2019 Season Preview: What’s New This Spring
The 2019 Arizona High School Baseball season is only weeks away, and fans should expect some significant changes as it relates to coaches and teams.
On the coaching front a number of names have changed locations or assumed new jobs. Here are some of the changes:
Sunrise Mountain: Michael Deardoff moves from Kellis, replacing the retired Eric Gardner. Deardoff has a 5A State Title under his belt at Kellis and hopes to bring the Mustangs their first championship.
Kellis: Dante Beltramo will assume the reins for the Cougars.
Boulder Creek: Longtime Coach Joe McDonald has taken the Head Coaching job at Arizona Christian University. Klent Corley, one of the more highly regarded young coaches in the valley, moves over from Joy Christian.
Tucson High: Tucson legend Oscar Romero has retired and moved to Alamosa, Colorado, where he is assisting the Adams State baseball program. Mark Morris takes over for the Badgers.
Marcos de Niza: Longtime assistant coach Matt Courtney replaces Steve Schuck as the Head Coach for the Padres.
Mesa High: Mike Masciangelo resigned and has taken an Assistant Coach position at the new Park University program in Gilbert. Long time Phoenix area coach Ray Figueroa takes over for the Jackrabbits.
Shadow Ridge: Rodney Friar takes over for Charles Summers.
Chaparral: One of the state’s iconic programs is in a state of flux. In the fall former Pitching Coach Dave Brennan returned to the Firebirds after several years as the PC at Paradise Valley Community College. Unhappy with the state of affairs at Chap, Brennan left last month and is now at Pinnacle.
Earlier this week Chaparral Head Coach Nick Steward resigned, and longtime freshman coach Tom Abram will assume the Interim Head Coaching spot.
Horizon: After the well publicized and messy dismissal of the state’s all time wins leader Eric Kibler, former Husky pitcher Jeff Urlaub will take over at his alma mater.
A number of significant team classification changes have also occurred this season. Here are at least some of the changes:
Teams Moving from 4A to 5A:
Nogales (Back to back 4A Champs 2017/2018)
Teams Moving From 5A to 4A:
Mesquite ( The pitching staff alone will make the Wildcats one of the favorites in 4A)
Teams Moving from 6A to 5A:
Horizon ( Will compete in the 5A Northeast Valley Region. This should be an interesting mix with Cactus Shadows, Desert Mountain, Notre Dame, North Canyon, McClintock, Paradise Valley)
Desert Mountain (see above)
Teams Moving from 5A to 6A:
Liberty (Liberty and Chaparral get bumped up to the Desert Valley Region and will battle the likes of O’Connor and Mountain Ridge)
Queen Creek ( Will join the 6A Central Division and bump heads with Corona del Sol, Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista along with Highland and Desert Ridge))
Teams Moving from 3A to 5A:
Casteel (This is a big jump for the Colts, but this group has played together for several years and has some legit talent. They should be very competitive)