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Turlock baseball looks for another strong season
THS baseball preview 1
Senior Kaden Peterson takes a pitch (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

The Turlock High baseball team is gearing up to continue their streak of successful seasons. The Bulldogs finished with an overall record of 14-3 last year and a 12-3 league record, which earned them a share of the league title.

Head coach Sean Gilbert is celebrating his 20th year coaching Turlock High athletics and is entering his fourth year coaching the baseball team.

“We’ve been really fortunate the past couple of years,” he said. “We have pretty much the same staff and athletic wise we’ve had a good run. The league’s getting better and better… and it’s going to come down to keeping guys healthy and pitching. In our league you play about three games a week, so you have to have a good staff.”

The team has a good mix of older and younger players on the roster with nine seniors. The Bulldogs might be bringing up talent if need be, because due to changing protocols varsity is allowed to move players up from a lower level and bring them back down. In the past, if you moved a player up you would have to keep them in varsity.

THS baseball preview 2
Junior pitcher Payton Hawkinson warms up in the bullpen (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

Some of the players to keep an eye out for this season are senior and three-year starting catcher Griffen Sotomayor, senior pitcher and outfielder Kaden Peterson and seniors Logan Hart and Bryce Campbell, who hit in the middle of the lineup.

“We have to play a style of baseball that dictates tempo, hustle, rewards hard work and grit and grinds it out,” said Gilbert. “Our philosophy is just to work hard, play dirty and the more we could simulate that speed in practice that is going to translate onto the field.”

The first goal for the Bulldogs every season is to make playoffs. After that they want to win the league and advance in the playoffs.

“Team goals are where we put our priorities,” said Gilbert. “We want to compete in the classroom as well. If they can understand stuff like getting here early, leaving late we think translates to winning a game and applies to off the field.”

The Bulldogs have never won a section championship for baseball, and this year’s squad is looking to disrupt that trend.

“We’ve been fortunate enough the last couple of years to get to the playoffs, get out of the first round and lose to one of the teams in Sacramento,” said Gilbert. “You have to play a really clean game if you’re going to beat them.”

The Bulldogs have a tough pre-season schedule and currently have a record of 2-2. League games get started on March 21 with a road game against Downey.