Matanzas coach James Perry believes in his team despite its youth.
When Matanzas’ baseball team charges out of the dugout to take the field in 2019, there will be a lot more youth than in seasons past. Senior Jason Guilbe, junior Joseph Alvarado and junior Will Towles are the Pirates’ only returning starters from last season, according to Pirates head coach James Perry.
All three have taken the underclassmen under their wings.
“We’ve just been trying to show the younger kids that you have to work hard to get better,” said Guilbe, who has played on the team all four years of high school. “It’s not going to just come overnight. We’re trying to instill work ethic in them.”
The struggles that come with fielding a young team have been evident in the Pirates’ first two games. After squeaking out a 5-2 win over Seabreeze in the first game of the season on Feb. 26, the Pirates gave up four runs in the first inning to Nease on Feb. 27. — Matanzas’ first home game.
“If we throw the ball over the plate and catch it, we’re going to be OK,” Perry said. “That comes with youth. You can tell them until you’re blue in the face, but they’ll believe it when it actually happens to them.”
Perry said he expects Guilbe, Alvarado and Towles to be the leaders of this year’s team. Guilbe, who hit .270 with two home runs last year, is the top returning power hitter. Towles hit .305 as a sophomore last season. And Alvarado was moved from shortstop to second base.
“We just want to compete every pitch,” Towles said. “We don’t want to let up at any time.”
Regardless of the youth, Perry said he expects his team to compete — every single game.
“We expect to be in every game,” he said. “You’ve just got to throw it over the plate, catch it, have some timely hitting and good things will happen.”