By Kristopher Sarikas |staff writer|
The Coyote baseball team is gearing up and preparing for their season opener against the Albany Panthers on Feb. 1.
The baseball team competes in the western region of division II CCAA and was ranked fifth place of the NCAA at the end of last season.
Our Coyotes have been working hard throughout their off season perfecting their form and improving their production on the field. The team holds practices everyday from 1-2 p.m.
The top teams to beat this year include CSU Chico and UC San Diego ranking in at second and fourth place.
Our Coyotes are scheduled to face the CSU Chico Wildcats on April 5 and the UC San Diego Tritons on April 25.
Head coach Don Parnell took the responsibilities of head coach for the Coyotes in 1995, since then over 30 of his players have gone pro.
Parnell scored his 500th victory last season and has an overall record of 517-527-3 and claimed the conference title in 2002.
Parnell’s assistant coaching staff includes Kurt Stange, Eric Foor, Jim Holden, and Rick Mendieta also contributes to the success of the team.
This seasons team has a large number of new recruits, each one bringing a fresh new perspective to the game.
“This years’ team has around 20 new recruits, we are currently working on placing them in various positions that will most benefit the team,” said Parnell.
According to Parnell strength comes in numbers, Parnell believes this year’s team overall strength stems from their massive amount of potential.
On the other hand, Parnell said, “The overall weakness for this seasons team is that it’s a very young team mostly compiled of freshmen.”
Parnell stated that Yucaipa High School’s star pitcher Tyler Wells has signed a national letter of intent for CSUSB promising his devotion to our program.
Wells played for the Thunderbirds and has an overall record of 18-10 and league record of 12-3.
Wells has a good chance of being drafted to Major League Baseball due to CSUSB’s history with professional baseball.
Furthermore, the Coyotes qualified fifth in the western region last season ranking below West Oregon, CSU Chico, Dixie State and UC San Diego.
The top four teams from each region progress into regionals; however, there is talk among NCAA officials that it will soon be changed to the top six.
According to Parnell if regionals is bumped to the top six teams the coyotes will be appearing in CCAA tournaments more often.
Regardless of whether the league changes the number of teams allowed to the CCAA tournaments, this season our Coyotes will strive for victory as they compete for the top rankings in the Western region.
The Coyotes hold practices and play all their home games at Fiscalini Field in San Bernardino off Highland Ave.
CSUSB students get in free with ID; General admission is $5 and $3 for seniors and children ages 3-12.
Come out and cheer on your fellow Coyotes this Friday at Fiscalini field as they take on the Albany Panthers.