SALINAS VALLEY — As winter sports come to an end, it’s now time for high school teams to break out the bats and gloves as baseball and softball season kicks off in South Monterey County.
One of the biggest problems early on is that spring sports may face the unpredictability of the weather, which has already rained out a couple of games to start the 2023 season.
King City Mustangs
After last year’s disappointing season, the King City Mustangs are looking to bounce back as they will be in the Mission Division this time.
So far, the Mustangs have already played two baseball games against Coalinga and the Greenfield Bruins.
In the first game of the year, they were able to beat Coalinga 8-5. Ian Slama and Gerardo Rangel each drove in two RBIs. Octavio Contreras was able to get the win and Bryce Blair picked up the save.
In the second match against the Bruins, their South County rival, King City didn’t have as much luck. The Mustangs fell 14-0.
In softball, the Lady Mustangs’ season will get underway later this week against North Salinas on Friday at home, followed by two games on Saturday at Ann Sobrato in Morgan Hill and at Piedmont Hills in San Jose.
Coming into this season, the Greenfield Bruins are the favorites to win the Cypress Division. One of the main reasons for that is because of returning Pitcher of the Year Manny Gutierrez.
In their first game of the season against King City, the Bruins were able to pick up the win 14-0.
In softball, the Lady Bruins — who won the Santa Lucia Division last season — got rewarded by being moved up to the Mission Division.
The Lady Bruins will have to use this preseason to figure out their identity after losing a couple of key pieces from last year’s team.
To start the season, they faced the Alisal Trojans. The Lady Bruins had a rough one in their first game, and lost 11-1.
For the first time, the Soledad Aztecs baseball team will be in the Gabilan Division this year. The good news for the Aztecs is they have everyone but one starter from last year’s team returning.
Like most teams, the Aztecs’ success will be determined on how good their pitching is. Fans already know they will have the best pitcher in Eric Segura, but the success of their number two and three will determine this season’s outcome.
In the first game of the season, Soledad faced off against Soquel, winning 8-2. All-league third baseman Dominic Chavez had two hits with two RBIs, while Vidal Perez got his first win of the season and Andrew Nichols came on for four innings of relief.
In softball, the Lady Aztecs’ season will begin Wednesday at Pajaro Valley, followed by a Friday home game against St. Francis.
In the Cypress Division, the Gonzales Spartans have started the baseball season with a 1-2 record. The Spartans lost their first two games against Alisal by a score of 2-1 and Everett Alvarez, 11-2.
Gonzales came back to win their third game of the season against North Monterey County, 5-2. They next will play away games at North Salinas on Wednesday and at Seaside next Tuesday.
Anyone looking for a dark horse in the Mission Division this year should keep their eyes on the Lady Spartans. They are returning with two of the top players not just in the Pacific Coast Athletic League, but also in the CCS — Celeste Camarena and Alex Guerrero.
One of the questions that might hold back the Lady Spartans is their lack of depth around those star players.
To begin the season, the Lady Spartans faced off against North Monterey County, one of the top teams in the PCAL. They ended up falling to NMC in their first game of the year, 14-2.