The Bulldogs varsity team will already be heavy on returning players, with 11 juniors and two sophomores on this year’s varsity team. Add to that 16 players from this year’s sophomore teams, and it will be tough to decide who to keep on the roster.
“They are hands-down the best JV team I’ve seen,” Hern said. “The varsity is going to be competitive next year. I highly encouraged all 16 players on my roster to try out for the team.”
He concluded his team’s season, where Tracy went 23-1 overall, 14-1 in the San Joaquin Athletic Association, with an awards dinner Thursday where the top players were recognized.
Matt Loscavio was team Most Valuable Player, and Best Hitters were Cody Daniel and Chris Bacchetti. Hern put Loscavio’s batting average at .478 and figures the team as a whole averaged in the high .300s.
Reilly Oki was named Best Pitcher. He went 7-1 for the season, and fellow starters Ryan Black and Kyle Scornaienchi each went undefeated, with five wins for Black and six for Scornaienchi.
Josh Rogers was named Best Defense on a team that averaged 1.2 errors per game, which Hern said is the best collective defense he’s seen on a JV team. Best Teammate awards went to C.J. Perez and Chase Johnson.
Hern said that for his first year as a coach at Tracy High, he was fortunate to get a team that was ready to start winning games from its opening day.
“The team was really well molded already,” he said. “The kids had played together for a number of years, and it really showed.”
“That definitely made my first year easy. They adapted and listened. You told them something and they did it right away.”
Hern said one strategy the Tracy team used was “small ball,” where bunts and strategic hits, along with base running, take priority over big base hits. It can be a tough sell for players and fans, but Hern said it’s a tactic that keeps other teams off-balance.
“Once they see it working, they smile,” he said. “Especially at the JV level, a lot of teams have a hard time playing against small ball. They’re not ready for it.”
The only loss the JV team had was April 14 at Lincoln High. Two days later, Tracy was on its way to the league championship with a 7-6 win over Lincoln.