Gavilan Rams are looking to get back on track after slow
By Leann Shea, Staff Writer
Gilroy – After getting off to a slow start in preseason, the pieces have been falling into place for the Gavilan baseball team. Through their first six non-conference games the Rams had won only a game over West Hills, but then the team started to click.
In its final game of the Sequoias Tournament, a contest against Bakersfield on Feb. 4, Gavilan started a three-game winning streak, “gelling” as a team and making necessary changes to compete in the strong Coast South Conference.
“We started off kind of slow,” said Ram coach Neal Andrade, who is entering his third year of coaching at Gavilan. “We made adjustments quickly and everyone is team-oriented and they have positive attitudes.”
In the offseason, the Rams pitching staff lost its ace, Todd Jimenez, who transferred to UC San Diego, as well as Ben Glines and Brent Marsich, leaving several rotation spots to be filled.
Returning right-handed pitchers Eric Groner and Jeff Harter are being relied upon to step into leading roles.
So far this season, Harter has pitched 35 innings and has a 3.34 ERA with 19 strikeouts. Groner has seen 25 innings of action and has an ERA or 8.28 with 12 strikeouts.
Carlos Garcia, a Gilroy High alum, is a newcomer to the Rams, and, according to Andrade, is a soft-throwing finesse pitcher. Garcia has struggled with his command early, hitting 14 batters this season, but also has 18 strikeouts.
Gavilan (7-10-1, 1-2 CSC) also lost outfielders BJ Collum, who is now starring at Sonoma State, Danny Reyes, who went to Dickinson State, and catcher Brian Bueno, now at Wayland Baptist, in the offseason.
Returning to the outfield for the Rams is Adam Kubo, while Justin Baker retains his position as Gavilan’s third baseman.
“We’re looking for the returning players to keep the program going in the direction we want it to go. They’re going to bring that same kind of attitude this season and they know what it’s like to compete at the college level,” said Andrade.
The Ram have four newcomers anchoring the infield. Seth Hudson, a graduate of San Benito High is taking over the catching duties and fellow Haybaler alum Scott Mead takes over second base for Gavilan. James Molina, who red-shirted due to injury last season, plays first base.
In the outfield, newcomers Efrain Ruiz and Mike Gatz have been swinging solid bats for Gavilan so far. Ruiz has nine RBIs, six doubles and one triple this season, while Gatz has driven in 19 runs, hit three doubles and clubbed two triples.
“The newcomers are pretty much picking up college baseball pretty quick,” said Andrade.
“We want to continue competing our best in conference,” added Gavilan’s coach. “We play in the one of the most competitive conferences–there are a lot of good teams. We just want to be able to compete and continue getting guys to transfer onto four-year schools. We’re going in the right direction. It takes time and hopefully we’ll make Gavilan more attractive to area athletes.”
Last week, the Rams notched their first conference win by defeating Monterey Peninsula, 10-8. Two days later, the Rams lost 4-2 to Ohlone.
Gavilan returns to action tomorrow by hosting De Anza at 2pm.
Upcoming Gavilan Baseball Games
*All home game dates are in bold.
3/16 2pm DeAnza Gilroy
3/18 6pm San Jose City (San Jose)
3/21 2pm Monterey Peninsula (Monterey)
3/23 2pm Mission (Santa Clara)
3/25 12pm Skyline (Gilroy)
3/28 2pm Ohlone (Fremont)
3/30 2pm San Jose City (Gilroy)
2006 Gavilan Rams Baseball Roster
No. Name POS B/T Year
17 Eric Abbott P R/R So.
22 Justin Baker INF R/R So.
26 Shane Christman INF R/R Fr.
18 Brad Davis C R/R Fr.
44 Noel DeLatorre P /R Fr.
8 Drew Eiliopoulos C R/R So.
33 German Espejo INF R/R Fr.
24 Carlos Garcia P R/R Fr.
16 Mike Gatz OF R/R Fr.
35 Eric Gronor P R/R So.
34 Jeff Harter P R/R So.
9 Seth Hudson C L/R Fr.
3 Adam Kubo OF R/R So.
25 Joel Lopez UTL R/R So.
10 Anthony Lucio P R/R Fr.
21 John Maciel INF R/R Fr.
6 Scott Mead INF R/R Fr.
12 Marcus Meier P L/L So.
28 James Molina INF R/R So.
27 Miguel Perez INF R/R Fr.
5 Nick Ramos INF R/R So.
11 Brian Rossi P R/L Fr.
22 Efrain Ruiz INF R/R Fr.
20 Mardy Sustaita OF R/R Fr.
1 Matt Wilkinson OF R/L Fr.