Wed., Jan 25th, 2011 El Cajon, Calif.--
Since its inception in 2006, the home field for the San Diego Christian College baseball team has been off campus, providing for lengthy travel for practice and games while also providing a difficult commute for fans.
That is no longer the case as construction of a new dugout and clubhouse, and the addition of bullpens, have given the Hawks the opportunity to host games on campus and provides a great home field advantage.
“With the ability to host games on campus we have an ability to create unity, not only with the college students, faculty, and staff, but with the entire community on campus,“ said Third Year Head Coach Chris Bando. “It is an exciting time for us as a program to be on campus and to have more support at home. I think it will help build team spirit, camaraderie, and bring the campus together."
The Hawks are coming off of a season where they experienced injuries that depleted the pitching staff. Despite batting .279 as a team and averaging over five runs per game, they were hampered by an era of 7.54 and gave up 8.1 runs per game.
With a new season comes rested arms and SDC has an array of pitchers to rely on. The Hawks return Senior Adair Robles (RHP, Mexico City, Mexico), who led the team in all major pitching categories, including ERA (3.61), wins (2), and strikeouts (60). In addition, SDC returns Brock Heerdt (RHP, Sr. Santa Clarita, CA), who started six games and appeared in 10 games out of the bullpen.
The Hawks also added Lakeside native Lucas Whitmore (LHP), who transferred closer to home after playing one season for NAIA National Championship runner-up Lubbock Christian University. In 2011, Whitmore was 10-3 with a 3.48 era against one of the toughest NAIA schedules in the country. Whitmore also ranked 8th in the NAIA with 108 strikeouts in 101 innings.
Offensively, SDC returns two of their top three hitters from last season. Catcher/RHP Nick Bando (Jr. Santa Clarita, CA) led team in 2011, batting .397 in duties limited due to injuries. Also returning is Victor Martinez (Sr., Vista, CA) who was third on the team, batting .318 in 110 at bats.
In addition, the Hawks added two transfers from the University of Missouri, Jeff Lusardi (Jr., INF/OF, Kansas City, MO) and Garrison McClagan (Jr., LHP/1B, Columbia, MO), in addition to Oklahoma Baptist transfer Andy Salcido (Jr., OF, Baldwin Park, CA).
Bando looks to his upperclassmen to lead this year as the Hawks have a lot of experience to rely on, including 8 seniors and 18 juniors.
“Our upperclassmen lead not only by example, but by encouragement and being vocal on the field. We have strong captains and team leaders,” added Bando. “We look for our upperclassmen to be leaders not only on the field, but in the classroom and spiritually in their walk with Christ.”
Bando looks for the Hawks to continue to improve in his third season, adding, “The things that you control are the goals you set. The key is having an attitude that is positive and focused on every pitch of every inning of every game. If you make a commitment to the process of playing the game the right way, the results will take care of themselves.”
The Hawks start their season on Friday, January 27th , hosting a double header versus La Sierra University. First pitch is 11:00am.