Chaffey High School baseball coach Max Pinedo thought he had a team with potential when he took over three years ago. But he had a young team laden with sophomores and a few freshmen.
Well those players are veterans now and Pinedo is looking for his team to do something it hasn’t done in a very long time – win a Mt. Baldy League title.
Knocking defending champion Don Lugo off the throne won’t be easy but the Tigers will give it a shot. The teams have played once and that game ended in a scoreless tie because of the poor weather conditions. The next showdown will be April 25 at Don Lugo.
Chaffey has two games next week against local rival Ontario first though.
“We always had high expectations we were just a little young,” Pinedo said. “The kids have matured a lot in the last couple of years and now we’re looking to make a run.”
The Tigers (10-3-1, 5-1-1) were fourth in the league last year but can equal their overall and league win totals of last year with just one more victory.
Pinedo says he also has a close-knit group of players that has been together for several years so that bond has proven beneficial as well.
Senior Lawrence Castaneda (3-0, 1.29) and junior Rhese Gomez (3-1, 1.96) are the top two starting pitchers. Gomez, who has committed to Nevada-Reno, also plays outfield when not on the mound while Castaneda plays shortstop.
Junior Jeremiah Duran has also logged some time on the mound.
Pinedo also singles out the play of leadoff hitter and middle infielder Justin Martinez as well as Zachary Ehrhardt, both seniors.
He adds that Ehrhardt’s play is indicative of the mentality of the rest of the team.
“He just does all the little things,” Pinedo said. “He is completely selfless. He doesn’t care about his numbers. It is about what he can do to help the team.”
Chaffey’s league loss came to Alta Loma, a team Pinedo is high on despite it’s record.
Chaffey’s nonleague losses were to Baseline schools Upland and Etiwanda with the loss to the Eagles coming in the championship game of the Cougar Classic at Rancho Cucamonga.
“It was good to play those schools,” he said, “We like seeing that kind of competition because it only helps you.”