By Carlos Alvarez
As the new baseball season gets on its way a new group of players take the field for the Huskies.
“We lost a lot of key players from last year. We have three players returning from last year,” Head Coach James Hines said.
Those three players that hope to lead the Huskies this year are sophomore outfielders Kyle Peralta, Andrew Gutierrez, and sophomore catcher Armando Lomeli.
“Our returning players provide strength to our team defensively, but as the season goes along they will mature offensively,” Hines said.
Hines described the importance of Lomeli as a key to their season. He added that having experience behind the plate is of great need because the catcher is responsible for setting up the defense as well as working with the pitching staff.
Unlike last year were the pitching staff was a pleasant surprise this year the Huskies pitching staff will be one of their strengths going into the season.
“We have some quality arms this year that we hope can carry us early while our offense gets in tune,” Hines said.
Leading the way is Sergio Luna who transferred from Cal State LA. His reason for transferring after having a successful season for the Eagles was that he envisions himself as a starter.
“He was going to be the closer at Cal State LA, but he wasn’t happy there. I told him to go to ELAC because Hines is good working with pitchers,” former Cathedral High School Coach Cesar Martinez said.
Other key pitchers that hope to contribute this year are sophomore Frankie Wright and freshman Anthony Chavez.
“Wright was supposed to be part of last year’s rotation, but an injury to one of his fingers limited him to being the designated hitter,” Hines said.
When it comes to the offensive side the Huskies identity will be similar to that of last year.
“We will definitely have the same approach as last year. We haven’t had a guy hit more than 10 home runs for the past six years. We have to play smart and be a scrappy team,” Hines said.
He added we have two young players up the middle that will be tested defensively and offensively, but they’re capable of leading this team.
The Huskies begin the season ranked No. 12 in the Southern California poll, but their approach is taking it one game at a time.
“We hope to make it to playoffs this year like every other year, but it’s a long season. We will compete that’s for sure we always do,” Hines said, when asked about some goals for this season
The Huskies begin season play today on the road against last year’s regional finals opponent, No. 9-ranked Riverside Community College, at 5 p.m.
“I like having a tough nonconference games, because it prepares us for conference play. It gives us an idea on what type of team we are,” Hines said.