By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
The Del Norte High boys varsity baseball team is ready to take to the field this spring and hopefully go the next step after last year's positive season.
After winning only six games the year before, Pablo Lorenzi, who coached the squad for several years, including appearances in the North Coast Section playoffs, returned.
The team went 11-12 and were in contention for a playoff spot until the final game of the season, when they lost to McKinleyville at home.
Today, the Warriors open the season on the road at a tournament in Red Bluff. Tonight they face Red Bluff at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday play against Shasta and Foothill High Schools.
"The guys have been working hard," Lorenzi said, but added it is still too soon to tell what type of team he has.
The first few games will give Lorenzi and his coaching staff a chance to see what each player is capable of and what position they will play.
He said nothing is etched in stone and he and the coaching staff will move players around seeing who is the best fit at each position.
"Until you really go out and get tested you don't how you are as a team," he said. "This weekend will give us a good idea of where we're at."
A key is for newcomers to make contributions after the squad lost six seniors last season.
Lorenzi said they lost a lot of their power hitters that could come up with big hits.
He said this year, he believes his team will rely on good discipline at the plate to try to get hits and move base runners forward.
"It's going to be a different style of play," Lorenzi said.
Several players who were contributors last year are returning. This includes senior Kyler Davis, Chad Freeman, Evan O'Brien and Joey Yeoman.
Tyler Travis also returns this season. Lorenzi said he was making positive contributions to the squad last year but did not play the entire season because of academic issues.
This year he has things in order and Lorenzi said he has the potential to help the team.
The Warriors lost two key pitchers in starters Kevin Walsworth and Justin Yslas.
But the Warriors bring back pitchers Logan Lesina and O'Brien, who Lorenzi said will likely be their top two pitchers, though it's still to be determined who will be the No.1 starter.
On defense, Lorenzi said his team needs to play smart fundamental baseball and not worry about making the fancy play, but play smart. He said keeping errors down in the field will be crucial this season.
Lorenzi said he has a better feel for his squad than he did last year when was trying to get to know his team.
He said the year of experience as head coach has helped.
Lorenzi said he is more organized and knows the players strengths and weakness better, which he said will help.
While pleased with the improvements last year, Lorenzi said his team needs to be even more mentally focused this year and not let games slip by.
He said there were several games they lost by only one run last season.
Del Norte plays its first home game on Tuesday against Ferndale in doubleheader action starting at 1 p.m.