Attention, Delta Valley Conference: the Davis High baseball team is still loaded and is on track to chase its third consecutive DVC title.
With the season opener set for Tuesday at Vacaville, veteran coach Dan Ariola liked what he saw from his Blue Devils in a recent scrimmage with St. Mary’s:
“We had a good scrimmage … I was happy with a lot of things that I saw. We’re coming along nice.”
Five starters return from last year’s championship squad, which won a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff game before being eliminated. DHS’ opening-day lineup features those five — third baseman Trey Golston, shortstop Ryan Kreidler, center fielder John Ariola, reigning DVC MVP Matt Trask on the mound and second baseman Brett Bloomfield — along with Hudson Forrester, who will get the start behind the plate.
Even though the Devils have plenty of returning talent, Ariola expects all of his players to keep improving.
“Everyone needs to get better,” Ariola said. “Everyone needs to work hard, improve and get better every day.
“I expect those five returning starters to provide a lot of leadership. They have a lot of experience,” Ariola added. “They’ve done well in big games — we’ve won two league titles in a row. I expect all of those guys to keep getting better.”
If they improve on last year’s batting averages, Davis’ Big Five will generate a ton of offense. In 2013, Kreidler was at .304, Golston hit .328, Bloomfield was at .338, Ariola hit .341 and Trask finished at .411.
Trask, who recently signed a National Letter of Intent to pitch at UCLA next season, will first head the Blue Devil staff after going 7-2 last season with an ERA under 2.00.
What remains to be seen is the rest of the DHS staff, especially the bullpen with lights-out relievers Adam Inouye and Jake Miille both having graduated.
“That’s a good question,” Ariola said, when asked about his bullpen. “It is to be determined right now; we don’t know. The nice thing about my staff is Matt is my No. 1 pitcher, and then after that I got a bunch of competitive guys: Trey Golston, Brett Bloomfield, Ryan Kreidler, Walter Bolle, Josh Guerrero.
“I’ve got a good group and we’ll figure that out.”
Ariola says that none of his pitchers will be throwing heavy innings early on in the season.
“What I’m going to do early, since the basketball players are just coming out, nobody’s built up to throw a lot of innings yet, even Matt,” Ariola said. “We’re all bringing everyone along slow. So the first couple weeks will be: two innings there, three innings there; we’re gonna mix and match.”
Mix-and-match also will be the model for the final three lineup spots, but Ariola says there is a lot of promising talent for him to choose from.
Nate Curtis, Drew Gnos, Kris Prince, Jeremy Likes and Quentin McCray are among the players who can help the Blue Devils immediately.
Notes: Ariola is back for his 19th year at the helm of DHS. His teams have won two section titles (2000 and ’04). … The Devils will host Lathrop High for a Friday scrimmage.
— Reach Thomas Oide at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterThomas.