Pahrump Valley baseball coach Brian Hayes has a problem.
“We’re pretty much two deep everywhere,” said the sixth-year coach. “I think the hardest thing this year is going to be the egos. Honestly, we have a lot of guys on our team who probably would be starting on almost every other team but not on this team.
“It’s just a matter of how they handle it. Last year we had a lot of younger guys, so hopefully this year they will be more mature.”
Make no mistake about it: the Trojans are loaded. The team that steamrolled through the Sunset League undefeated only to come up short in the postseason is primed to make a serious run at a state title.
“I think we look pretty good,” Hayes said. “We have seven seniors returning, we have a pretty strong junior and sophomore class, and we have some good competition for some spots.”
Start with senior Garrett Lucas. The 2017 Sunset League MVP and first-team Class 3A all-Southern Region pick went 6-2 with a 1.63 ERA and hit .372 with 28 RBIs. Senior Bradda Costa, a second-team all-league pick, is the No. 2 starter after going 3-3 with a 2.26 ERA last season.
Junior Willie Lucas, a second-team all-region catcher (.359 BA, 26 RBIs), also won four games as a sophomore, and Hayes expects sophomore Cyle Havel (.313, 18 RBIs; 2-1, 3.37 ERA), a second-team all-league pick who can play first or third, to get more innings on the mound than he did as a freshman.
Hayes noted there are more arms available in Dylan Grossell, Joey Koenig and newcomer Jalen Denton, a freshman who moved from New Mexico and is making a push in the outfield as well. “We can let him play on JV as a pitcher and get him some innings down there,” Hayes said.
Sophomore Chase McDaniel “makes all the plays at short,” said Hayes, and senior left fielder Anthony Charles has been hitting well during the preseason. Junior Tyler Floyd or sophomore Rayder Maestas will start at third. Hayes said the 6-foot-4 Maestas is also the hardest thrower on the team.
“We should be pretty strong in the middle of the order,” Hayes said. “We don’t really have a bona fide leadoff hitter, but I think two through nine we pretty much know what we’re going to do.
“We’re pretty stacked.”
Opposing teams are well aware of that fact, something Hayes said will keep things interesting.
“Pahrump really hasn’t been in position where we’re the top dogs,” he said. “And this year it’s going to be how do we handle that. Because as the top dog, we’re going to get everybody’s No. 1 pitcher. We saw a little of that last year.
“Now, when Pahrump comes into town, they’re either going to come after us or throw in the towel. And most of the time they’re going to come after us, and I think that makes us better.”
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