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Season Preview: Gilroy Mustangs


Ryan Ozella
N. California Area Scout

With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California, we've been rolling out team previews from around the state.

In this edition we take a look at the Gilroy Mustangs. The Mustangs and new coaches Dennis Castro and Cole Mauter will look to capitalize on the successful 2018 season in hopes of being a top team in the deep and competitive Pacific Coast Athletic League (PCAL).

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Team: Gilroy High School

Nickname: Mustangs

Section: CIF-Central Coast Section, Division 2

League: Pacific Coast Athletic League (PCAL)

Co-Head Coach/Years at school: Dennis Castro/Cole Mauter (1st year)

Team Twitter Handle@GilroyMustangs

2018 Overall Record: 17-11

2018 Postseason Finish: CCS-D2: 2nd Round Loss to Christopher  

Number of Returning Starters: 5

Number of Returning Pitchers: 5

Top Returning Players:

'19 RHP Sergio Sanchez, '19 OF David Martinez, '19 C Connor Villanueva, '20 MIF C.J. Coyler, '20 RHP Zac Miranda, '20 OF/PNicandro Franco, '21 MIF David Seanez, '21 MIF Matthew Mendoza, '21 C Owen Straub

College Commits:

NONE YET

2019 Outlook:

The Mustangs bounced back from a rough 2017 and retooled in 2018 reaching a 17-11 record. The 2018 Mustangs were able to play good baseball late in the season finishing 7-3 down their final 10 games and positioning themselves to make a strong playoff run by grabbing a 4 seed in the CCS D2 Playoffs. After a first-round win, they were blindsided by a hot Christopher team crushing their playoff dreams with a second-round loss.

For the 2019 season, Gilroy made changes on the oversight of the program bringing in Co-Head coaches Dennis Castro and Cole Mauter to take the program to the next level. Coach Castro handles the day-to-day responsibilities and will oversee the offense/baserunning and infield defense while Coach Mauter oversees high-level management of the program and puts his daily focus on the Pitchers and Catchers. Both coaches come into this program looking to use their past experiences at advanced levels of the game and are preaching culture, environment, and competition with a young group that's looking to gel and make another playoff run.

Both Castro and Mauter understand the depth of talented teams in the PCAL and know that for the Mustangs to reach their goals the entire team will need to be competing against themselves before they can compete against rival schools. There's a palpable hunger for this team to build upon their playoff run from last year with high expectations in league being a goal set forth by the team. The Mustangs are looking to utilize their strengths in pitching and defense while building their offensive approach and finding their power hitting identity to do damage to opposing pitchers in the PCAL.

The Mustangs bring back five players and five pitchers from last year's Varsity squad and are looking for those players to lead by example. '19 RHP Sergio Sanchez looks to be the ace after logging 67 innings in 2018 and Coach Mauter mentioned his ability to go deep into games. Sanchez works with a three-pitch combo attacking hitters and showing his bulldog mentality, wanting to be the guy on the mound. '19 CF David Martinez is a two-sport athlete (Football/Baseball) and will be given the chance to run with the CF job this year after playing through a serious shoulder injury during 2018. Finally healthy, Martinez shows off a lead-off role with athleticism and a gap-to-gap swing while showing base stealing ability. '19 C Connor Villanueva transfers into Gilroy from Christopher and will spend the first 10 games serving as a de-facto coach helping the young players carry the load during his absence. When eligible, Villanueva will be able to help the club with his catching ability, showing off an above average arm, and utilizing his athleticism to fill in at corner positions or on the mound. '20 SS CJ Coyler made the most of limited opportunities in 2018 behind multiple seniors but will look to breakout after a big fall/winter where he has seen vast improvements in his physicality and with his skills. Coyler will be the anchor in the Mustang lineup showing the most pop and consistent barrel.

A core group from the JV team are coming up and being asked to impact the Mustangs in 2019. '20 RHP Zac Miranda will be counted on as the teams #2 pitcher where he will look to keep hitters off balance with his three-pitch mix. '20 OF/P Nicandro Franco is another two-way player and two-sport athlete (Water Polo/Baseball) who the coaches feel has a chance to make an impact on the club. His long and lean swimmer body shows growing arm strength with plus athleticism and makeup that should help lead his teammates on and off the field. '21 MIF David Seanez and Matthew Mendoza look to come up from the JV squad and compete with Croyer for everyday reps in the infield spots. Seanez shows off a compact stroke with strong defensive skills at 2B while Mendoza, another two-sport athlete (Football/Baseball), is a bit more raw showing plus athleticism and flashing skills that could push him into a starting role. '21 C Owen Straub could have been on Varsity as a Freshman but was able to develop his skills at the JV level in 2018 and the coaches expect his loud bat to be in the lineup one way or another each and every game. The coaches raved about Straub and mentioning his high ceiling, versatility, and desire to continually improve. He's yet another two-sport athlete (2-year letter on Varsity Basketball team), is uber-athletic and continues to grow into a physical player that college coaches should check in on during 2019.

The Mustangs will be tested this year in the PCAL. The old Monterey Bay league was rebranded after 2018, growing with the addition of St. Francis SCP and adding another high-quality talent into an already deep league. Best of three conference games against league rivals like Salinas, Christopher, Monte Vista Christian, Hollister, Monterey, and Palma will make the young Mustangs respond quickly and show them where they stand in the tough conference. For them to reach the postseason again, Gilroy will have to have the young players show up week in and week out while having the returning players build upon their past success. The Mustangs will be tested early in the season with 6 non-conference games to start the season, including 4 away games.

With a focus on culture and competition, the Gilroy Mustangs are looking to start a new era in 2019. They will be finding ways to get talented players into the lineup by blending their new and returning pieces and continuing to battle old foes each and every week. Returning five starters and having a deep group of young players is a good sign for the future of the Gilroy Mustangs. If this new group can continue to develop and come together as one unit, the Mustangs could be playing late in May at San Jose Municipal Stadium.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Northern California Preseason All-State (Invite-Only) CA 01/27 San Joaquin Delta College
Super 60 Pro Showcase NATIONAL 02/03 The Max
Solano-Sac Junior Future Games Trials CA 02/24 Vacaville Christian HS
SoCal Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/09 O'Malley Field - Harvard Westlake
East Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/24 Athenian School
North Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/28 Clyde P. Smith Field - Cardinal Newman HS
Northern California Future Games Trials CA 05/26 Islanders Field
Orange County Futures Games Trials CA 06/08 Hart Park - Orange CA



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