Allowing a mere 19 runs in their first 10 games, the Wolverines are 9-1 as they head into the Righetti Spring Classic in Santa Maria this week. Manager Dennis Luquet credited the fine record to the quality of the Wolverines’ pitching.
Senior right-hander Ricky Delgado, who will attend Cal State Fullerton next year, has started the season 5-0 with a 0.55 earned run average. He’s also fanned 27 batters, walking 11. Known as a hard thrower, Delgado has been working more on location than velocity. The new approach has worked.
“He’s just trying to slow things down and have better control,” Luquet said. “He was too fast before, trying to throw too hard. He’s calmed down his windup and his mechanics.”
Even when the ball isn’t in Delgado’s hand, Deer Valley has earned success on the mound. As a team, the Wolverines boast a 0.74 ERA and a total of 71 strikeouts in their first 10 games.
Senior Jacob Peters has been another pleasant surprise. Through his first 19.1 innings, he hasn’t allowed an earned run, and batters are hitting merely .090 against him. In five appearances, he’s chalked up one win and two saves. Junior Tyler Vistalli, the Wolverines’ third starting pitcher, is 3-1 with two saves and a 1.02 ERA.
While the bulk of the Wolverines’ scoring has come in two games – a 20-1 win over Tennyson and a 10-0 victory over Ygnacio Valley – in the team’s other games, the margin of victory has been slim. “We seem to score just enough runs to win,” Luquet said. “We make some key plays when we need them and we make a clutch hit when we need it, so it guess that’s the key to winning.”
Deer Valley has racked up important victories against tough opponents, such as a 3-2 win over Monte Vista and a 3-1 win over College Park.
Several hitters have stepped up to keep the offense humming. Luquet has been impressed by senior outfielder Marcos Martinez and junior first baseman Brandon Doig, who have been swinging sizzling bats in early action. Senior shortstop Michael Lanter has been a steady Wolverine in the batter’s box and in the field.
Juniors Jordan Gough and Devante Boyd, as well as senior third baseman Joshua Manci, have also done a fine job.
Luquet knows his team needs to be firing on all cylinders once Bay Valley Athletic League play starts April 17. When pitchers such as Liberty’s Stevan Zaharias, Freedom’s Joe Navilhon and Heritage’s Paul Blackburn are on the mound, the Wolverines’ margin for error will be almost nil.
“In our league, you’re going to have some tough teams,” Luquet said. “They’ve got to learn how to shut people down.”
Deer Valley faces Liberty at home on April 17 to kick off league play.