By Ray Hamill — The Del Norte Warriors said farewell to six seniors this week as they closed out the 2022 baseball season, including two starters who played key roles for the team.
Senior shortstop pitcher Jared Dixon and senior left fielder Isaac Arriola both were instrumental on a young starting lineup and provided some much-needed leadership.
Dixon, in particular, left his mark on the program like few other players, according to his head coach Roger Schultz.
“I could never say enough positive things about Jared,” the coach said. “He is the best all-around player and person I have seen come out of Del Norte baseball in some time, and as a sports photographer or baseball coach I have seen plenty of talent over the past 18 years.”
The senior standout’s hustle won him the admiration of his teammates and coaches.
“No one will ever out-work or out-hustle Jared,” Schultz said. “Whether he makes a diving play, hits a triple or strikes out, he will always be the same competitor, hustling back to his spot and making the next play.”
And Schultz expects Dixon to carry on his playing career in college.
“He has been an outstanding asset and will be missed,” the head coach added. “But I guarantee you will see more of him at the next level.”
Arriola also had an impact on this year’s team, particularly defensively.
“He did a solid job in left field,” said Schultz, who added, “He was always trying to put in extra work to improve his skills, which is very commendable.”
The team’s other seniors included Camden Loftin, Nate Henry, Daniel Gillis and Tyler Starcher, all of whom returned to the game this year after not playing for the past couple of years, and all of whom contributed out of the dugout.
Loftin had some key at-bats in pinch-hit situations, while Henry utilized his speed as a pinch runner.
Starcher filled in at first base when Brody Mattz was pitching and also saw some time on the mound himself, while Gillis was a good team player and helped out whenever he was needed.
“I’m glad all of them showed an interest in the game and were a part of Del Norte baseball,” Schuitz said.
The season might have been disappointing in terms of wins and losses, but the Del Norte coach believes his players developed on and off the field.
“I have been fortunate to have a good group of kids this season and I am proud of all of them,” he said. “The time and effort they put in to practice, compete and do school work was impressive. I see good things in the future for these boys. Some in baseball some in other ventures.”