As the latest baseball season cranks up its engines there’s the tendency to imagine that it will be all Vela, all the time. And it is true that the SaberCats, coming off a very successful season, have loads of talent on hand. But the rest of the gang in town will be ready to go to war with Vela, and each other.
ECON suffered a letdown last year after the breakthrough to the playoffs of 2017, but promising youngsters such as Leeroy Montano and Devin Salinas hope to form the backbone of a run by Coach Rigo Sanchez and the Jags, who slipped to 4-10 in league play last year.
Over at NORTH, second-year man Rick Valdez returns one of the Valley’s flashiest talents, outfielder Argelio Guajardo, along with strong arms in Jacob Alvarado and Mike Anzaldua, to go with infielders Jonathan Almeida and Carlos Acosta. Catcher Robert Flores returns for a Cougar nine that was fun to watch and full of tricks a year ago. North went 9-5 in district last year, dropping out of the playoffs after a 3-game series loss to Los Fresnos.
This season’s EHS bunch has some proven commodities such as sweet-swinging infielder E.J. Alanis and excellent sophomore catcher Jorge Salinas and Coach Robert Valdez will look to get production from a host of part-timers from 2018. Among them are outfielder Jaden Garza and infielder Manny Cantu while senior IF-P Johnathan Gonzalez is expected to contribute.
Then there is the Vela group, which won 29 times in 2018, including a sterling 13-1 mark in 31-6A, and advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 by beating three playoff foes before running into SA Churchill in the Rare Air.
The return engagement will be minus star Aaron Galvan, who by the way is off to a nice start as a freshman at UT Rio Grande Valley. But the latest crew is salty, led by stylish senior OF-P Nico Rodriguez and powerful senior shortstop Ramsey Amador. Catcher Jaime Perez Jr. heads into his sophomore season playing for his pop, Coach Jaime Perez, and is already a key member of the drive, as is mammoth first sacker Eric Martinez, who gave the squad a potent season as a junior.
The wealth of riches on Canton continues with outfielder Jonathan Navarro, pitcher Marc Esquivel and a healthy group of other kids hoping to break into the lineup. The Sabes began their defense of the title with a shutout win over Roma at home Monday, and competed at the Border Olympics in Laredo over the weekend. North and EHS were also at that tourney while the Jags were working down southeast at the Port Isabel/Los Fresnos event.
The Sabes stand 4-1 after the tourney while North, which dropped its first four by a combined score of 33-4, rebounded Saturday to win, 8-2 over Edcouch-Elsa. EHS (2-4) ended with a victory while Econ, after two losses, drubbed Donna, 10-5 Saturday.