Posted on 03 February 2011.
It’s a new year and there’s a new Chabot Gladiator baseball team waiting for the 2011 season to begin.
The Gladiators finished last season tied for the best record in the Coast Golden Gate Conference but fell to the would-be state champion, Ohlone College, in the Northern California Super Regional Tournament.
With five returning preseason All Americans in the lineup, the team that ranked first in RBIs, triples and home runs the previous year looks to change its complexion from a hitting ball club to a pitching oriented one, according to long time coach Steve Friend.
“We had a lot of sophomore starters on the team last year, so this year we have a lot of new guys looking to get a spot and looking to contribute,” said Friend.
[media-credit id=4 align="alignright" width="200"][/media-credit]Mike Botello and Brandon Plotz return to the lineup as preseason All American pitchers who look to deploy Coach Friend’s pitching oriented philosophy for the upcoming season.
Botello ranked third last year in ERA and was first in hits allowed and second in runs allowed in the Coast Golden Gate Conference. Botello is also being recruited by Cal State Long Beach, one of the top Division I baseball schools in the country.
Plotz ranked fifth in strikeouts while making the most starts out of any other pitcher in the conference.
Along with Botello and Plotz, Chabot has three other returning All American position players – infielder Sean Barrie, catcher Kyle Gallegos and first baseman Jake Whitney.
Barrie, although with limited playing time, topped the conference in batting average, hitting .500, while also bringing in the top on-base percentage at .606 and ranking 15th in runs scored.
Gallegos hit .341 last year, ranked fifth in on-base percentage, seventh in runs scored, 11th in hits and ninth in RBIs.
First baseman Whitney rounds out our All Americans. Last year Whitney hit .312 and had the most home runs by any returning player on the team. He ranked fifth in RBIs and 11th in walks, drawing 17 of them in the Coast Golden Gate Conference.
It’s obvious these players are going to mean a lot for the Gladiators this spring if they want to repeat their success of last season.
“You hope they show that leadership and show the younger guys what to do and keep them competitive,” said Coach Friend, “They mean a lot to us.”
Coming into the 2011 season the Chabot Gladiators are ranked fifth in the Northern California preseason poll, according to the California Community College Athletic Association.
“Those rankings mean nothing to us because they are based off of last year’s team and performance. With all these new guys on here we know we haven’t earned anything yet. So those polls mean nothing to us,” explained the coach.
“The competition is going to be high, within our team as well as against the other schools. That’s what I look forward to most,” continued Friend.
The season starts Feb. 3 at home against San Mateo, the team that tied Chabot for the best record in the Coast Golden Gate Conference in the 2010 season.
Coach Friend and the Gladiators look to maintain their “Tradition of Excellence” with their ninth consecutive playoff appearance and their 19th in 21 years.