(SUN PHOTO/ William Thompson) Rattler Matt Braziel warms up with teammates as the Rattlers prepare for the 2005 season. The Tucumcari Invite starts the season off March 18-19.
It’s almost time to break out the hot dogs and the windbreakers.
The Tucumcari High School baseball team began workouts Feb. 1 and Head Coach Tony Alarcon said he’s happy 31 players have turned out.
“We have enough for a 15-member varsity team and a JV team,” Alarcon said. “We won’t know who the best hitters are going to be until after our first tournament March 18.”
Alarcon was the Rattler head coach for five years until two years ago. He spent the last two years on National Guard assignment at Cannon Air Force Base.
Now, Alarcon is back, and last year’s head coach who took the team to the state tournament, Mike Russell is this year’s assistant coach. He said there is no problem coming back to an assistant’s role.
“Tony (Alarcon) and I have worked together for years,” Russell said. “We both want to see this team be a better team than it was last year.”
Alarcon said last year’s state tournament trip will help this year’s team.
“What this team did last year is a tremendous thing,” Alarcon said. “The guys who went to state last year will have the ambition to return there again.”
Alarcon and Russell said they like how many skilled freshman players are trying out for the team.
They are also excited about starting pitchers that will be returning.
“John Sewell and Matt Braziel will be pitching for us,” Alarcon said. “Also Drew White, Eric Holt and Jonathan Reno will pitch.”
Alarcon said Matt Garcia should see more time in the outfield this year along with Dustin Russell, and newcomers Andre DeBord, D.J. Martinez, and Andrez Apodaca.
The team has been working on hitting and fielding fundamentals daily since workouts began.
“We’ve also been doing a lot of conditioning and base running drills, “Alarcon said.
As for a repeat trip to the state tournament, Alarcon said it depends on a “one game at a time” philosophy.