MORAGA, Calif. - With the 2013 Saint Mary's baseball season beginning in a little more than a week, head coach Jedd Soto has taken time to preview the squad. In this, the second of three previews (pitchers, infielders, outfielders), Soto discusses this year's infielders.
Riley Heinzer (C, R/R, 6-1, 195, Sr., Shingle Springs, Calif.)
Soto on Heinzer
"He caught behind Toby DeMello last year... a very good catcher who went up to the Alaskan League this summer and made the all-star team. "We were 7-0 in games he caught last season. A bright game caller who pays attention and studies the reports... a great game caller."
Trevor Ellison (C, L/R, 6-1, 190, So., Fresno, Calif.)
Ian McLoughlin (C, L/R, 6-1, 197, Fr., Los Angeles, Calif.)
Soto on Ellison and McLoughlin
"Ellison is a big bat who has improved behind the plate... Ellison redshirted last season. Ellison and (Ian) McLoughlin are both left-handed bats. It would be ideal to have the both of them face right handed pitching in both conference and non-conference action this season."
Rawley Hughes (C, R/R, 5-11, 210, Fr., Santa Ana, Calif.)
Soto on Hughes
"A right-handed bat who is an exceptional catch/throw guy. It's going to be a battle between the four of those guys behind the dish. Heinzer, a team captain, I expect him to lead the way, but the other guys will get time too. For us it's about receiving and controlling the running game. If that's all going well, then it will be who has the hot bat for us."
Anthony Villa (INF, R/R, 6-2, 200, Fr., San Ramon, Calif.)
Soto on Villa
"A big bat who we hope to play at third base. Anthony really swings a hot bat and he played first base and outfield in high school. He did a great job at third base in the fall and he is trying to earn that for the season. He is a very good kid and is one of our freshman leaders. A great work ethic."
Casey Burns (INF, R/R, 6-2, 189, Fr., Grand Junction, Colo.)
Soto on Burns
"Casey is primarily a third baseman, but he can play shortstop and second base. He is very athletic, an all-state basketball player in high school. He was drafted by the Rockies late last season. For us, it's how quickly he can get comfortable hitting at the division I level. There's a chance Burns can play every day. Where Villa is a bit stronger offensively, Burns is a bit stronger defensively."
Collin Ferguson (INF, L/L, 6-2, 216, So., Santa Cruz, Calif.)
Soto on Ferguson
"An All-American, a captain, our only captain who is a sophomore. He's very passionate with an unbelievable work ethic. He's a first there, last to leave kind of kid. Plays the game with a lot of passion.
Michael Valentin (INF, R/R, 173, So., Salinas, Calif.)
Soto on Valentin
"Our only JC transfer on the roster (Laney College)... he can play multiple positions. He worked very hard and earned a spot on this team. He can play third base, second base and shortstop."
Ricky Boas (INF, R/R, 5-8, 161, Jr., Wildomar, Calif.)
Soto on Boas
"Boas was named a leader on the team... started for us at shortstop last year and is a very good defender. Made some offensive changes this year which will help him get on base more. A steal threat on the base paths. He and Mark Anderson are probably the two guys who are the biggest motivators on this team."
Darian Ramage (INF, S/R, 5-11, 155, So., Glendale, Ariz.)
Soto on Ramage
"Ramage has unreal tools. Played some last year but was stuck behind a first rounder and a four-year starter in Chris Murphy. We expect him to play second, third and shortstop. I see him as an everyday guy, a switch hitter. He played in Bend this summer and hit over .300 with a wood bat. He's a very fast kid... him and Boas cover a lot of ground."
Nikko Seanz (INF/RHP, R/R, 5-10, 165, So., San Jose, Calif.)
Soto on Seanz
"Nikko has done some good things for us in the fall. He played third base and second, he improved a lot offensively. He also has a plus arm which helps him defensively."
Connor Hornsby (INF, R/R, 5-9, 184, Fr., Walnut Creek, Calif.)
Soto on Hornsby
"We only have two freshmen who were named leaders and Connor is one of them. Hornsby is a hard-nosed player. A very good work ethic and great clubhouse guy. Plays the game very hard. We expect him to find his way into the lineup because he brings that energy every day."
Stay tuned to SMCGaels.com for the 2013 preview of this year's outfielders coming later this week.