De Anza College Dons 2014 baseball Preview

Team looking forward to conference season despite slow start


Jeff Facun

The 2014 De Anza College baseball team is looking forward to the upcoming conference season. So much so that some returning members from last year’s team are not putting a lot of stock into starting the season slow. Their preseason record as of Friday Feb. 21 was 0-9.

“We are trying to stay focused, go 1-0 every game [and] not worry about the record overall,” said Jack Rader, who went 4-2 with 32 strikeouts in 2013.

De Anza head coach Scott Hertler said the team had a great fall camp to get ready for the upcoming season.

“We got a lot of games in the fall [of 2013],” Hertler said. “The weather cooperated with us. We didn’t miss time on the field.”

Hertler’s list of players to look out for this season consists of four sophomores: left-handed pitcher Lucas Yovanovich, right-handed pitcher Rader, outfielder Jonathan Collins and first baseman Joseph Garo. The coach expects them to be major contributors toward the success of the team.

These players represent four of the team’s nine returning sophomores. But Hertler doesn’t mind the challenge of playing his plethora of freshmen.

“We are unsure where they fit yet,” said Hertler, of his freshman players. “But a lot of freshmen are getting a chance to get their feet wet early in their careers.”

The Dons will have to replace two 2013 Coast Golden Gate first-team all-conference players – Rey Gallegos, Corey Kingston – and three second-team all-conference players – Joey Austin, Derek Carter, and Gilbert Guerra – from a team that went 16-20 last season.

Yovanovich, one of nine returning members and one of six all-conference players from last year’s team, said he is focused more on the team’s success than achieving his own personal goals.

“It’s not about me,” said Yovanovich, who went 7-4 with 47 strikeouts and registered a 3.27 ERA in his first season with the Dons. “I’m more [dedicated] to getting the team back on track after the slow start than myself.”

Collins’ goals for the season are to help the Dons be successful and lead by example at the plate and on the field.

“Personally, (I want) to do anything I can to help the team win,” said Collins, who played in nine games in 2013.

Garo finished the 2013 season with 25 games played, hitting .299 with 20 hits (in 67 plate at-bats) and 7 RBIs.

Rader said the team is not pushing the panic button.

“Our team goal is to win every game possible,” Rader said. “(I want) to keep my team in a winning atmosphere throughout the (season).”

Like Rader, Hertler wants to get the season going one game at a time and see where they go from there.

“We get to line up against other people with different uniforms on,” Hertler said. “We are excited to get after it.”