By Frank Smith
The San Manuel Miners varsity baseball program is up and ready for the challenge that the 2013 season will bring on the diamond. The Miners have big expectations ahead of them set by last year’s final four team, which took the playoff tournament by surprise by upsetting several top seeds to advance to the semi-finals.
With that established, San Manuel will longer be a surprise but a contender with a good number of returning players from last year’s team.
At the helm this year will be first year head coach Steve Elmore, along with assistants Freddy Burnham and Richard Ivy. The coaching staff will look to improve on last seasons’ overall record of 12 – 17, a region record of 8 – 9, and a return trip to the state semi-finals.
The Miners only lost two starters from last year in seniors’ third baseman Vincent Valdez and second baseman Alexander Smith. San Manuel will return Seniors Demetrious Dietz – 1B; John Ruiz – SS/2B/P; Andy Monfred – OF; Marty Rodriguez – OF; Jake Torres – 1B; TJ Brown – C/P; and Junior Anthony Garcia – OF/P.
The top newcomers are sophomores Shane Kelly – SS/2B; Jacob Marquez – 3B/P; and Christian Dietz – C.
“The strength of the team will be the returning starters and how much experience they have playing together at the varsity level,” Elmore said. “The team also has good depth at pitcher and in other needed positions.”
A weakness of the team will be making errors in the field and how we react to those errors after they are made.
A goal of the team is to win the Region and return back to the State playoffs.
The Miners have took part in the Florence Tournament, hosted Ray, and were on the road to Hayden on Tuesday and will also be on the road to Globe today with a start time of 4 p.m.