Cosumnes River College opens defense of its State Community College Baseball championship today and Saturday when it travels to Merced Community College. The Hawks will play its home opener at the new CRC baseball facility Feb. 8 when it hosts Skyline College.
Joining long-time head coach Tony Bloomfield in the Hawks’ dugout this season will be former Sacramento River Cat and Laguna Creek High School star Brad Kilby.
“Last season (coaching at Franklin with brother Bryan) is something I’ll always remember,” Kilby said last Friday while he was working the scoreboard at a Wildcat basketball game.
Though he still is visible around Franklin, Kilby wanted the opportunity to see what it would be like sharing his eight years of pitching in the Oakland A’s organization with college-age players. Bloomfield welcomed Kilby with open arms.
He’ll be helping out all over the CRC diamond, but will be spending lots of time in the bullpen with the Hawk relievers. That’s where he spent much of his time with the River Cats and the A’s before a pair of shoulder surgeries sidelined that part of his baseball career, at least for now.
Kilby will be coaching several young men he already knows. Two of Franklin’s top pitchers last season, Kyle Von Ruden and Josh Pigg , will both be counted on to repeat their high school successes in the community college ranks.
He’ll also be mentoring former Pleasant Grove lefthander Zach Stilwell and a former Galt hurler in Blake Harrison. Also on the Hawks’ roster is Garrett Heisinger and Malik Hill, both former Eagle players.
Joe Bettencourt, who played his high school baseball at Elk Grove, will be playing lots of first base this season for CRC.
Kilby said the Hawks are ranked number two in Northern California in pre-season rankings, but admitted he isn’t sure how good they’ll be since all but six players from last season’s championship squad have moved on to a four-year college.
Josh Silver, last season’s top player and a former Franklin Wildcat, is now playing for Lee University, an NAIA School in Cleveland, Tenn. Centerfielder Colby Brenner, who played at Elk Grove H.S., is now at Long Beach State.