Finally. It’s finally baseball season. Tis the season of sunshine, Spring Training, and the sport known as “America’s pastime”. The El Diamante Miners are bouncing off a rollercoaster 2017 season to say the least. The Miners finished last year with an overall record of 15-12, going 7-5 in league play. Very basic, and somewhat misleading. Sprinkled throughout the spring were some signature wins and some pretty embarrassing losses. Among the most notable of wins, was when the Miners knocked off Redwood who, at the time, had lost one game all season. However, 2017 was littered with a lot of big losses in games that the Miners simply should have won.
Out of the 5 league losses the Miners had all season, 4 of them came against teams that finished with a record that was below .500, including being swept by the Hanford Bullpups. The issue of playing down to their competition is what plagued their season from the very beginning. It bit them in the butt in almost every phase of the year: league games, tournament games, pre season games, and ultimately playoffs. The story of their 2017 season was very simple; they could beat anybody, and they can lose to anybody. Buth with 2017 being nothing but a memory, everyone is focused in on the long season ahead.
What’s happened so far and what to expect:
We are two games in to the 2018 season and they have been ugly to say the least. As of Wednesday night, the Miners have face planted out of the gates with an 0-2 record (they will play at home against Memorial on Thursday, and at Clovis North on Friday). What’s gone wrong, you ask? Well, quite frankly, the same as last year. So far, the Miners have lost a pair of nail-biters to Clovis East and Sunnyside. Two very beatable teams. For whatever reason, the Miners have not been able to swing the bats for the first week of the year, which is resulting in little-to-no room for error for their pitching. Their defense has also been terrible, as they’ve tallied a total of 6 errors in two games. Needless to say, their play doesn’t resemble the type of team they really are. Unlike last year, this isn’t a lineup that’s top-heavy with seniors, so it’s not like this is the Miners last chance to make a name for the program. The program has a lot of talent at all levels. A prime example is freshman Cole Yoshida. Yoshida was a guy that made a name for himself as a defensive wizard throughout the summer and fall. So much that Head Coach Jake Kiser couldn’t help himself but let Yoshida try and compete at the varsity level, which is exactly what Yoshida has done. There isn’t a play the kid can’t make, and it’s earned him the right to be the Miners’ shortstop as a freshman.
However, Cole is just one of many puzzle pieces of potential the Miners have for this year. Even with the rough start, every man on the roster still believes that they have a real shot to not only contend for, but to win a valley title. All of the returners want vengeance for the heartache they went through a year ago when the Miners were stunned by the 14th seeded Edison Tigers to knock them out of the playoffs. The loss to Edison put a foul taste in our mouths that lasted the entire summer and all throughout the fall. Although it was a great opportunity to learn from, this is it. This is the last year for the seniors, including myself, to capture that very elusive piece of jewelry which includes a cool hat and a massive dogpile once the final out is recorded. However, pressure like that is something these boys love to embrace. They have no problem seeing themselves as the underdogs, even though a lot of teams know what they’re capable of.
A lot of people on and of campus are eager to see how El Diamante responds after a rough opening week. Although, it’s still very early, the Miners know they have to play better. And the good news is they’re more than capable of it.