Schurr High baseball coach Ken Marrero turns to shortstop David Aguilar to turn around the team from a 8-13 record last year.
"In my opinion, he's the best shortstop in (the Almont League)," Marrero said of Aguilar. "He has a very good glove, good footwork and good range. He's got all the tools for becoming an outstanding shortshop."
Aguilar, who was named second team all-league last season, hit .357 with five doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs.
"I expect (Aguilar) to have a very good season," Marrero said.
Also expected to help the Spartans will be left fielder Adrian Lerma. Lerma, who also can be seen on the mound, hit .318 last year with four doubles and scored 10 runs.
"I expect him to hit in the .350s, .360s, but I'm not sure what I'll get out of him as far as wins and losses," Marrero said of Lerma.
Marrero said while his team does not have much experience this year, he does expect them to compete.
"We're a young team," he said. "I have nine varsity players from my roster who graduated last year. So, I have 10 first-year varsity players on the roster. They're good kids. I think the biggest question mark for us is are they going to be able to hit varsity pitching."
However, Marrero said he thinks the Spartans are stronger in other areas.
"I know we'll hold our own defensively," he said. "Offensively, I'm positive about what they're going to be able to do. You can't come up from (junior varsity) and hope to hit .400 at the varsity level. I'm curious about the way we're going to handle our bats. There's some good pitching in this league."
Nonetheless, despite playing teams like Alhambra, Bell Gardens and Montebello, Marrero said he is looking forward toward a winning season.
"(Last year) was a very challenging year," he said. "Our record reflects that. But this bunch is a fun group. For the most part they work hard. We're having fun our there."
And what would make this a successful season?
"Our goal every year is to win league," Marrero said. "It's a very competitive league. Those schools will be the ones to beat to get into the playoff picture, so anything short of a playoff appearance would be disappointing."