Bear Cub Baseball: SRJC Baseball Looks to Start 2013 Strong After Disappointing 2013 Playoff Loss

Jimmy Merrill, Staff Writer

The SRJC baseball team looks to rebound after an early exit from last season’s playoffs.

It was a disappointing end to a solid regular season for the Bear Cubs, who finished with a 22-13 record, which was good for second place in the Big 8 Conference and eighth in Northern California.

With many key players returning from last year, head coach Damon Neidlinger is confident in his team’s ability.

“I expect to be good. We’ve got a lot of returning guys from last year’s team,” Neidlinger said.

Infielder Brent Gillespie hopes his team will make a bigger impact in this year’s playoffs.

“I expect us to go farther than we did last year. We were knocked out in the first round of playoffs,” Gillespie said.

Even with a number of returning players from last year’s team, Neidlinger will not commit to penciling in any player on the lineup card quite yet.

“We still got some great competitions going on right now. I don’t want to say there is a set team right now,” Neidlinger said.

He knows that to be competitive, players will need to contribute on both sides of the ball.

“You have to be solid all the way around. We should be solid on the mound, we should be solid defensively and offensively we should be much improved,” Neidlinger said.

Second-year outfielder Siosi Poti knows his team has many strengths, but sees room for improvement in other areas.

“Our strength is definitely our defense and pitching,” Poti said. “Hitting consistently is something we need to work on.”

The Bear Cubs will face stiff competition in the Big 8 Conference, with every team looking to compete for a coveted playoff spot.

“They all are [good]. Every game in our league matters,” Neidlinger said. The team opens the season with back-to-back games with conference foe Chabot College.

“Chabot is a very good team. We’ve played them a couple times in the fall. It’s going to be a great two game series,” Neidlinger said. “From a talent standpoint, we should be up there and they should be up there.”

The Bear Cubs will travel to Hayward to kick off the regular season with Chabot on Feb. 1. The next day Chabot will make the trip to SRJC to face off with the Bear Cubs, as they make their home debut for the 2013 season Feb. 2 at Sypher Field.