By Ray Hamill — It might still be January, but baseball returns to the North Coast on Friday, with the Corsairs scheduled to host Napa Valley in the first of two weekend doubleheaders.
And it appears as if the weather is going to cooperate.
The games will be played at Bomber Field across from the Redwood Acres in Eureka, and will give local fans a first look at a largely new pitching staff, including four new starters.
Chandler Jones will take the mound for game one on Friday, after his impressive start to the season last weekend at Mendocino, when the CR men swept a season-opening doubleheader.
Vernon Painter will get the start in game two, with former St. Bernard’s standout Caleb Ruiz taking the mound for Saturday’s opener and Bly Moser for the nightcap.
Saturday’s opener is tentatively set to get under way at noon, although it may get moved up depending on the weather forecast, and both doubleheaders will feature a nine-inning opener and a seven-inning nightcap.
Last weekend, Ruiz got his collegiate career off to a flying start, recording a save and a win on opening day, including tossing a two-hitter in a seven-inning complete-game.
And Morgan expects just as much out of Painter and Moser, who come from Carson City, Nevada, and Vista, CA, respectively.
“Obviously, from what we’ve seen so far, we had two guys who went out and did a good job,” Morgan said. “And I expect our other guys are going to do well. I’ve seen them in the fall, and they’ve shown me they can be starters at this level.”
A number of other local players will also see time on the mound out of the bullpen, including Eureka’s Cyle Watkins, who joins the team after spending time at Division-I Abilene Christian.
Watkins, however, is unlikely to see any action this weekend, as he eases his way back from injury.
Former St. Bernard’s pitcher Isaiah Jimenez-Kalis, along with Fortuna’s Caleb Crawley and Eureka’s Gannon Cyphers are all options out of the pen as well.
And overall, Morgan likes his pitching depth.
“I feel like we’ve got four solid starters, and I feel confident with our bullpen,” he said.
Napa Valley is 0-1.