Sports

Auburn schools' prep baseball glimpse

Auburn’s Matt Seeley connects during a recent preseason jamboree against Auburn Riverside.  - Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter
Auburn’s Matt Seeley connects during a recent preseason jamboree against Auburn Riverside.
— image credit: Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter

TROJANS AT A GLANCE

• COACH: Baj Alastra, 4th season

• LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 6-14 overall, 5th place in SPSL North 4A with 5-14 record.

• TOP RETURNERS: 5 returning starters including: Matt Seeley, senior, pitcher and shortstop; Brier Atkinson, junior, catcher and infielder; Casey Manning, sophomore, pitcher and outfielder; Connor McCoy, junior, catcher, utility and pitcher; and Jaykob Sloan, junior, pitcher and infielder.

• TOP NEWCOMERS: Dillon O'Grady, freshman, outfield, pitcher, third baseman.

• OUTLOOK: The Trojans return five solid starters. Look for Auburn's depth at pitcher to fuel the team in league play. "Our weakness is that we're still a young team, and we have some players who have not experienced varsity level pitching or played varsity level defense before," Alastra said. "We have more experience on the mound and more depth."

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RAVENS AT A GLANCE

• COACH: Jon Aarstad, 2nd season

• LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 16-9 overall, 5th place in SPSL North 4A with a 8-7 record. Lost in first round of state playoffs.

• TOP RETURNERS: Austin Marty, senior, shortstop; Justin Jacobs, senior, second baseman; Chris Minteer, senior, right fielder; Tyler Sherwin, senior, pitcher; Joey Galeno, junior, first baseman and pitcher; Daniel Casanova, senior, centerfielder.

• OUTLOOK: Last season the Ravens rode the arm of ace Michael Rucker, who is now playing at Gonzaga University. This year the Ravens will look to senior Sherwin and junior Adam Parke to lead the way on the mound.

The Ravens return a strong core of sluggers in Minteer (.211 with 16 RBIs last season), Galeno (.400, with 17 RBIs and six doubles last season) and Marty (.333 with 21 RBIs last season).

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LIONS AT A GLANCE

• COACH: Glen Walker, 8th season

• LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 13-12 overall, 2nd place in SPSL 3A.

• TOP RETURNERS: 6 returning starters including: Brice McCulloch, senior, catcher, infielder and outfielder; Kekoa Nahaku, senior, outfielder; Matt Anderson, senior, first baseman; Nick Brooks, senior, pitcher and third baseman; Shawn Guinn, senior, pitcher and first baseman; and Joey Cassano, junior, infielder.

• OUTLOOK: "We bring back a solid defensive core of players, and with the addition of our new players we'll again be very good defensively," Walker said. "We have nine seniors on this team, some moving up from junior varsity last year and some returning from the varsity team. We have added many key components to our team, and these new players will fill key roles in keeping us strong defensively. So far this spring we are looking much stronger offensively than we ever have been. We have a good combination of speed and power in our lineup and hope to score a lot of runs this year.

"Our team's success ultimately is going to come down to our ability on the mound," Walker continued. "I believe that pitching will once again be the deciding factor in how we finish this year. We have four or five quality pitchers who have the ability to be very good. If they compete on the hill this year, we will be tough to score runs against."

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