BC baseball returns veteran quality pitching staff

Jason Reed, Sports Editor

The Bakersfield College baseball team is gearing up for a new season and is looking to bounce back from an early playoff exit last year against LA Valley College.

The Monarchs beat the Renegades 5-2 and sent them home early in a one-game playoff matchup.

BC finished last season 21-7-1, including a 10-4 conference record.

“You go into each year hoping to improve on the previous year,” BC head coach Tim Painton said, when asked about the team’s expectations in 2013.

“That’s first and foremost; every year is the same, at this time of year everybody’s feeling good about where they’re at because nobodies played,” he said. “I think we’ve returned some experience on the mound, which is huge in baseball.  We’re experienced there; we have some depth there, lots of new faces in some positions and I think we’ll grow as the season probably progresses and that’s usually the nature of a good team, you have to continue to grow as the season moves on.”

Painton was really excited about the returning pitching for the Renegades.

Painton mentioned returning sophomore left-handed pitcher Justin Kelly, who committed to Virginia Tech earlier this year, Kelly was also a starting pitcher for the Renegades a year ago.

He also mentioned right-hand pitcher Brad Lindsey.  BC will also bring back closer Ryan Stapp, who set a high school record in saves.

“He may have the ability to step out into a starting role, that’s going to play out here in the first part of the season,” Painton said on Stapp’s potential.

Painton believes that left-hander Darion Nunn has probably progressed more than any other player he has returning.

Nunn came out of the bullpen for BC last year.

“He’s kind of stepped into competing for a starting role right now,” he said about Nunn’s progression.  “We’re happy with our pitching.”

Painton said that returning outfielder Jordan Turner, who was a first team all-Western State Conference player last year, will provide great power in the middle of the lineup.

“That’s the experience that we’re trying to build around, and you just don’t know exactly where you’re at until you get on the field and compete against somebody else.”

Painton also talked about what he and his team are looking to do as a team to surpass last year’s accomplishments, which resulted in a 21-7-1 record and postseason defeat to LA Valley.

“I think we did some really good things a year ago,” he said.  “It’s a whole new group; you know what happen last year really is no consequence to really at least 50 percent of this group of guys because they weren’t here.

“I think for the sophomores returning more than anything else, they have a year of more experience under their belt and they kind of have an idea going into a season and how the season unfolds.”

BC will start the season in a non-conference game Feb. 1 against Porterville College.