(Walnut, CA) Mt. SAC Baseball coach John Knott enters his second season in charge and first full recruiting class.
The excitement of baseball starting is felt around the diamond at Mazmanian Field on the campus of Mt. SAC this season.
"I'm very excited and pumped to get this going," Knott said. "The moment our season ended last year, even a couple of weeks before the season ended since we were officially out of it, I felt the guys played much more competitive."
The Mounties didn't make the playoffs last year but finished the season on fire, winning an incredible seven out of 10 games and scoring 42 runs before the final week of the season.
"We played much more competitive and the guys played with more confidence," Knott added. "We really started as a staff to kind of jell together and realize at this level what the things we have to do to win are."
"Hopefully we can build off of that and I know we're going to have some challenges ahead of us but I feel we have a good group that can deal with adversity."
Knott has nine returners from last years' team, including the leader in hits for the 2017 season, infielder Ryon Knowles. Knowles led the team with 43 hits, scored the most runs (33), and was the stolen base leader with 12.
Outfielder Brandon Bradshaw, who played for Knott at Bonita high two years ago, was third on the team with hits (36).
"It's exciting, with a lot of good players here," Bradshaw said. "This is what you work for all fall.
"We have a good incoming group of freshmen and they push you everyday."
Second-year outfielder Quinn Cotter leads a contingent of four players from neighboring South Hills high, three of which were members of the 2016 CIF championship team.
"It's nice to have some guys I know around here and it's good for South Hills players always have a place to play," Cotter said. "It's a new season, new players and we have a solid pitching staff along with solid hitters. We're looking a lot better than last year."
Sandoval will be competing for an outfield position for the Mounties.
"This year the team chemistry is coming together and we have a good group of players," Sandoval said.
"I'm super excited to play after you go through the fall (practicing) and that's all you talk about. It's kind of like having Christmas again. It's right around the corner and it's going to be a long drive and excited to get started."
Some of the top players are sophomore Anthony Walters, a shortstop who played at Cal Berkeley last year and is from Bishop Amat and Tustin high schools.
Returning right-handed pitcher Mason Corneliussen has been looking good in preseason. The sophomore finished 15th in the state with five saves last year for the Mounties.
In addition, a bounce back from Butler University is sophomore right-hander Charlie Verrone who prepped at Rancho Cucamonga high, is expected to be a huge help for the Mountie pitching staff.
After a 15-game preseason, the Mounties will begin play in the South Coast Conference North with a 20-game schedule beginning in March.
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For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.