Ron Scott is back for his 27th season as the Fresno City College baseball coach. But unlike most of those prior campaigns, goals will be less grand and more day-to-day.
“Try to get better every game,” said Scott, 887-326 heading into a 6 p.m. opener Friday at Sacramento City. “What we really want to do is get the kids that don’t want to fail and get them together and play and be the very best we possibly can be at the end of the year. I know it sounds like we say that all the time, but we don’t necessarily do that all the time.”
The Rams can still dream big. They are No. 6 in the NorCal preseason poll; Sacramento City is No. 9. And the state final four will be hosted for a third straight year by the school in May.
Sophomore right-hander Connor Brogdon (9-4, 1.57 ERA in 2014) gets the start Friday. Preseason NorCal All-America right-hander Jorge Alvarado (7-2, 2.09), another sophomore, goes in game 2 Saturday.
“Solid pitchers,” Scott said, “worked really hard in the offseason. Very consistent guys and I think our strength is our pitching.”
Alvarado is looking forward to getting the season started. The Rams are coming off a 23-16 season and a 17-7 second-place finish in the Central Valley Conference.
“Should be a pretty good season,” Alvarado said. “Hopefully a lot better than last year. We have a lot of tough guys this year.”
Rams center fielder Daniel Gardner agrees, saying the Rams “have a little chip on our shoulder, and we’re ready to go.”
“Have Sac City …,” he said, “it’ll be a good test for us. There will be a lot of pitching (and) defense this year. We have a good rotation.”
Scott said he likes how his set of infielders is shaping up, even though the team will be without sophomore shortstop Scott Silva for the weekend after minor labrum surgery.
Freshman Christian Funk will start in his place, pairing with sophomore second baseman Zak Taylor.
“I believe (Silva) and Zak Taylor are the two best middle infielders we’ve ever had here, defensively,” Scott said. “I think when Scotty gets back we’ll settle in where we belong. We’re going to play out (combinations) early, but I think our depth is good. We’re not going to rush Silva back.
“I think wherever Taylor plays, he’s the best player in the field. He’s just really, really good. He runs the game like a coach on the field. Full of energy and a solid baseball player.”
Freshman R.J. Hartmann is the first baseman, with sophomore Joe Garabedian at third.
The Rams did suffer a setback when catcher Cody Murray had season-ending shoulder surgery.
“Our top recruit,” Scott said of the ex-Clovis High star. “Big shoes to fill; and he hasn’t played an inning. But we have six catchers.”
Freshman Logan Poisall is a bounce-back from Fresno State, where he redshirted, and could see time at catcher and in the outfield.
Gardner, at least on Friday, will be flanked in the outfield by Ryan Soares (right) and Poisall (left).
“Close-knit group of guys,” Scott said of his team. “Closer than the past and they seem to be tougher. They worked really hard in the offseason.”