Last year the West Orange-Stark baseball team was bouncing back from an off-season in 2019. The Mustangs were confident going into district action with a 7-5 record when the COVID pandemic brought a close to the 2020 season.
Coach Sergio Espinal has four seniors returning to build this year’s Mustangs baseball team around. Jalen Thompson should swing a big bat for the Mustangs. Jerren Terrell who was the quarterback on the Mustangs’ football team will be a key contributor this season.
Kaleb Istre and Jacob Dominguez have been the keystone combo at second and shortstop for the Mustangs the last several of seasons. Espinal reminded, “Those are our starting four, they’ve been with me now for three years, I’ve been here for three years, and this is their senior year.”
The numbers are kind of thin for the Mustangs this season. Espinal does have some new faces to the varsity. A newcomer Jesus Ramirez transferred into West Orange-Stark from Louisiana. He is a good all-around ball player according to the coach.
There are a lot of seniors that will be getting their first appearances on the Mustang varsity. They have not played in the system yet so Coach Espinal is a little reluctant to talk too much about them until he can see them in some actual game action, but he adds there may be some surprises mixed in with this group.
One sophomore is expected to contribute for the Mustangs this season. Tyrone Wilson played on the junior varsity last season as an infielder and a pitcher. “I think I see bright lights for him,” Espinal stated.
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs will have some versatility with this group of players for Coach Espinal during the season. The Mustangs’ top hitter will probably be Jalen Thompson. He hits the ball hard, is their main long ball threat, and can play good defense at multiple positions.
Kaleb Istre has been moved behind the plate to handle much of the catching chores for West Orange-Stark. Jacob Dominguez has done more pitching for the Mustangs while also playing his normal shortstop in the early scrimmages.
Jerren “Pops” Terrell is pitching, playing a little first, and some outfield. Jesus Ramirez is also very versatile. Espinal expressed, “Hitting wise we have five pretty good hitters.”
Espinal is working to develop a pitching staff for the Mustangs. He analyzed the best pitcher for West Orange-Stark in the early season is Istre. He finds the strike zone with most of his pitches.
There is a lot of potential on the mound Espinal believes with Terrell and Thompson. Both really have the velocity in their arms to be strong pitchers for the Mustangs. They need to get better control of their pitches. Espinal emphasizes the best pitch in baseball is a strike.
The key for West Orange-Stark this season is the development of Terrell and Thompson to throw strikes to make them more solid pitchers. “If they can do that, I think, we should do real well,” Espinal concluded.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-