Monday marked the first official day of the spring sports season at local high schools.
Athletes who compete in baseball, softball, girls soccer, boys golf and tennis, swimming and track and field came out to get reacquainted with coaches and teammates.
“Everyone is pumped up. We’re all ready for the season,” West High senior Mitch Cowles, a pitcher and utility player for the Wolf Pack baseball team, said Wednesday.
He added that some players had been working out well in advance of Monday, which was the first day teams were allowed under Sac-Joaquin Section rules to bring out bats and balls for practice.
“We all have been in the off-season taking our time, and now when we get done with conditioning, the energy level gets high,” Cowles said.
Senior Devin Bell said he had also been eager to get back into the season.
“I imagine some people are rusty, but I’m practicing every weekend with my grandfather, so I’ve been ready for a while,” Bell said.
West coach Roger Gallardo said he started working with returning players in December and by this week, he had about 40 players, enough for a varsity and junior varsity team. West doesn’t have enough freshmen to field a full team, so the freshmen who tried out will go to the junior varsity team.
“We kind of know who’s going to play varsity and who’s going to try out for varsity,” he said. “We know the young guys we’d like to see on varsity and where they’re going to fit.”
The team ran through its drills on the blacktop between the West High locker rooms and the softball field. Gallardo said that the West baseball diamond was recently reseeded, and he expected the new grass to be healthy enough by next week for the team to start playing there again.
“We’ll make it work. We’re just trying slowly to bring back the atmosphere and look of our field,” he said.
The Wolf Pack will share their field with Jaguars this season while the fields at Kimball High are being rehabbed. Kimball will use West’s field as their home field during some of the Wolf Pack’s away games.
Over at Monte Vista Middle School, the Tracy High baseball teams also navigated around new grass as the field for the Tracy High junior varsity baseball team neared completion. Tracy junior varsity coach Ryan Hern said that just seeing the new diamond was an encouraging start to the season.
“Last year, we played everywhere,” he said, adding that home games could be at West High or Tracy Ball Park.
Hern said the transformation of the new field would take place over the next month as new sod took root and the outfield was leveled out.
“In a month it will be looking good, which is perfect, because in a month is when we start playing,” he said.
At the Tracy Sports Complex, Tracy High softball coach Greg Smith was taking a look at nearly 50 girls who had gone out for softball. He expected to get a few more from the basketball team after it finished the winter season.
“I just look at them catch, throw and run and swing the bat. Then we’ll have an intersquad scrimmage next Monday,” Smith said. “That’s when I decide who tries out for which level, and then we get more specific.”
He said that enough girls came out to fill the rosters at all three levels, with some cuts and some freshmen moving up to the junior varsity or varsity teams.
“There are a lot of freshman pitchers and catchers, too,” he said. “With the freshman girls coming in, we’ll have a good foundation.”
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.