The Maricopa Rams started the season Wednesday on their home field in the Huffman Tournament against Tempe. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa High School Varsity Baseball team will swing into their season today with the Pinon-Huffman inter-city tournament in Maricopa and Casa Grande.

2 Anthony Lumactod  – Sr
3 Nico Bandin – Soph
4 Isaac Herrera – Jr
5 Marcos Cano – Sr
6 Carter Paine – Jr
7 Renzo Silva – Soph
8 Mason Williamson – Jr
9 Jackson Stensgard – Sr
10 Jose Leyva – Soph
11 Devin Fiala – Soph
14 Tyler Belcher – Jr
15 Jonathan Aguilar – Soph
16 Kevin McDill – Jr
18 Taylor Belcher – Jr
23 Malachi Hogg – Soph
24 Andres Gusse – Jr
29 Trey Keel – Soph

The Rams will enter the eight-team pool-play style tournament competing over the next three days against three teams at Maricopa High School – Tempe, Higley and Dobson. The winners from each pool will then square off on Saturday against the winner of a four-team bracket in Casa Grande – Poston Butte, Casa Grande, Apache Junction and Marana.

Maricopa head varsity coach Andrew Pollak hopes the momentum from last year’s season will carry over to this season. However, this year, after the Arizona Interscholastic Association redrew the map for many districts, Pollak said, some of their new opponents could prove to be challenging.

“It’s going to be a tough region. We play a bunch of the west side schools,” Pollak said. “It’s going to be fun, but it’s going to be tough.”

The line-up this year is relatively fresh with few returning upperclassmen, he said, a factor which adds to the challenge.

“Personnel-wise we’re pretty young,” Pollak said. “We have basically all sophomores and juniors that we’re going to play with, and one returning senior starter.”

Despite their age, Pollak feels the team’s defensive prowess is what will set them apart.

Junior pitcher Carter Paine
Junior pitcher Carter Paine

“I think defensively we’ll be pretty strong,” Pollak said. “We’ve got an infield that’s pretty solid and we’ve got some strong outfielders.”

The Ram’s hitting and pitching game is the only area of concern for Pollak, though he does have a strategy for that.

“We are going to have to find a way to score some runs though,” he said. “And [offensively] our guys are going to have to pitch to contact ground balls, or use the defense behind them. We’re not going to throw by anybody.”

The AIA also recently approved a proposal to dissolve the MHS freshman baseball program, a move which will likely mean more underclassman playing JV and varsity ball in the future.

Pinon-Huffman Tournament Schedule
@ Maricopa High School
Dobson v. Higley at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22.
MHS v. Tempe at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Dobson v. Tempe at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23.
MHS v. Higley at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23.
Higley v. Tempe at 3:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 24.
MHS v. Dobson at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24.

@ Casa Grande High School
Apache Junction v. Poston Butte, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Casa Grande v. Apache Junction, 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23.
Poston Butte v. Marana, 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23.
Marana v. Apache Junction, 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24.
Casa Grande v. Marana, 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24.

2017 Schedule
Feb. 22-25    Pinon/Huffman Tournament    TBA      Home
Feb. 28           Sierra Linda                             3:45     Away
March 3           Desert Edge                            6:00     Away
March 8           Boras Classic                           TBA     Tempe
March 13         Glendale                                 7:00     Away
March 15         Vista Grande                           4:00     Home
March 23         Mesquite                                4:00     Home
March 24         Ironwood*                              4:00     Home
March 28         Kellis*                                    3:45     Away
March 30        Casa Grande                            4:00    Home
March 31        Kellis*                                     4:00    Home
April 4           Sunnyslope*                            4:00    Home
April 6           Verrado                                    3:45    Away
April 7           Sunnyslope*                           4:00    Away
April 11         Apollo*                                   4:00    Away
April 12         Ironwood*                               3:45    Away
April 13         Apollo*                                   4:00    Home
April 18         McClintock*                            4:00    Home
April 19         Williams Field (Senior Night)4:00    Home
April 20         McClintock*                            4:00    Away
*5A Metro


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