Cougar Baseball Eager To Take The Field

Omar Hernandez, Sports Reporter

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Spring is in the air. Springtime means renewal, the final semester of school, and, most of all, baseball will soon be in full swing. For the past six years, Head Coach Mr. Hager has been looking after the Weston Ranch baseball program, its athletes, and the coming Spring.

Working with a plethora of young Cougar ballplayers throughout the years, Coach Hager is especially excited for this upcoming season saying, “I feel like we’ve got a chance to be very competitive in an outstanding VOL baseball league.” Along with the talented young student-athletes, Hager will also rely on returning coach Clemon Drain. Their goal is to prepare the Cougars for the upcoming season.

Cougar baseball fans can look forward to seeing familiar faces such as four-year Varsity starters Amier Bowen (Senior) and Carlos Drain (Senior). Bowen will return to anchor an infield which returns three starters and brings a varsity career batting average of .316. Drain will return as the club’s starting catcher and will be relied on to help guide the Cougars young pitching staff. Drain, who has played multiple positions and was named All-league as a freshman, will be the key to the Cougars offensive attack and brings a varsity career batting average of .383. Austin Cappas returns for his third year and will help anchor the pitching staff as well as the infield an outfield. Cappas batted .343 for the last two varsity seasons. Rounding out the top returners, Senior Anthony Aguilar will fill in his familiar spot as the utility (one who can play every position), and he will round out the top returners offensively. The Cougars will also receive help from Seniors Isaac Espino and Jadarius Encalade, both of whom were pleasant surprises in the Cougar outfield last year.

The pitching staff is young and inexperienced, but returning starter Gabriel Melgar made outstanding progress last year and will take the mound as the Cougars number one or number two starter. Along with Cappas and Melgar, Carlos Souza will handle pitching duties either as a spot-starter or long-reliever. Souza is tough in tight situations as he proved last year getting the final three outs in an extra-inning victory at Central Catholic.

The Cougars welcome newcomers Isaiah Maxie, David Baca, and Anthony Chavez. Maxie is quickly establishing himself as someone who needs to be in the lineup every day and is settling in at first base. Maxie will also backup Drain at catcher. Baca and Chavez come up from last year’s JV squad and will both pitch and play infield and outfield respectively.

It’s exciting, and the coaching staff has to feel very pleased with their roster this year. Coach Hager said, “I think we got a good nucleus of returners this year to help push us into playoffs.” Hager’s outlook is sure to make many Cougar fans excited for the season. With a finish of 11-11-2 last season, hopes are high for the Cougars to make a playoff run this year.

Student support at the games is needed and appreciated always. The Cougars wish to have as many members of the student body at their games to support. “Love to have as much support we can have from the student body. The more classmates to cheer us on the better,” said Hager. There is much to be excited about for Cougar baseball this season.

The Cougars will be road warriors in the beginning as they travel to Soledad this weekend. They are back on the road and will go to Linden, Hilmar, Stagg, and McNair for the next two weeks, finally returning to Cougar Field March 5 for a contest with McNair High School of Stockton.

As with Spring, hope for baseball springs eternal. Best of luck to our Cougar baseball team.

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Cougar Baseball Eager To Take The Field