ACCAL Baseball preview

Two-time defending champion Berkeley feels as if it hasn’t always recieved the respect it deserves the last two seasons. But the Yellow Jackets went out and did something about it, winning the league outright both years.

So, until someone knocks them off, the Yellow Jackets are favored to win it all.

Not to say, El Cerrito, Encinal and Alameda won’t be breathing down their necks.

Pitcher Mario Hollands is the name that pops in every coach’s head when talking about the Gauchos. But Hollands, the ACCAL Most Valuable Pitcher last season, can’t do it all by himself. With pitcher and first-team selection Doug Murray by his side, Hollands won’t have to.

Both the Hornets and Jets return experienced squads, but the team to keep an eye on is Pinole Valley.

First-year coach Ben Juarez, who has developed a plethora of talent at the youth level, tries his hand with the Spartans. Juarez wants to build not just a team but a program by bringing consistency and professionalism. His reasoning: If 12-year-olds can do it, why not high schoolers?

Richmond coach Andre Williams, also in his first season, wants to do the same. He too is involved heavily at the youth level in Richmond and hopes to instill more confidence in the Oilers, a team that has finished in last place or near the bottom the last five seasons.

Hercules has improved and so has De Anza. These teams could play spoiler late in the season.