Westmont baseball swinging for the fences as 2019 season set to begin
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The Westmont baseball team is gearing up for the start of their season with high hopes for another successful year. Last season saw the Warriors finish at 34-18 overall (24-11 GSAC), while ending the year ranked 20th nationally. A second place GSAC finish put the Warriors in good position for the postseason, where they played well in the Conference Tournament and eventually made the National Tournament. The Warrior’s season ended in game four of the NAIA Opening Round Tournament. This year’s team is looking to carry that momentum heading into this year.
When asked about the aspirations and vision they have as a team this year, seniors Sean Coyne and Kyle Soria preached taking each day one-by-one, while also keeping their sights set on their biggest goals. Coyne outlined the team’s approach by saying, “I think the goals for the team are to win GSAC regular and postseason, get to a regional and try to make that first trip to Lewiston, Idaho for the World Series.” Soria also mentioned that trip to Lewiston and added, “Our goal for the year is to do damage one weekend at a time, one game at a time.” These goals seem in-reach for this year’s Warriors as they start the preseason ranked 25th nationally and 2nd in the GSAC.
The two seniors also reflected on their four years in the Westmont baseball program, citing how grateful they are to be putting the jersey for one last season. Soria, who plays catcher for the team, says being a part of the program these last four years has been “the biggest blessing in my life.” He added, “My mindset is to just soak up all the good and bad this season and have a blast with my boys.”
The team is focused on utilizing their mix of experienced upperclassmen and talented newcomers to put them over the top this year. Coyne, who has started games at pitcher for the Warriors since his freshman year, is confident in this year’s squad explaining, “I think one of the biggest strengths of our team is our depth. We have a ton of 3-4 year guys who are going to play big roles this year. But we also have a ton of younger guys who have definitely given themselves a shot to play some pivotal roles as the season goes on.”
Key returners from last year’s team include reigning all-GSAC players Luke Coffey (3B), Grant Gardner (SP) and Tyler Roper (C). Coffey was also named to the GSAC Gold Glove team for his stellar defense at third base.
Mixing new players with returners is never an easy task, and the players and coaches realize how important it is to build chemistry starting in offseason workouts; all the way until the very end of the season. Soria understands how important chemistry is to getting wins and says that the team relies a lot on chemistry to, “translate into success on the field.”
The 2019 season kicks off with a home game on Friday, February 1st against Corban University. The contest begins at 11 a.m., and is followed up the next day with another game versus Corban University.