Photo By Jared Lozano
The Central Grizzlies baseball team has had an up and down season so far. Central is 9-7 overall and 4-4 in league play. The Grizzlies currently stand in fourth place in the TRAC. After already earning four wins this season, three more than last year, they are fighting to climb the ranks, especially after their huge series win against the Clovis West Golden Eagles. Central has had some great wins against Redwood, Clovis West, Buchanan and most recently, with an 8-3 victory against the Clovis North Broncos.
A big part of this early surge of success is new head coach Mitch Mulligan. Coach Mulligan is fully immersed in his first season of leading the team, and players recognize it. Senior INF, Ethan Baird stated, “Coach Mulligan is what Central needed. He is a players’ coach and lets us play our game. He is in the program for the long run and truly cares. Hiring him changed the program for good, and I don’t think there’s a better guy out there for the job. He is the real deal.” Senior INF JJ Ramos added, “Coach Mully is a great coach with a great sense of humor. He really understands you as a person rather than just a ballplayer”.
There’s also a lot of veteran talent on this team. Senior INF, Gavin Mancha is having a strong season so far with 19 hits, seven RBI, 14 runs, and a .396 batting average. JJ Ramos is one of the best SS’s in the TRAC and the Valley with eight RBI,11 hits, and eight runs this season. Ethan Bird is one of the team’s leaders and a big impact player with 16 hits, seven RBI and a batting average of .302. OF Trent Tompkins UC Davis football commit can also hit some dingers with four HR, 13 hits, and nine runs. All four seniors are attracting D1 interest, but have a bigger goal in mind at the moment, and that’s winning a Valley championship. Junior pitcher Ryan Wiltse is having a stellar season as well with 31 strikeouts and a shutout game against the number one team, the Buchanan Bears.
Coach Mulligan stated, “Gavin Mancha has been an absolute beast at the top of the lineup this year. He is hitting everything and coming up with huge clutch hits. Ryan Wiltse has been a bulldog on the mound and always competes his butt off. I believe we have the best infield in the Valley and make all the routine plays.” Mancha added, “We all want to show everyone what Central baseball is about. We’re a family. We have each other’s back every day, on and off the field. We’re starting to play our game and instead of getting sucked into playing someone else’s.”
The Grizzlies will try to rack up another win at an away game this week against Clovis North Friday night at 6:00 p.m.