(SUN PHOTO/William Thompson) San Jon’s Richard Vazquez, front, and Trey Rusk warm up at the Coyotes’ baseball practice Thursday. San Jon begins the season March 17 with a home game against Floyd.
The San Jon High School baseball team began practice Monday and Head Coach Waymond Ragland is brimming with optimism.
All the players from last year’s are back to give Ragland 20 players to work with. He said he expects much from three talented seniors.
“Jason Bell, Trey Rusk and Jared Archuleta are capable of playing any position,” Ragland said. “I expect one of these three to win the most steals award in the district and one of them should win the golden glove award.”
Last year’s team lost in district tournament play to Estancia. Ragland said he expects more from the team this year.
“We have the tools to do well,” he said. “It won’t be the kids’ fault if we don’t go to the state tournament. The kids are really excited and that’s making it easier to coach them.”
The Coyotes’ strength is their hitting, according to Ragland. Last year they hit a little over .300 as a team, and to Ragland good hitting is the key to winning.
“This year I expect our hitting to be even better,” Ragland said. “It’s still too early to know who will be in the starting lineup. We’ve only been able to practice four days because our basketball team played late into the season.”
The Coyotes are blessed with five returning pitchers, Jason Bell, Will McEntire, Richard Vazquez, Jonathan Brashear and Tyler Adams.
Two girls, Rana Gibson and Janay Brashear are on the team. Ragland said the boys and the girls get along fine and the girls will likely see playing time.
Ragland said Texico and Grady will be especially tough opponents but he is not selling his team short.
“I’ll be disappointed if we don’t do something big this year.”