|Written by Brian Bergner|
|Thursday, 24 February 2011 00:00|
Under the new direction of first-year Head Coach Kent Winslow, the 2011 Mingus Union High School baseball season is sure to be exciting.
Despite losing seven seniors to graduation including All-Region and All-State nominees Hunter Zwart and Shaun McCarty, the Marauders are looking for good things to happen this spring.
“We’re not going to do anything different than years past; the goals are the same. When I was at Prescott High School I was always impressed with how these guys went about their business. I think we’ll continue that,” Winslow said.
Mingus finished the 2010 regular season ranked No. 3 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association power point polls and was 22-8 overall.
The Marauders made it past No. 14 Seton Catholic High School in the first round of the 4A-II conference state playoffs but ran into No. 6 Liberty High School in round two, losing a close one, 7-6. Liberty eventually went on to win the state title.
Mingus has plenty left over in the talent pool to make a case for another 4A-II Grand Canyon Region Championship this season, and even a run in the state playoffs.
Top returners include seniors Ronald Morones, Cruz Chavez, Carson Sandoval and Mike Newhall.
Morones should start at second base this season while Chavez splits time in the outfield and at short stop. Sandoval is still recovering from his arm injury, which he suffered during football season, and should be in the outfield.
As for Newhall, he could find himself in the starting rotation and playing third base.
Junior Carlos Abrigo returns looking to pitch and play shortstop this season while junior Evan McFarland finds himself behind home plate calling pitches.
Senior Matt Chavez returns and should see time in left field and out of the bull pen while senior banger Todd Scalf should be at first base.
“These guys are learning what I’m about, and I’m learning what they’re about. It’s been a great first few weeks and the returning coaching staff has really helped me out,” Winslow said.
A few years back the Verde Valley Little League All-Stars sent a Majors team to the Arizona State Championship game, only to fall short.
The two standout performers from Ron Bright’s squad are now wearing Mingus uniforms in freshman Marshal Shill and sophomore Ulysses Islava.
“I like what I see out of these young boys; they really know how to play the game,” Winslow said.
Shill, despite being a freshman, looks like a grown-up and could challenge for a starting spot on the mound this season.
As for Islava, he could see plenty of time at the hot corner this season for the Marauders according to Winslow.
Winslow also hired Bright to coach the freshman team this season and retained previous Head Coach Bob Young. Young will be the pitching coach this season.
If the Marauders can find their groove at the plate and keep teams from scoring runs defensively, there’s no reason Mingus fans won’t see their boys in white and red making a deep run into the state playoffs.