2018 Baseball Season Preview: Young Dons look to build on past success

De Anza’s 2018 baseball team anticipates a strong upcoming spring season, as they look to build on last year’s overall record of 22-17 and 12-8 record in  conference games.

2018’s team composition consists of 22 freshman players and 12 sophomores. Head coach Erick Raich described this season’s team composition as young but extremely talented, despite the disparity in experience for this year’s team.

“We have a lot of new players, I think we have a chance to be good as the season goes along and get better, it’s just a matter of getting these guys the experience and getting actual games,” Raich said.

Despite any challenges this season’s team may face, Raich’s goal for the team continues to be to win the conference and state championships.

“I think if you sit there and sell yourself short and go ‘oh we’re just going to play and try to make the playoffs’ or ‘we’re just trying to be in the mix’ you’re not setting yourself up for anything successful,” Raich said.

Assistant coach Brian Richer also shares Raich’s goal of ultimately making the championships, but also wants the team to find ways to improve everyday.

“Being that we’re young, we’re going to struggle a little early on possibly, in the sense of until we find the identity as a team is, but that just comes in with day-in, day-out, hard work and grinding it out,” Richer said.

Raich said that fall practice set a good foundation for players and returning this quarter was just picking up where they left.

Confidence in 2018’s potential also extends to the players. Catcher and returning player Sam Nastari mentioned the importance of last fall’s training and its effect on team cohesion.

“Fall practice was good, definitely met a lot of new faces in the fall, and as a team, it’s pretty hard to come together and play really well at first,” Nastari said. “So when you have the whole fall season, it gives you a chance to really learn who you’re playing with.”

Freshman outfielder, Wes Crockett, expressed positivity in his performance during the fall practice.

“Fall training was good, I put in a lot of work, it’s all about hard work and dedication,” Crockett said.

Aaron Lopez, returning player, right-handed pitcher and first baseman believes with this season’s team composition of newer players, the team will show strong initiative on the field.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of energy, because there’s a lot of young guys on the field. I think it’s going to be good energy, and hopefully we can just build on one way and just keep going,” Lopez said.

The Dons’ first game of the season will be a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 11:00 a.m. against Yuba College at Los Gatos High School.