If pitching and defense win championships as Meadowdale baseball coach Bill Hummel believes, then the Mavericks should be a strong contender in 2014.
Meadowdale brings back all three of its starting pitchers and most of its defense from a team that advanced to the Class 3A state quarterfinals. Two all-league players are gone but just about everyone else is back.
Junior Elliot Reece and seniors Moises Valadez and Matt Hill give the Mavericks a strong rotation.
All three saw plenty of action with Reece eventually emerging as the No. 1 starter last year.
“That may be true going into the season,” Hummel said. “We’ll see how it all works out.”
The defense is anchored by returning second-team, all-league junior shortstop Kenley Ackerman. Also back are third baseman Phil Thomas and first baseman Garrett Walsh.
Three players are vying for catcher – Phillip Grossenbacher, Parker Coffey and Alex Thompson.
“The position is open for competition,” Hummel said.
As the season starts, Hummel still is unsure of how the Maverick offense is going to develop.
The two departed seniors from last year – Brian Marty and Tyler McGuire – were among the team’s better hitters.
“We’re looking for a leadoff hitter,” Hummel said. “Offense for us, I think, remains a question mark. Team defense we’re going to be very solid. One thing we always say is that pitching and defense wins champions. “Offense, it’s always a work in progress.”
With a roster largely comprised of seniors and juniors, Meadowdale should have a good opportunity to move up in the Wesco 3A standings. The Mavericks finished just below .500 in league and overall play (8-9, 10-11). At one point in the regular season, Meadowdale lost seven straight league contests. It wasn’t as if the Mavericks were getting blown out. They just weren’t doing enough to win the close games.
Meadowdale advanced to the district title game, losing to Ferndale, and then won a game at state and were tied 2-2 in the fifth inning against Mount Si before losing.