By Rebecca VanGorder
After finishing fourth in the RMAC last season, the ThunderWolf baseball head coach said he is confident in his team this year.
“I think we’ll contend OK in the RMAC and be a factor and we can do some damage,” Head Coach Stan Sanchez, said.
Players to keep an eye on, according to Sanchez, include third baseman Chris Devery and center fielder Zach Hoffman. Both Devery and Hoffman were named to the Preseason All-RMAC team.
Ambrose Romero, who Sanchez said is “a returning player who’s a solid catcher,” is also one to watch according to Sanchez. In 2017, Romero threw out 13 baserunners. Junior Gilbert Sauceda is the team’s returning first baseman. Sauceda recorded a .992 fielding percentage last season.
Second baseman Jake Boyd and shortstop Jordyn Compehos round out what Sanchez calls a “pretty solid infield group.”
The Thunderwolves have a variety of outfield options to join Hoffman. Dakota Popham, a left fielder who also plays a little third base, and right fielder Mason Krueger are two veteran outfielders expected to be in many lineups.
Sanchez also mentioned freshman right fielder Mason Telander and junior center fielder Billy Reyes. Reyes has hit .417 in the first five games of 2018. Sanchez said Reyes “will do some great things for us,” .
The Thunderwolves pitching rotation includes two transfers, Chris Douglas from Phoenix College and Timmy Burtzloff from Southern Nevada.
In their debuts for the Pack, Douglas had 53 strikes on 79 pitches and Burtzloff held West Texas A&M to just three runs in the Pack’s first win.
Opponents to watch out for this season are Colorado Mesa who Coach Sanchez said is, “a strong, strong ballclub in the RMAC.” Colorado Mesa won the RMAC Championship and Tournament Championship in 2017.
Regis, who also participated in the RMAC Tournament in 2017, “has gotten better,” according to Sanchez, as has Metro State. Sanchez said UCCS is also becoming a challenging opponent on the field and Colorado School of Mines, a “pretty solid” club is also one to watch according to Sanchez.
“It’s a challenge, but we’re looking forward to it. We like playing competitive baseball and I think we’ll be extremely competitive,” Coach Sanchez said.
Playing against nationally ranked West Texas A&M, Coach Sanchez said, “there was a good fanbase here last week. With our website and Facebook [fans] will stay well connected to our team.”