Sauk Valley Community College

an institution of higher education that provides quality learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of its students and community

2009-10 Baseball Team Outlook (9-17-2009)

Strength in numbers on the mound will be a big asset for this year's Skyhawks baseball team.

Head Coach Rene Valdez says his 16-man pitching staff combined with off-season recruiting and rebuilding should be just the ticket for the Skyhawks to pick up where they left off with a 28-19 finish and second place honors in the Arrowhead Conference.

This year's 30-man roster includes eight returning sophomores and 22 freshmen. The bullpen will boast a lot of young talent this season with two returning sophomores and 14 freshmen. The pitching staff includes four left-handers and 12 right-handers.

Valdez explained that the best way to come off a good '09 season was to mold this year's team into a group that best exudes his philosophy of "unity." This philosophy has worked well for Valdez the past three years.

"I really wanted to build a team that works well together," said Valdez. "I kept eight returning sophomores, and then heavily recruited players with excellent character and references that had the elements to work together on and off the field. By these players pushing each other to be

Strength in numbers on the mound will be a big asset for this year's Skyhawks baseball team. their best and maintaining the same goals, we can focus on a winning season once that element is in place."

In addition to the bullpen, the Skyhawks will also have a good contingent of strong hitters.

Valdez said this year's starting sophomores definitely produced as freshmen last year. He expects them to start from there and not only maintain that level of performance, but add to the talented new freshmen.

Familiar faces return to help Valdez in coaching duties. Former Skyhawk Scott Berge is back as assistant coach and will work specifically with the pitchers. "He has a great knowledge of the game and will be a big help to our pitching staff," said Valdez.

In addition, James Kelm, another former Skyhawk, comes on board as a volunteer assistant coach. Valdez says Kelm knows the level of competition the Skyhawks have to be at to win, and has a wide range of expertise in all aspects of the game.