High hopes for the upcoming baseball season in Spring 2022

A bucket of baseballs. Darren Whitley | Flickr

After an abnormal season in 2020, Saddleback’s baseball team is preparing for Spring 2022


The baseball season is coming up next semester with a 40 game schedule. With their first game coming up in January, there is a lot of prepping required before the team is ready to play.


Despite practicing since August, the Saddleback baseball team has a lot of work ahead of them. Head coach Sommer McCartney said the team had a Fall season that acts as an evaluation for the players which, based on their performance, helps the coaches determine who will continue on in the Spring.


“We had 50 players,” McCartney said. “We get a chance to evaluate them and then, actually, we’re going to have an Exit meeting this week to talk to the kids about who made the team and what their role will be on the team and so forth.”


Coach McCartney said that the team this year shows a lot of potential, but one of the biggest struggles will be the large number of “inexperienced” players.


“We lost 10 pitchers from last year’s team so we have a lot of pitchers that don’t have any college experience,” he said. “I think that’s gonna be probably the biggest challenge for us. It’s having these freshmen, no strikes and giving us a chance to play defense behind them.”


He said that despite their inexperience, the players do have a lot of talent. The team also has a good number of sophomore position players, plus the offense and defense will be competitive.


Their main goal is to make it to the playoffs in May, especially since they didn’t have an opportunity last year. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 season was shortened to 28 games with the team finishing with a 14-14 record.


“It was obviously challenging with the pandemic but then we were one of the last schools in our conference to come back to campus to practice, so we had three weeks of practice before we started playing,” McCartney said. “We started out really hot and hit a 10 game losing streak and eventually won our last six to finish, so it was good.”


The upcoming season will not be a short one like last year. Since health is a huge concern with the return to campus, the team is following NCAA guidelines regarding vaccinations and testing.


Players who are not yet vaccinated or those who qualify for an exemption will be required to get tested at least three times a week. Those who have already acquired the vaccine do not need any testing done. Coach McCartney says that the team is mostly vaccinated.


The baseball program history states that Saddleback has only won one state title ever. Let’s see if the team will earn the second next year. The first game of the Spring season will be on Saturday, Jan. 22, at Long Beach against the Vikings.