Douglas High baseball has faced some challenges in the first few games of the season.
Weather has affected everyone and several injuries have the Tigers shuffling lineups for the best fit.
After nine seniors helped lead a 21-win resurgence for Douglas (25-8 in 2022, 4-16 in 2021), a new team is tasked with finding its way into the win column.
There are only three seniors on the squad this season for the Tigers and coach Ryan Gonzalez admits it’s a younger, different team from a season ago.
“Our team is young. It’s a complete different team,” said Gonzalez. “They work hard on the field and in the weight room. We’re young when it comes to the IQ department.”
Through five games this spring, Douglas sits at 2-3 overall after falling 9-6 to Spanish Springs at Peccole Park on Wednesday.
At the top of the pitching rotation will be Keegan Snooks and Kaden McIver.
Snooks was a second team all-region selection last season as a sophomore, posting a 2.44 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 43 innings.
Through 13 2/3 so far in his junior season, Snooks boasts a 1.53 ERA and has 20 strikeouts.
McIver has thrown 10 innings and has struck out 23 of the 38 batters he’s faced. His 0.70 ERA has already added him as the 1-2 punch to the top of the Tigers’ rotation.
“We’ve got a couple guys that are hurt,” said Gonzalez. “Duncan Delange will be a starter and everyone else will be by committee.”
It is Delange’s first time on the varsity lineup and he’s tossed three innings so far.
Keegan Freeman, Gavin Davis, Carter Bleeker and Jackson Ovard have also thrown at least an inning.
Around the diamond
Returning behind the dish will be Jeffrey Peters, who has caught all five of Douglas’ contests this season.
Peters put together an impressive freshman campaign last spring with 17 hits, a homer and nine RBIs. He’s hitting .364 this spring.
On the left side of the infield, Douglas is trying to replace defensive player of the year Gabe Natividad at shortstop. Gavin Davis has gotten four starts at shortstop while Bleeker has been penciled in at third.
Bleeker was an honorable mention all-region selection last season after hitting .341 with seven doubles and 20 RBIs.
“I believe we are a pretty offensive team,” said Gonzalez. “We’ve had enough reps inside that hitting is not our issue. We have to play clean baseball.”
On the right side of the infield, second base has seen split time between Jacob Davis and Jackson Ovard.
“(Ovard) is a multiple position guy. He’s only a sophomore,” Gonzalez said.
First base is another spot that’s had a couple of different suitors through five games.
Keegan Freeman has held the corner spot for the last two games and is hitting .375 so far.
The outfield will be a four-man platoon, per Gonzalez.
“We’re a little bit thin in the outfield compared to other years,” added Gonzalez. “We’ve got a bunch of athletes. There are no seniors in the outfield so I expect leadership from those guys. They can play and they can fly around.”
Aaron Moss, Owen Evans, Sean Lemming and Thomas Young will be the four names out in the grass.
Around the north
Reno High was last year’s regional champion and will remain as the top dog in the Northern 5A until someone can take the Huskies’ spot.
Bishop Manogue and Spanish Springs will be two other teams likely gunning for the Huskies along with Galena and Damonte Ranch.
“I’m going to say we’re going to be in the middle of the pack. We are going to have to earn every victory,” said Gonzalez. “We’re not an elite top team, right now. We’re going to have to prove it.
“We might just have to catch our stride later. I know we will. It’s just a matter of time.”
Douglas will head to Anaheim, California for four games before returning for a non-league game at Galena, March 25.
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