COACH: Brad Deal (3rd season)
LAST YEAR: 13-10 overall, 8-6 in Class 4A Tri-Valley Conference; Lost to Mountain View 7-5 and Montrose 8-4 in the Final 8 of the Class 4A state tournament.
KEY PLAYERS: Trevor Knott, sr., DH; Patrick Fisher, sr., 2B; Stephen Wheeler, sr., 3B; Garrett Hammond, sr., LHP-OF; Brandon Deering, sr., RF; David Watson, sr., 1B; Greg Medina, sr., RHP-C
DID YOU KNOW? The Wizards have identical 13-10 overall records and 8-6 league records in Brad Deal’s first two seasons as head coach.
DEAL’S COMMENTS: “All of our pitchers are back, and I think pitching will be our strength. When you go through a double-elimination tournament you’ve got to have pitchers, and I feel like we probably have five quality high school kids. The (players) are hard-working kids. They love to practice. They love to be on the field. They’re just baseball kids. Sometimes you get athletes. Sometimes you’re lucky and you get baseball kids. Those kids that play football and basketball, they commit to baseball year-round, and the other sports. It’s pretty amazing. I love kids in Windsor. They’re great kids. Every day we want to get a little better and see what happens at the end of the year. You look at last year and two of our (Tri-Valley) teams (Windsor and Northridge) went to the final eight, and Erie got beat in extra inning or they would have been in the final eight. That’s three of our league teams almost in the final eight last year. We’ve got some big, strong, athletic kids that can bang it around the park pretty good. As a program, we always pitch and play defense first. That’s what we do. As soon as we lost last year, I was ready to get going again. Our kids have worked out harder and they have put more time in the offseason. I think they’re just hungry to play baseball now, and they’re excited about the potential that we could have.”
SEASON OUTLOOK: Eight starters back from last year’s state-qualifying team could mark a third straight Elite 8 state playoff berth for the Wizards. The Wizards have five pitchers — three left-handers and two right-handers — who will lead the way on the mound. Brad Deal took over a program that went 6-12 in 2011, and the Wizards have shown the rest of the state that they’re for real his first two seasons at the helm. With seven of last year’s starters now seniors who have experienced back-to-back two-and-outs in the state tourney in 2012-13, look for this group to finally crack through and win some games at state at the end of May.
— T.M. Fasano