West Valley Preps asked Surprise area coaches to take a look at their teams.
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WEST VALLEY PREPS
West Valley Preps' Surprise baseball preview
(Courtesy Dysart Schools)
Dysart sophomore Nate Morales Leyva turns to try to throw for for a double play during a March 25, 2022, home game against Paradise Honors. Panthers junior infielder Brady Moser slides into second. Both players return this season.
Feb. 23 marked the beginning of the high school baseball regular season, though most of that week’s games were in preseason tournaments.
West Valley Preps asked Surprise area coaches to take a look at their teams:
4A Black Canyon Region Coach: Kevin Carleton (second year as Dysart coach) 2022 Record: 4-14-1 overall, 3-14 regular season Who are your top returning players? Juniors Nate Morales Leyva, Ian Anderson and Easton Carleton What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Entering the season their best attribute is they like being around each other. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to improve on is our defense.
Who are your team leaders? The team leaders are senior Tyler Giacoletti-Moody, Nate Morales and Easton Carleton Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Isaiah Roman and Avion Bailey. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We need to stay healthy and compete in every game. Those are our goals for the 2023 season.
Highland Prep Honey Badgers
2A Central Region Coach: Jennifer Rodda (second year as Highland Prep coach)
2022 Record: 4-8 overall, 3-14 regular season Who are your top returning players? Brandon Nevers, Micah Rodda, Dalton Pendleton, Ethen Reish What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have an experienced team coming back together. We have a large roster and the guys all push each other to be better. What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to get our bats hitting. Who are your team leaders? Seniors Brandon Nevers and Micah Rodda, sophomore Estevan Corella and freshman Elijah Rodda. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Freshman Elijah Rodda is making an impact already, getting an RBI in his first game and making a diving stop at shortstop. Junior Christian Avery has also made an impact, coming in as a relief pitcher and getting 4Ks, as well as a hit. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? Our goal is to reach the tournament. To do this the team needs to get their bats going, as well as increase their intensity on defense.
Paradise Honors Panthers
4A Skyline Region Coach: James Lofton (third year as head coach) 2022 Record: 9-13 overall, 7-12 regular season Who are your top returning players? Michael Nicolini, OF/LHP sophomore. Michael is a gap to gap hitter who plays everywhere in the outfield. He is a standout who has a bright future ahead of him. Brady Moser SS/RHP senior. Brady is our starting shortstop who provides great leadership to the team. We expect him to be our sparkplug this year. Brennan Hansen OF/LHP junior. Brennan is our lead off guy who brings consistency and solid base running to our lineup. Travis Albert RHP senior. Travis will be one of our starters every week and will contribute many innings this season Damien Mercado OF/RHP senior. Damien will play the outfield, come in to pitch in relief and bring veteran leadership to the team. Rylon Tober, 1B senior. Rylon will be our DH/1B and will bring power production on a consistent basis to our lineup. What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Hitting and base stealing Who are your team leaders? Brady Moser and Damien Mercado. Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Tucker Klingshei 1B sophomore. Tucker is our up and coming middle of the lineup hitter. Kade Ashton 2B sophomore. Kade is another up and coming player who will one day take over the lead off role. He may take over SS if he continues to work hard. What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We need to play our game and play solid defense. If we focus on that we have no doubt about making the playoffs.
Richard Smith Associate Editor | Surprise and West Valley Preps @rsmithYWV
Richard Smith has been with Independent Newsmedia since 2016, and worked at a Sun City-based news outfit covering the Northwest Valley for 22 consecutive years.
An NAU alum and lifelong Arizona resident, Richard began as a copy editor and page designer at Surprise Today and the Daily News-Sun, then rekindled his love of sports writing by taking the reins on West Valley Preps in 2008.
For most of the mid-2010s he was the Surprise editor and West Valley Preps reporter. Now he’s the West Valley Preps Editor and Surprise Associate Editor.
As COVID restrictions slowly lift, Richard is cautiously optimistic he will visit book stores, football fields and gyms again this fall.