COACH: Brad Deal (2nd season)
LAST YEAR: 13-10 overall, 8-6 in Class 4A Tri-Valley Conference; Lost to Air Academy 10-1 and Canon City 6-1 in the Final 8 of the Class 4A state tournament.
KEY PLAYERS: Lance Cox, sr., SS (.373 BA, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 20 runs, 28 hits, .448 OBP); Mitchell Winner, sr., C (.269 BA, 12 runs, 6 RBI); Duncan Goodrich, sr., CF (.259 BA, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 10 runs, 5 doubles); Patrick Fisher, jr., 2B (.261 BA, 4 RBI); Trevor Knott, jr., 3B-RHP (.333 BA, 1 HR 13 RBI, 6 doubles, 10 runs); Garrett Hammond, jr., LHP (3-2, 1.97 ERA, 3 saves, 28 Ks, 21.1 IP); David Watson, jr., 1B (.463 BA, 15 RBI, 11 runs, 5 doubles, 2 triples, .560 OBP, .683 SLG).
DID YOU KNOW? Not only are the Wizards coming off a successful prep season in spring 2012, but they also went 30-12 in Legion B play last summer.
DEAL’S COMMENTS: “The secret (last year) was good kids that played hard, and they were good players. They’re fun kids to work with. They’re hard-working kids. We have high hopes, and we’ve been working real hard. We hope that pays off. We go all summer, all fall and all winter. Guys not in another sport have been playing baseball all year round. Everybody else does it. We have good team chemistry, and they play team baseball. One thing we need is we need more kids in our program. We only have three seniors. The thing that was nice is we played fall baseball, and had 31 kids play fall baseball. Our offseason workouts were well attended. Our January and February offseason hitting stuff was well attended. The pitching piece, I feel, is going to be pretty good. Our defense is pretty much all back from last year. I think the offensive piece should be there, too. Every day we come to the park it’s something new, and it’s a lot of fun for all the coaches and the kids. (Expectations are) that every day we get better. If we take care of that every single day stuff, hopefully at the end of the year our record will take care of itself.”
SEASON OUTLOOK: With seven starters back from last year’s team, the Wizards should be in contention for a second straight state playoff berth. Deal said the Wizards have five or six pitchers who can compete with anybody. Deal said if the Wizards make it to state again, they’ll know what to expect and not just be satisfied to make it there. This is a program on the rise with a head coach who understands that to be successful his players have to play in the offseason. The Wizards won’t surprise people this spring. Deal, who inherited a program that went 6-12 in 2011, definitely has his program on everybody’s radar.
— T.M. Fasano