Led by first-year coach Levi Matherly, new era of Reed baseball starts Thursday
It’s not like first-year coach Levi Matherly is taking over a team riddled with first-year varsity players.
He got a break in that sense, inheriting a roster that will feature a staggering total of 11 seniors this spring
“Obviously, we’re going to lean on them and their experience,” Matherly said.
That, along with plus team speed, is the known. The unknown, is the fashion in which the Raiders will put runs on the board.
Some days it will be the simple yet complicated game of ‘get him on, get him over, get him in.’ Others will require wind-aided shots to either of Reed’s short porches off the bats of Lincoln Turner, Vinnie Fillapone, Jon Pinto and/or Kameron Soubiea.
“To be honest with you, I think that’s going to change day to day,” Matherly said. “There are a lot of good arms up here (Northern Nevada). I mean, shoot, our rival up the street (Spanish Springs) has a couple nice ones. It might be one day we have to do that (extra base hits), might be a day we just have to find a way to get on. Maybe we can bunt him over. Maybe we can steal, hit and run, I don’t know. I don’t have a clear-cut answer.”
That will be sorted out along the way as the Raiders determine their ranking in the 4A North. Last year, Reed flirted with legitimate contention before dropping its final seven games of the season and finishing with a 17-14 overall record, good for the eighth and final playoff spot.
- 2016 Record: 17-14, 10-12 4A North
- Playoffs: 0-2
- Key Losses: Austin Beard, Brandon Kernan, Jake Van Tress, Tayton Clabaugh, Parker Houston, Benny Peck
- Key Returners: Lincoln Turner, Vinnie Fillapone, Jake White, Jon Pinto, Levi Sanchez
If the Raiders are to make another push this spring (Matherly could do without the seven-game season-ending skid though), it will be because the team adopted its new coach’s system.
Reed has been working out six days a week since the calendar flipped to 2017, adjusting to the new culture and philosophy Matherly is instilling.
“(I’m teaching them) just to hustle in everything we do,” Matherly said. “Trying to take a balanced approach … I think the biggest thing that will tell whether we’re successful this year, is communication. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on our team defense and fundamentals. That’s been probably the biggest transition is trying to get that chemistry going with the new system coming in. That’s been the main focus.”
On the bump, Reed will go to senior Jake White to be the No. 1. White went 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA over 16.1 innings last spring. Junior southpaw Joe Salter and senior Miah Harmon will round out the rotation.
Turner is the most experienced returning arm, but likely will not pitch this year after suffering an ankle injury in one of the Raiders’ final basketball practices of the season last month. He will primarily remain in the outfield.
Soubiea will start the season as the closer while “four or five guys” will fight for innings out of the bullpen
“One of the things that wins games, is pitching. I think we’ve got some guys that nobody really knows about that we’re going to lean on and see if they can carry us and just hope we make the right moves,” Matherly said. “The biggest key, obviously, is to be ready by regionals. So, you have to have multiple guys ready to go for that.”
The new skipper will start getting an idea what his team will look like on the bump, and at the dish, this weekend.
Reed will play five games in three days in the annual Mike Bearman Memorial Tournament, starting Thursday with a home game against Central Catholic (Modesto, Calif.).
Doubleheaders on Friday (against Damonte Ranch, Truckee) and Saturday (against Spanish Springs, Douglas) will follow.
“We’ll have a decent idea of where we’re going to be after that,” Matherly said.