There’s an old axiom in baseball, pitching and defense win championships. As the Colts enter the 2014 season, the team is strong defensively, has a powerful offense, but is still searching for the arms on the mound to propel them to the postseason.
“We’re solid on the mound, but we’re not overpowering,” said Head Coach Tony Lucca. “I believe this is one of the best defensive teams I’ve had at Cañada.”
The team began the season with a three-game sweep of Contra Costa College. Outfielder Kody Barden had four hits and scored five runs in the series while outfielder Maurice Fuller went 7-for-11. The Colts face Chabot College on Friday, Feb. 7 at 2 pm.
The Colts finished the 2013 season with a 16-19 overall record and 12-12 in the Coast Conference-Pacific Division. Lucca expects this year’s division to be extremely competitive. “Our league is tough and anyone can beat anyone on any given day. By the end of the season, I suspect you will see Cabrillo, Cañada, Ohlone and possibly Skyline in the mix to win the title.”
The Colts return their top four hitters from last season, including sophomore first baseman Dylan Cook. He hit .315 as a freshman and Lucca expects more power from Cook as he’s grown in the off season. “He’s probably our best player. He doesn’t strike out a lot and can provide the offense in the middle of our lineup.”
Cook is expected to bat third while sophomore Justin Gubser will hit fourth. He led the team in doubles in 2013 and finished with a .299 batting average. Kyle Zirbes returns to the top of the batting order and provides speed. Zirbes played for the Colts two years ago but redshirted last season.
On the mound, David Moody is the only returning pitcher to throw more than 50 innings last season. He finished with a 5-2 record. Lucca said Sam Alton, a sophomore redshirt who played for City College of San Francisco two years ago, has emerged at the top of the team’s rotation. “He throws 86 to 87 with a good changeup and slider. He keeps the ball down and moves it around the plate,” Lucca said.
Another pitcher that could emerge during the season is Tyler Rios. He’s a left-hander who will spot start and come out of the bullpen regularly.
“We have some quality hitters with power, speed, and the ability to run the bases,” Lucca said. “Our team chemistry is outstanding. I genuinely believe these kids enjoy playing the game together. I expect good things this season.”