Statistics did not translate to wins as the Magdalena Steers went 7-17 during the 2019 season, the team’s worst record since 2011. It was also third year Head Coach Kyle Candelaria’s worst record as he and his staff faced the tall task of building up a younger group of Steers players.
“We played a tough schedule this year which was the plan,” he said. “It’s about experience and not just wins, especially for the eighth graders coming into their own. Myself and the other coaches can’t wait to put in more work this summer to push the guys in order for them to reach their full potential. These players are definitely heading in the right direction.”
Of its 15 man roster, only two were seniors and six were eighth graders.
The Steers finished 4th in the District 2A-3 standings with only one District victory against Lordsburg on April 13 during the second half of a double header. Batting average, on base percentage, and stolen bases were well above the national average. They struggled hitting the long ball with only one home run on the season.
“Our problem was we couldn’t hit when we needed it most,” Candelaria said. “Base running became our team’s strength and it helped us out of some tough spots but couldn’t win us certain games unfortunately. Hitting is the number one priority this summer.”
Despite the underwhelming Steers season, multi positional player Kyle Julian was named first team all district on the NMAA 2A state roster which was voted on by coaches statewide.
“This season was good,” he said. “We were very young. I preformed my best so far definitely. I was trying to carry last years momentum while also adjusting to being both a pitcher and a catcher. But maybe after a year or two this team can really put things together consistently, which we will. The younger guys got a ton of good experience and we are going to be much improved next season.”
Coach Candelaria has high hopes for his Steers heading into the 2020 season.
“I want to thank the community in Magdalena that has supported these young guys,” he said. “Hang in there with us because this group of Steers is only going to get better as they mature as a team. Our number one concern this offseason is to eliminate poor infield mistakes and increasing the opportune times for our base runners.”
Top overall team performers statistically:
• Isaac Lopez - Batting average of .604, slugging percentage of .792, three 3B, three 2B, 42 stolen bases.
• Kyle Julian - Batting average of .583, slugging percentage of .854, one HR three 3B six 2B, 41 stolen bases, .333 pitching ERA.
• Alec Paez - Pitcher, catcher, short stop. A .500 batting average, 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA as a starting pitcher.
• Echo Ware - Outfielder. OBP of .250, six hits, four stolen bases.