MENDOTA — The Mendota baseball team is looking for a new co-op with LaMoille High School to fill some of the needs the young Trojans had before the programs combined.
“They have been incredible. The LaMoille kids have fit in great, and all four will be on the varsity squad and have really helped us fill some big holes we had,” Mendota coach Aaron Sester said.
“The guys are working well together, and we are really looking to put it all together at the end of the season. We were young last year and had a rough year, but with their help and the Mendota kids growing up, we are looking for big things by the end of the year.”
The Trojans will feature speed this year, which will help them put pressure on their opponents on the base paths as well as in the field as they will be able to cover more ground.
Mendota is still young as far as upperclassmen go, and the Trojans will need to depend on some sophomores and freshmen to step up.
“We will still be young as a team, but the team wants to be good,” Sester said.
On the hill this year for the Trojans will be senior Gavin Glazebrook, who is once again returning as the ace of the staff.
Derek Nanez will also get time on the mound. LaMoille sophomore Dylan Tornow and freshman Krew Bond will have to step up for Mendota. A few others will log innings.
Sester is also looking to his few seniors to lead the offense as well with Trent Garreck at first base and Luke Moore as a middle infielder — both from LaMoille — and Mauricio Escatell.
As far as the juniors go, the Trojans have Andrew Casanata and Abel Guerra, both of whom started last year for the varsity squad.
The youth movement will be led by sophomores Emilio Perez, Ted Landgraf, Tornow and Bond.
The Trojans have big goals in reaching 20 wins on the season and redeeming themselves from the three-win season they had last year.
Sester also hopes the team improves along the way so the Trojans will be a tough out come the end of the season.
Though it is a new era for Mendota softball, the goals remain lofty for the Lady Trojans after back-to-back regional championships.
Mendota lost some key players, but with reinforcements from a new co-op with LaMoille (3 JV players). the Lady Trojans look for another winning record and more postseason hardware.
“We lost some girls off our back-to-back regional championship teams and through injury, but even though we are young, we fully expect to play for the regional title and keep up our standard of play,” Mendota coach Joel Perez said.
LaMoille girls are freshman Bella Drumme(OF) and Kayla Colby (P/OF) and sophomore McKenna Klein (C/IF).
The Lady Trojans will come into the season with a depleted pitching staff as Perez was counting on Mary Defore and Zoe Finley to share time in the circle, but an injury in a previous sport has taken Finley away for the season.
That means Defore will have to shoulder more of the load and the Lady Trojans will have to count on some talented freshmen to grow up quick and contribute in Macy Pizano-Olsen, Katlyn Jenner and Emma Schultz.
The Lady Trojans have a good core coming back and Perez is looking to Anna Bokus — a three-year varsity player — to supply some leadership and Kassidy Barkman behind the plate as well as Jenna O’Donnell at shortstop to bring back experience.
They will mix in with a talented group of newcomers in freshmen Pizano-Olsen, Jenner, Finley and Schultz behind the plate.
Some hungry juniors battling for playing time in Emily Elwell, Grace Leifheit, Izabella Nunez and Felicia Atreaga, who have all been around the program for three years and are ready to take their turns in the limelight.
With a mixture of youth and experience the Lady Trojans look to make a serious run at their goals to finish above five hundred against a competitive schedule, including a tough Big Northern Conference slate that will get them battle tested and ready to once again challenge for hardware.