Experienced Tigers look like the team to beat in the Big 5

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Arcata senior Vincent Agliolo, pictured playing for the Northern Humboldt Giants last summer, is one several key returning players on this spring’s team.

By Ray Hamill — Big things are expected out of the Arcata Tigers on the baseball fields this spring, as they get set to begin the new season next week.

A deep Tigers roster features a core group of very experienced seniors who have been playing together on high school and American Legion teams for several years.

And that experience and familiarity could make the Arcata boys a dangerous prospect, not just in the Big 5 but also in the sections and even the state tournament.

“Some of these kids who are seniors have played well over 200 games together in fall ball, summer ball and through high school, and they know each other well,” head coach Troy Ghisetti said. “It’s just a matter of them bringing that competitiveness every single day.”

That core group includes seniors Vincent Agliolo, Finn McRae, Nick Parker and Alex Gorge, each of whom will be looking to close out their high school careers with a bang in their fourth year as starters together.

Agliolo and Parker will see plenty of time on the mound and in the middle infield, while McRae and Gorge will split time behind the plate, with the latter also playing some first base.

“I think that we have a lot of experience, and we just need to get together and really collaborate and get after it,” the head coach said. “And I think this team has a lot of good players that can step up.”

Senior second baseman Chet Keasey will also be expected to play a major role, as will junior Will Mager, who will provide some much-needed depth on the mound.

Players like Isaiah Levy, Noah Waterhouse, Miles Oliver, Ty Ghisetti, Cedar Cline, Skyler Westfall, Anthony Ebert, Wilson Medina and Isaiah Preciado give the coaching staff plenty of options.

And Troy Ghisetti believes they’ll need all of them in what he expects to be a tough Big 5 this spring.

“It’s going to be competitive,” he said. “Del Norte’s going to be very good, Eureka’s always good, Fortuna, we scrimmaged them and they have good pitching, and McKinleyville’s going to be competitive.

“You’ve got to be ready to play every single day in the Big 5.”

Last year’s Arcata team

This season will also feature state playoffs, which gives some of the top teams in the H-DNL — such as Arcata and St. Bernard’s — an additional goal this spring.

“The No. 1 goal is always to win the Big 5 title, and No. 2 is the Charlie Lakin tournament, which is huge in our county,” Troy Ghisetti said. “And from there you get to compete in the North Coast Sections.

“If we can get our kids to play together and to get after it day in and day out, we could have an opportunity to play in the (state playoffs). But we’ve got to take care of business locally.”

The Arcata Tigers will begin the new season at next week’s St. Bernard’s tournament which will be held on the Bear River all-weather field.

The Tigers open against University Prep on Friday.

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