Delta baseball set for the season opener on Friday

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Dario Gomez
Dario Gomez runs to first base during a game in 2019. Photo by Paul Muysens

Following a state championship win two years ago, the Mustangs entered last season considered by many to be one of the teams to beat in Northern California. That assumption was proven true. This year, with an almost entirely new team, those expectations might be a bit harder to meet.

“I definitely don’t think we are No. 1 right now,” said head coach Reed Peters about his team who enters the season ranked No. 1 by Baseball News in the California C.C. 2020 Preseason Nothern California rankings. “I think a lot of that is based on what we did last year and this is a whole new team. We moved on 20 guys to four-year schools. By the end of the year, if we do what he have done in the past and guys continue to work …that’s the one thing we pride ourselves on is outworking everyone else. If that’s the case and the guys do what they are supposed to do then I think we have a shot to be there at the top at the end of the year.”

Losing eight of their top 10 run producers from last season’s team that hit 42 home runs and averaged 10 runs per game the offense will have a different look this season.

“Lots more speed in this offense even though we led the state in stolen bases last year,” said Peters. “We are even faster this year. We don’t have the power that we had last year. Hopefully, we are a little more balanced one through nine. We are going to need to pitch and play defense and I think we can do that.”

Dillon Tatum drove in 33 runs and hit four home runs last season while Nevada-commit Dario Gomez also returns after driving in 11 runs last year.

Kevin Fitzgerald also returns and has high expectations this season while transfers Bill Ralston and Jaylund Johnson will be players to watch this season.

“We are expecting big things from him (Ralston) and Johnson will play first base and hit in the middle of the order. They should be able to be leaders for us and provide some guidance for the younger guys.”

Losing a bulk of their pitching staff the mound will have a different look with Tyler Condie returning as he will get the opening day start after going 3-2 with a 2.20 ERA last season.

Freshmen Cameron Weatherford and Andrew Morones both throw 90 miles per hour and are expected to start the season in the starting rotation for a staff that will potentially change as the season goes on.

Garrett Munn was the team’s number one pitcher during the state championship season two years ago before missing last year and will be eased into it this season with the hope he will be a starter by the end of the year.

Arkansas Tech transfer Kohl Drake had a good start in the fall but was shut down and they hope he can come back and be a starter as well. Pacific commit Jackson Vaughan is another transfer that could see significant time on the mound.

“We never had anything like this before where we had 20 guys move on,” said Peters who is entering his 13th season as the head coach for Delta. “This year has been an interesting year. We are all new guys. Even the transfers we got weren’t here last year so they don’t know how we do things here. It usually takes guys a year to figure it out and do what you want them to do and unfortunately, we don’t have that time. They got to grow up fast. There are a lot of questions right now. I have no idea, really, what to expect from this group but we will find out shortly.”

On Friday the Mustangs open the season against Monterey Peninsula at 1:45 p.m.