There is one high school baseball squad in the area that is quietly making big moves and that team is the Turlock Christian Eagles.
The Eagles are coming off a big year that saw them make their way into the Division-VII Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals with an 11-4 league record, and thankfully for first year head coach Bill York, that squad returns a large bulk of their starters.
They also welcome in a herd of freshmen, and without a doubt the team to beat in the Central California Athletic Alliance is Turlock Christian.
“I am pretty excited, the cool thing is I had a meeting with them early on and there was a collective group of them… they didn’t go as far and last year left a bad taste in their mouths,” said York. “It has them hungry for this year and they want to live up to that potential and they don’t want to leave that on the table and they want to compete well.”
So far this year, TC is off to a perfect 2-0 start in the Central California Athletic Alliance and 3-0 overall.
The team is only boasting three seniors. The rest are juniors or younger. The bulk of their starters, however, are comprised of sophomores.
Most notably are Ryan Leonesio and Markie Delgadillo, who anchor the interior of the field.
“Young group, and those sophomores are really good,” said York. “Four sophomores starting and they are the anchors and it is pretty cool. I think last year we only had two seniors and two kids that return as seniors, still young and we have five sophomores, three freshmen and then three juniors.”
The juniors who are already making an impact are Micah Blomenkamp and Liam Jones.
Catcher Jakob Skinner and Eli Roos are the two returning seniors.
York also said that this team’s baseball knowledge is at a high level.
“What I’ve been telling people is that we have a good baseball IQ,” said York. “Their instincts for the game are real good, they had great coaching and they understand the little things like base running. First game and instincts are there and puts them atop their competition and makes it easier for me because the fundamentals are there and I just try to exploit the good things they are doing and to have success.”
The team also consist of eight pitchers and the Eagles’ speed is one of the best in league, according to York.
“Pitching and defense will keep us in ball games, up the middle from the outfield, we are above average,” York added. “Team speed, I have six with a green light. Make sure we stay healthy since we have 14 kids on the roster, just a little light in the numbers when you have 150 kids in the school and baseball is getting harder to put freshman teams together.”
Next, the Eagles will take on Monte Vista rivals Denair High in Denair at 3:30 p.m. Monday.