The baseball team is hard at work in preparation for the 2019 season.
After losing seven seniors to graduation, the team is looking for several players to step up into more significant roles this year.
Two players, in particular, had a very successful season last year and made quite the impact, despite only being freshmen.
Sophomore outfielder Cesar Lopez joined the team last season as a walk-on player from Downey and made his mark with 53 hits, three home runs, and a .291 batting average.
He started in 45 of the 47 games he played and had a total of 182 at-bats.
“I did not expect to get the playing time I got last year, but I am happy I got it,” Lopez said. “I’m happy with what I did last year, but I’m still hungry for more. I want more success, more wins, more everything. We want to make it farther in the playoffs and make it to North Carolina for the World Series — that is our goal this year.”
Another sophomore who made a name for himself last year was shortstop Drew Cowley from Upland.
He proved to be a valuable addition to the team, hitting .348 and starting in 51 of 54 games.
Both players received all-CCAA Honorable Mentions for their performances last season.
“Coming into the season as a freshman, you don’t expect to play that much, but getting the amount of playing time we got was awesome and we tried to take full advantage of it,” Cowley said. “I feel like (the team) has definitely made improvements from last year, going into this season.”
This is only the beginning for Cowley and Lopez, as they enter their second season with the Broncos ready to feed off their 2018 success and take on this year’s competition.
“[Lopez and Cowley] had unbelievable success last season. They were both critical members in helping us get that 30-win season that we try to achieve each year,” head coach Randy Betten said. “They are a year older now, a year more mature, and they are going to help propel us forward. I know we always say we have an older team, but yet, we have these two younger players that are impact-type guys who do a good job at developing and understanding their role.”
Both players are excited and anxious for the start of the season, which is only a week away.
The Broncos kick off their season in Colorado, as they take on the UC Colorado Springs on Feb. 1.
“[I’m most excited] for Colorado; it is the first time I will fly with the team and it is supposed to be 30 degrees,” Lopez said. “I’m interested to see how it will play out because I have never played in that weather before. It should be fun.”
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