73° F Monday, May 22, 2017

There’s plenty of newness around the Westlake baseball team this season.

New head coach Jeff Montgomery takes over a talented roster infused with new talent joining the returning veterans, and the Chaparrals are set to get a new scoreboard this week. The Chaps aren’t really keeping track of score during their three scrimmages thus far.

Returning starters Aaron Black and Alex Cabezas have led the charge thus far, with Cabezas starting the season with a leadoff homerun on the first pitch.

From there, competition is fierce between returning players and those up from a very successful junior varsity squad from a season ago.

“We’ve got a really good hitting team,” Montgomery said. “There’s nothing too nailed down. To be honest, I’m looking around, and we have a lot of depth.”

Even amidst the competitive spirit, Montgomery is fostering a feeling of unity on the team, which features nine seniors, 10 juniors and one sophomore.

“The biggest focus on our team this year is unity,” Montgomery said. “We’re really coming together as a team, and knowing their roles will help us do well.”

There’s no lack of arms for the Chaps to choose from, including Tate Shaw, Gordy Taylor, Ryan Cunningham and Paul Kirkpatrick, as they use the tournament part of the schedule to let things sort themselves out.

“We’ve still got 12 different throwers out there, and it’ll come down to see who can pitch,” Montgomery said. “This is that tournament season, we look and see who can play under a little pressure. To play in the field, you’re gonna have to be able to swing the bat a little.”

Montgomery had a long list of supporters to thank in and around the school, including the Chap Club, which helped get the team a much-needed new scoreboard.

“It’s been a really eye opening experience – one where I’m learning each and every day,” he said. “It’s a big gigantic family, when someone steps up, everyone pitches in to help. It’s really comforting in this situation, and I’m just thrilled to have people behind us.”

Westlake starts tournament play at Laredo this weekend, taking on Weslaco 6 p.m. Thursday, with two games set for Friday and Saturday.

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