The Hoopa boys open the new season at Del Norte on Thursday afternoon, and a young squad has been putting in the work at practice during the preseason.
“We’ve been hitting it hard the last few weeks,” new head coach Joe O’Rourke said. “The team looks promising this year. We’ve got a lot of talent, we just need to coax it out.”
The players are looking forward to getting in some game time.
“I like our attitude,” the head coach added. “We’ve got a lot of kids that are ready to play and I’m really enjoying working with these young men.”
This year’s roster features just three seniors — Kagen Renteria, Trey Crawford and Alex Lopex — with eight freshmen/sophomores, so there could be some growing pains along the way, although the head coach believes there is plenty of talent on the team.
“I think our defense is going to be on point, and our batting, our offense, is going to be good,” said O’Rourke, who added the “pitching is getting there.”
Sophomore Steven Hatter will see plenty of time on the mound, along with juniors Brian Gulley and Kade Whitecrane, while talented all-around junior Darvin Davis has been setting a good example in practice with his hustle.
“I’m pretty excited about this year,” the coach added. “The individual talent I see out there is strong. Now it’s just a matter of putting it together as a team.
“There’s no quit in this group and the attitude has been spectacular. They’ve got good sportsmanship and they hold each other accountable.”
And holding each other accountable is something the new coach has been stressing to his players.
“The lessons they learn on the field, they’ll carry out into the community,” he said.
After Thursday’s season opener, the Warriors won’t play again until March 19 when they travel to Etna, before the busy part of their schedule kicks in later this month.