The Cats opened the new season with a tough 19-0 loss to Fortuna early this week, as a new-look roster begins to find its feet.
“We’re going to have some growing pains for sure,” said head coach Justin Andersen, who graduated seven starters from last year’s senior-heavy team.
The Cats will rely heavily on Paden Prior and Mattias Alejandre, the only two returning players with any significant varsity experience.
And after that, it’s going to be a matter of developing a strong sophomore class for the future as the young players will see a lot of playing time.
“It’ll be a good chance for some of the younger kids to get some experience that they might not normally get,” the coach said.
Sophomores Levi Dixon, Trent Titus and Austin Michel all have talent and will be expected to play an immediate role, as will talented all-around athlete Kannon Christiansen, who is the team’s only junior.
“We’ll be alright,” Andersen said. “It’ll just take some time. The kids are working hard, We’ve got a couple of sophomores that will be very good.”
One player also expected to play a big role this year is senior Cole Carmesin, another talented all-around athlete who is returning to baseball this spring.
“We expect him to be a leader,” Andersen said.
While senior-heavy St. Bernard’s is the clear favorite in the Little 4 this year and expected to challenge for a state championship, the Wildcats expect to compete with the rest of the conference, with both South Fork and Hoopa also featuring young rosters.
The Ferndale boys play at Laytonville on Friday, before traveling to Willits on Tuesday.