Pumas’ bats hot to begin 2019 campaign

Senior Michael Zinter slides in under the tag against Queen Creek.

For a team who is replacing ten seniors from the class of 2018, this year’s baseball team has showed that they have not skipped a beat.

The Pumas, who went 16-13 a year ago and made an early playoff exit at the hands of soon-to-be 6A runners up Mountain Ridge, want another shot of having an excellent season this year.

With Perry’s baseball team competing in the 6A Premier region, they face a lot of challenging teams throughout this season. “Our schedule is crazy tough,” head coach Damien Tippett said. “Just focusing on our region, every single team is the real deal this year.”

The season is off to a strong start with a 4-1 record (2-1 in Power Point games). Through five games, PHS has out-scored its opponents 48-27. The team had an impressive first game with senior  catcher Kasin Alexander hitting the season’s first home run.

“The most impressive part of that first game was the two-out RBIs,” Tippett said. “That shows the character of this club.”

The hitting this season is doing well since everyone can contribute, Alexander said. “I think our hitting is good,” Alexander said, “we do well through the lineup and driving the ball.”

With so many players lost this year from graduation, this year’s team is comprised of a mix of seven seniors and 13 juniors, but according to Tippett, this team has a lot of experience returning.

“Sure we’re thin on seniors but we have 11 guys on this roster with varsity experience,” he said, “and of those, eight had significant roles last year, so maybe we’re young – if that’s what you want to  call it – but we’re experienced.”

Senior Adam Parra agrees with his skipper.

“[The younger players have] been in our program for a while, a lot of those kids have been with us for a long time and a lot of us trust them as well,” Parra said.

Although the team seems spot on this year they want to work on communication and working together as a team during the games.

“We are kind of a quiet team, but it’s kind of a good thing as well, but we need to be more talkative, we got a lot of those guys too. It really helps our team out,” Para said.

One of the team’s quiet leaders has had a loud start to the season – senior shortstop CJ Valdez. In five games Valdez is hitting .500 with three doubles, three home runs and 8 RBI.

Next week the Pumas will compete in the Bob Everett Classic.