Pima Community College baseball coach Edgar Soto experienced frustration when one of his players went down due to injuries last season.
This year, he feels the team has enough depth to sustain the bad times.
“This year if someone gets hurt and gets behind, we have someone we can put in, whereas last year we had what we had,” Soto said.
Pima compiled a 35-20 record last season. If the Aztecs are to do better, they’ll have to count heavily on newcomers.
“This year we’re going to be much more of a team that has to manufacture runs rather than wait for that three-run home run like last year,” Soto said. “With Jared (McDonald) hitting 12 home runs and Cody Johnson having nine and Stefen Romero having eight, we relied on those guys a lot.”
“We’ll be more of a blue-collar team. We don’t have the impact like McDonald or Romero with home run power.”
Romero, a Sunnyside High School grad, has moved on to Oregon State, while McDonald is at Arizona State.
Marc Damon (Tucson High) and Mike Lachapelle (Sahuaro) head the pitching staff, which has a new pitching coach.
Jason Hisey stepped down over the summer to take head coaching duties at Ironwood Ridge High School. Todd Naskedov, a former successful coach at Amphi High School, will instruct the Pima pitchers.
Damon was in the bullpen last season and recorded seven saves. Lachapelle was 6-4 as a starter last season.
Pima adds lefty Richie Sandoval to the staff. Sandoval, an Amphi graduate, should add depth.
Pima hosts its alumni game Jan. 31.