Meet your 2017 Rattler Baseball Team
Since 1986 Rattler Baseball has been an important part of the Otero Junior College campus. Hundreds of student athletes have worn the OJC uniform all the while they were building their athletic skills, gaining academic credentials and developing a path for their future. The OJC Baseball program focuses on the balance between athletic success and academic achievement.
2017 Baseball Season Outlook
The Rattlers are coming off of a frustrating 2016 season in which the Rattlers didn’t make the playoffs. “We are coming back from a rough season from start to finish this past year, but we are using that as motivation to get back to the Region IX championship this spring,” said Carrillo “We are always looking to turn a negative into a positive and I believe we have accomplished that with this group of young men, which has benefitted our program tremendously this past fall.”
A key ingredient to the Rattlers’ success in 2017 will be their ability to make the routine play behind their pitching staff. “We are not going to be an overpowering pitching staff. We will need to pitch to contact and only allow three outs an inning for us to be successful.”
This year Otero will be young on the hill, returning two sophomore starting arms for the 2017 season: Ian Durgin and Carlos Ramirez. The Rattlers will need both sophomore arms to set the tone for the pitching staff this spring. The Rattlers have more left handed pitchers within the staff this spring season in freshman Gerard Mendez, Sergio Garcia, Nicholas Kakavas, Alex Covarrubias, and Caden Easten.
Sanchez and Mendez, who both made a lot of progress this fall, will be a big piece to the puzzle, making their way into the weekend rotation for their freshman campaign. The Rattlers also have Eddie Flores, Sergio Garcia, Morgan Robinson and Lane Greiman who will provide the Rattlers with some depth and the ability to close out games when they get into the later innings.
Carrillo was anxious to see how the pitching staff would perform in the first intersquads of the spring. He liked what he saw. “For the most part, all of our guys competed and threw strikes, especially for the first outing,” Carrillo explained. “Each time they go out on the mound, they will continue to grow and improve.”
A few sophomore key position players that the Rattlers are excited about this spring are sophomore starting catcher Hunter Junge from Las Vegas, Nev. Last spring Junge finished the season with a .455 batting average before having to come out of the lineup due to an injury after 77 AB’s. Returning starting shortstop for the Rattlers Will Hamilton who finished the season with a .277 batting average will be handling the shortstop duties again this spring for the Rattlers. Returning right fielder Jesus Chavez is an all-around solid player who is very versatile.
“We have challenged this group of young men not only on the baseball field but even more so off the field and they have responded in such a way that they have re-created our culture as a baseball program,” said Carrillo. “I could not be prouder of a group of individuals and look forward to them doing some really good things this spring.”