The Mesa Vista baseball team struggled last season to put nine players on the field. Those worries are a thing of the past, as first-year coach Clifford Richardson reports a roster of 14 this season and has high hopes that the Trojans can compete for one of the 10 spots in the Class AA state baseball championships.

    “When I showed the kids I was willing to put the time in, they were willing to put the time in,” Richardson said.

    The strength of this year’s team will be its pitching staff, headed by sophomore Sean Richardson ( the coach’s son) and junior Alejandro Lopez.

    “Alejandro throws pretty darn hard,” Richardson said. ““He doesn’t have the quantity of pitches Sean’s got. I have a lot of guys who can throw. That’s a luxury a lot of coaches don’t have.”

    Freshman Matt Richardson (Sean’s younger brother) and sophomore Evan Jaramillo are two hurlers who will likely see action for the Trojans. Mesa Vista has a solid mixture of players from all classes. Junior Jerome Campos will man first base, while sophomore Andres Coronado is at second. Lopez is at short and the third baseman is sophomore Lucas Gallegos. Sophomores Dominick Torrez and Philip Rodriguez are in center field and left field. Junior Chris Marquez patrols right field for the Trojans.

    Senior Michael Velasquez and Jaramillo share the catching duties. Seniors Jared Aliré and Samantha Giron are vying for playing time. Giron is holding her own as the team’s lone female.

    “She’s been hitting the ball pretty good in practice.” Clifford Richardson said.

    The core of the team will be eight sophomores whom coach Richardson is familiar with from his coaching role with Española’s American Amateur Baseball Congress summer league.

    “They all played with me or against me in the summer,” he said. “It seems funny, but we have a lot of young players with experience.”

    The Trojans were to begin play against Monte del Sol March 19, but the game was cancelled by the Dragons because their field wasn’t ready. The Trojans hosted Pecos in a double header Monday and began play in the Northern Rio Grande tournament Wednesday (3/24) against Mora at Ranchitos Park. Mesa Vista will host the St. Michaels junior varsity in a double header Saturday.

    “We’re going to hit the ground running,” Richardson said.

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