March 1, 2016 - 2:36 pm
Head coach: Joe Hallead, first season
2015 record: 12-20 (2-6 Southwest, fourth)
Returning lettermen (starters): Twelve (five)
Top players: OF Blake Porter (Sr.), 3B J.D. Brooks (Jr.), 1B Sam Powers (Sr.), 2B Mitchell Rathbun (Sr.), SS Ryan Merino (Jr.), OF Cobi Fiechtner (Sr.), P/OF Dylan Orlando (Jr.)
Outlook: Hallead, who had a 182-138 record in 15 seasons at Camas (Washington) High and served as an assistant at Sierra Vista last year, takes over a team that brings back 12 lettermen but has gone through its share of coaching changes in recent years.
“New coach from out of state, new look, new focus at Palo,” Hallead said. “The players have bought into the new system since last May. They have worked extremely hard, and now it is time to put the product on the field. We are very excited.”
Brooks (.424 average, 4 home runs, 29 RBIs), Powers (.391, 13 RBIs) and Fiechtner (.373, 14 RBIs) should be among the leaders on offense.
“There is a lot of experience back this year with every starter getting quality varsity (repetitions) last year,” Hallead said. “The pitching staff, led by Dylan Orlando, is deep with talent and will be a key factor to the team’s success. Defensively, this team is solid.”