GALT — Jason Evans has already produced one victory as the new Galt High baseball head coach.
Now he’s ready to build the Warriors’ program that has seen limited success in recent years. On Thursday, Evans, who was the Lodi High junior varsity baseball head coach for the last two seasons, and Galt (0-2) was going to open Sierra Valley Conference action at El Dorado. But the game — like three other pre-season games prior — was postponed because of rain and field conditions.
That’s OK with Evans. That gave him and the Warriors more time to work on the fundamentals of pitching, fielding and hitting. He’s also learned that there’s more to life than coaching inside the bullpen, batting cage and hitting to infielders and outfielders.
“There’s a lot more to it,” Evans said. “Scheduling, rescheduling of games, rainouts.”
The last two seasons, Galt posted an overall record of 7-36. That included a 2-18 mark last spring; both wins came in conference action.
Lodi High baseball coach Hobie Schultz feels Evans is the right man to turn around a Warriors’ program that tasted winning seasons most of the 2000s and the late 1990s.
“It was good to see him go out on his own,” said Schultz of Evans. “He’s very capable of doing that. In his years at Lodi High, he did really well.”
Evans added, “Hobie has been an incredible mentor for me. He’s showed me the ropes in terms of how to build a program. I’ve seen it first hand through him.”
The last nine consecutive seasons, Lodi has finished in the top three in the Tri-City Athletic League. The Flames have also earned Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths each time.
Part of Evans’ coaching staff is Larry Zurbrick, who was Evans’ assistant coach on the Lodi JV team the last two years. Mike Tassaro and Alize Evans, Jason’s son, round out the coaching staff.
Prior to being the Lodi JV head coach, Jason Evans was the Lodi High freshmen baseball coach during the 2016 and 2015 seasons. He served as one of Schultz’s assistant coaches during the 2009 season.
After his first stint at Lodi High, Evans coached California Glory, which was a summer collegiate baseball team based out of Lodi. He also started the Lodi Reds baseball club, for youth reaching up to their freshmen year in high school.
There are 15 players on the Warriors’ roster. But only 13 will be playing in upcoming games. That is because Matthew Barlow, a junior catcher, and Josh Belarmino, a junior outfielder, are out with injuries; Barlow has a hip injury while Belarmino is dealing with an elbow injury.
Two of the players on the roster are freshmen; pitcher/infielder Sebastian Soto and infielder Oscar Zamora.
“He’s got a live arm,” said Evans of Soto. “He’s been playing competitive baseball for several years. He’s going to fit in as a pitcher and infielder; he can play second, third and short.”
The victory Evans and the Warriors can enjoy is fielding a JV baseball team. Galt has not fielded a JV team the last two seasons.
“That was my number one priority,” Evans said. “Try to create a JV team this year so that we have the foundation to build upon. Overall, I’m pleased that we brought back the JV program.”
Evans said that when he first met with returning players last October, there were a combined 25 players present. Then a dozen new faces — all underclassmen — were present at second meeting in December.
“Doesn’t matter what their experience is,” Evans said.
This season, Galt will play all of its home games at Galt Community Park. Incidentally, Galt played all of its home games at the park until earlier this decade when Liberty Ranch, Galt’s second high school, started playing its home games at the park.
Warrior Stadium, which is also located on the northeast side of the campus, is in the middle of construction of installing artificial turf, all-weather track and visitor’s stands. The project should be completed this spring.
The construction work and equipment has carried onto the north end of the stadium, which the varsity baseball diamond is located. The junior varsity baseball diamond is located on the south end of Warrior Stadium that has also been impacted by the construction work at Warrior Stadium. The Galt and Liberty Ranch JV baseball teams will take turns in playing their home games at Liberty Ranch’s field.
Note: A preview of the Lodi area high school baseball teams in Galt, as well as Lodi, Tokay, Liberty Ranch, Elliot Christian and Lodi Academy, will run later this month.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.