Baseball season begins this week for BulldogsBy Bruce Whetten
Baseball season begins this week for the Douglas Bulldogs.
The Dogs will play today through Saturday at the Laveen Invitational in Phoenix taking on teams from North High School, Carl Hayden, Campo Verde and Buckeye.
Next week Douglas will be at the Amphi Invitational taking on Santa Rita, Amphi and Riverside, Ca.
The Bulldogs have qualified for state the last five years in a row and last year won the first round game before dropping two in a row including a 3-2 nine inning heartbreaker to Sunrise Mountain. The Bulldogs ended the year 22-8.
Douglas’ baseball coach Gilbert Rojas said he only has three returning players back from last year’s team, Grant Watkins, Fernando Rojas and Blaze Rose.
The coach added he has several players coming up from the junior varsity that saw considerable playing time at the varsity level.
The Bulldogs scrimmaged the Valley Union Blue Devils Saturday in Elfrida.
Bulldog baseball coach Gilbert Rojas said all in all the scrimmage went well.
“We saw a lot of positive things,” the coach said. “The pitchers threw strikes and we put the ball in play.”
Considering the number of players gone from last year’s team Rojas is describing this year as a rebuilding year.
“This team is completely different from last year’s team,” he said. “Last year’s team was mostly seniors; this is a mixture of juniors, sophomores and a few seniors. We’re going to be positive, competitive and try to make the playoffs this year. That’s the goal.”
On the hill this year Rojas expects to throw Watkins, his son Fernando, Rose, Kirt Cormier, Brian Lomeli, Ozzy Aleman, Roberto Velasquez and Marcus Gonzalez.
Catching is a three way battle right now between Nick Ortega, Francisco Romo and Cormier.
Rojas said Lomeli will be seeing considerable playing time at first base; second base will be shared between Cormier and Leo Montano; Rose will be at shortstop and Watkins at third base.
In the outfield there will be Fernando, Ozzy Moreno and Ozzy Aleman as well as Fernando Chacon.
Defensively the coach said he’s pleased by what he’s seeing.
“We seem to have a lot more speed and quickness than what we had last year,” he said.
Offensively the coach said the next two tournaments will show a lot when his team faces some much better pitchers.
“We’re hoping to put the ball in play and move around the bases,” he said.
The Bulldogs will play Nogales, Pueblo, Willcox, Sahuaro, Desert View, Tombstone, Bisbee, Buena and Cienega.
Rojas said the schedule is such that all his team can do and play the teams on it but with the power point system being the way it is that may still not be enough as previous teams have experienced in other sports in other towns.
Rojas said he and his players are anxious for the season to start and start playing somebody else.
The Bulldogs home opener will be March 7 against Pueblo followed by another home game March 8 against Willcox.