Delhi and Denair High varsity baseball will kick off league play this week against one another, but before embarking on another grinding season in the always competitive Southern Athletic League, they each had to take on non-league opponents.
Delhi capped off their non-conference record at 0-3 while Denair split their games, heading into league play at 2-2.
“Well I think this year, easily the best team we have had in my third year here,” said Delhi head coach Kevin Ross. “Which is safe to say this is the best team Delhi has ever had, the talent level is higher than it has ever been.”
“So far, we are really young. We have some first-time players,” said Denair head coach Anthony Armas. “I think the expectations for the year so far are making sure that we get better at the fundamentals in order to help set up our program for the future, while still making sure we are competitive this year for the few upperclassmen that we do have.”
Of the 19 players on the Denair roster, only five are seniors or juniors, the rest are underclassmen.
Some of the younger players include Elvis Silva, Matt Collins, Hunter Souza, and Hayden Feldman.
The Coyotes also return JT Smith and Blake Davis, who should be some of the leaders on the squad.
“For us, I don't think we have goals as far as number of wins we're shooting for or stats we're trying to attain because of our youth,” said Armas. “Our goals are more along the lines of learning to do things the right way, day in and day out, inning to inning.”
The Hawks of Delhi have taken an early optimistic approach with coach Ross.
“We are a bit older this year, we have leaders this year we didn’t have before, so the expectations are higher that we can compete a little more than we have before,” said Ross. “If we can do the little things, I think talent wise we are in a good spot to shake it up.”
The Hawks return a handful of players from a season ago that include standout Aiden Rocha.
“Aiden Rocha is going to be all over the place; he is just an athlete,” said Ross. “I haven’t even asked him to be a leader but I see him coaching guys without having to ask me and those are the things and leaders I love to see.”
Oscar Fuentes and Marty Hernandez are some of the other standouts with Hernandez being one of the captains.
“Oscar’s work is unmatched and definitely a leader on this team and Marty Hernandez as well. He is a staple on this team and I think he will eat up a lot of innings on the mound,” said Ross. “He played a lot in the offseason and will be an impact in all facets as well. We have guys who will do good things for us.”
Denair and Delhi are scheduled to square off from Delhi High at 4 p.m. Thursday.