2018 Spring Sports Previews: Colton baseball
Head coach: Jason Stewart, first season
2017 record: 10-11 overall, 8-7 league play, PacWest Conference third place
Three-year record: 20-40 overall, 15-30 league play
Last playoff appearance: 2008, lost to eventual-state champion Burns 0-6 in the semifinals
Seniors lost: Five – Hayden Vest, Aaron Wimsatt, Forest Sytsma, Cole Carrol, and Ronny Woodward (All-League winner)
Key returners: Junior TJ Tiano (All-League winner), senior Dawson Hall, senior Evan Rasor, junior Chance Ritchie, junior Joseph Reed, junior Miles Payne
2017 season recap: Under last year's one-and-done head coach Bryan Woodward, the Vikings improved significantly from their 2016 season, going 10-11 overall and finishing above .500 in league play to earn a third place spot in the PacWest Conference, though they failed to make the state playoffs after losing to Salem Academy in a league playoff. The Viks began to find their rhythm towards the end of the season, eventually winning five games in a row down the home stretch of league play, including a 9-8 upset win over league champ Blanchet Catholic, doing a complete 180 after falling to the Cavaliers 13-0 in their previous matchup. On the mound, Colton was led by senior Hayden Vest and junior Dawson Hall, while senior Evan Rasor and junior TJ Tiano locked down the infield.
Season outlook: Though the Viks will surely miss Vest, Wimsatt, and Woodward, they have a number of solid returners who will be the anchor for this team. Hall and Rasor will continue to do what they do, putting the ball into play while putting pressure on pitchers with their speed on the bases. Tiano will look to keep third base locked down, Reed won't let anything get past him behind home plate, and Ritchie and Payne will show their skills from the outfield. Blanchet Catholic graduated a number of seniors, but Salem Academy returns the majority of its team, including a solid sophomore class. The PacWest Conference will again be tough this year, and it will remain to be seen how the Viks respond to yet another coaching change after Woodward gave the job just one season.
First game: The Viks open the season at home against Portland Christian on Tuesday, March 13 at 5 p.m.