Truckee baseball warming up
The Truckee High baseball team is loaded with potential. The challenge for fourth-year head coach Mike Ellis is harnessing that skill into a postseason run.
“We’re still feeling it out. With the late start we get every year, we’ve just got to get the guys into it. Errors are killing us right now,” said Ellis, whose team has displayed flashes of brilliance but too many moments of defensive futility for the coach’s liking. “We’re booting balls that are routine.”
Part of that stems from a lack of field time, as the Wolverines are still working out in the gym while making several trip a week to Reno to practice on dry land. For now, their home field remains buried in snow, although Ellis is hopeful it will melt before season’s end ” possibly sooner.
“As the season goes on and we see more field time, that should help us, for sure,” said senior utility player and speedster Trevor Allen. “It’s a disadvantage that we have, but I don’t think it will keep us from winning.”
While defense has been the Wolverines’ Achilles’ heel in the early part of the season, Ellis said pitching and hitting seem to be the team’s strengths. Especially pitching, as Truckee boasts a deep staff with five legitimate starters.
“I think we might have the best pitching staff in the league,” Ellis said, naming Keven Sahlberg, the team’s No. 1 starter, Justin Vosburgh, Maclane Brady, Scott Mathot and Michael Taylor as his top hurlers. Brady is the only player who was on varsity last year as a freshman.
Ellis is also impressed with his team’s ability to run the bases. “We’ve got speed,” he said. “I’ve got more speed than I’ve ever had on a team.”
And as the season progresses, the coach expects his players to heat up in all facets of the game.
“Vosburgh is going to have a great year,” he said of his junior cleanup hitter and returning starter. “(Kevin) Decker is one of the best catchers in the NIAA; he’s definitely one of the best blockers, and I think he’ll also have a great year at the plate. Trevor Allen and Pablo Esquivel should also have great years. Both are fast on the bases.”
With all that speed, Ellis likes to play small ball, sending runners whenever the opportunity arises ” pretty much anytime someone reaches base ” and catching teams off guard with squeeze plays and the like. Collectively, however, Truckee does have some pop in its bat. But it’s delivered more in the form of line-drive gappers than deep homers, Ellis said.
“We’re looking rusty right now, but I think we will come together,” said Taylor, a junior infielder who usually bats second in the order. “We’re hoping to go to state. We have a lot of returning starters who did really well last year.”
One of them is Esquivel, a senior outfielder who is optimistic about making a serious run in the 3A.
“The only goal we have is to make state. We don’t really expect anything less,” Esquivel said.
His coach backed him up.
“As soon as we start focusing, it’s lights out. Look out Nevada,” Ellis said.