By Ray Conner
Coming off a season of middle of the road, the varsity Broncs baseball squad has higher endeavors this year.
Kern Valley finished the season 11-11, including splitting a pair of CIF playoff games. They were third in the High Desert League at 6-4.
As always this year head coach Mike Genthner wants his team to win the HDL and translate that into a major run in the CIF playoffs.
When asked what his goal as the coach this season he said, “The team goal is always the same, to win league championship and advance as far as possible in the playoffs.”
His goal for his players is simple yet can make the team become a team. He said, “To believe in themselves and the team, and to improve every day.”
Genthner is in his 27th year of being at the helm of the Broncs guiding them in the game of baseball. He coached elsewhere for four years giving him a total of 31 years experience as a coach.
As in years past he will be assisted by Frank Woody, Wes Woody, and Aaron LaFarga. This is LaFarga’s first full year being an assistant.
This season the Broncs squad currently sits at 15 players. They have three seniors, five juniors, one sophomore, and six freshmen. There are a total of six returners to this year’s team.
The returners this year are seniors Conrad Miller and Devon Vittoria. They are joined by juniors, Nick Thomas, Adam Virto, and Tanner Tito. Rounding out the returners is sophomore Damon Sage.
The rest of the squad is Senior: Wes Harkey, Juniors: Jacob Lightner and Jorge Lopez, Freshmen: Hunter Blagg, Trey Bushling, Spenser Hansen, Kieran McCarthy, Trenton Robertson, and Tyler Strange.
According to Genthner, the key losses from last year’s team include, Zach Bushling, Joe Brassell, and Cody Sandoval.
The potential key additions to help fill those shoes are Blagg, Hansen, and Robertson.
Turning to actual game play, the head coach would like to see his team pick up the game of team baseball, both as individuals and as players. Genthner said when asked what he is looking for in the non-league portion of the schedule said, “We’re looking to improve, gain much needed experience and gain confidence along the way.”
Leading into league play, Genthner would like his team to be competitive and gather enough wins to claim the top spot. The Broncs must be watchful of both Rosamond and Bishop as the teams to beat according to Genthner.
The coach sees the strength of this year’s Broncs varsity baseball in their enthusiasm and their work ethic. On the flip side the areas that need to be pushed are the fact that Kern Valley is a very young team.
Genthner said, “We’re young. We have six freshmen, and we’ve never had more than three before.”
In closing Genthner said, “I’m excited about the season. We’re getting a little better each day. The players are learning and competing.”
Kern Valley began their season’s quest on Tuesday when they traveled to McFarland. They will play on the road twice more before coming home to play Trona on March 16.