Vikings open 2020 against American River with 17 returners, 17 newcomers

The Vikings open the 2020 season Jan. 24 at Valhalla against American River
The Vikings open the 2020 season Jan. 24 at Valhalla against American River

An uncommon equal mix of experienced returning sophomore and newcomers make up a Viking baseball team that opens 2020 with a three-game series against American River. The Vikings take the field at Valhalla Friday (1/24) against the Beavers, a perrenial Big 8 contender. Coach Rick Wiens has a roster with 17 second-year players and 17 freshmen, including eight first-year pitchers. A look up and down the roster shows 17 pitchers on Wiens' staff and a trio of 2019 All-Coast selections.

Heading up the pitching staff will be 2019 ace Mason Mooney, an All-Coast first-teamer. Mooney was 3-3 with 72 K's and a 3.31 ERA in 70.2 inninings-pitched. Fellow All-Coast first-team selection Matt Atencio, who went 3-0 with a 0.57 ERA and 40 strikouts in 31.2 innings, is the top Viking reliever. Joining Atencio and Mooney on the pitching staff are sophs Christopher Knopf, Amrin Dhillon, Jared Espinosa, Eric Peterson, Jake De Fiore and Keegan Baird, who all logged lots of innings as freshman.

All-Coast 2nd-team catcher Steven Grizzle (.289 BA, 1 HR, 8 2Bs, 19 RBI and 19 runners thrown out stealing) anchors an experienced infield of Jonathan Teschner (SS), Jason Haug (1B) and Jalen Robinson (UT). Outfielders Jared Reupert, Pako Vehikite, and Tyler Schrader all either started or saw significant time in 2019. 

First pitch at Valhalla Friday is 2:00pm.