposa at 4 p.m. Wednesday.