70° F Saturday, April 29, 2017

At first glance, the 2013 Lake Travis baseball team appears inexperienced, especially compared to last season’s senior-laded state semifinalist squad.

Behind No. 1 starter Daniel Castano and all-state first baseman Baker Mayfield, the Cavaliers are ripe with players who haven’t started at the varsity level.

Lake Travis will replace seven starters, but the players coming in have some experience the higher level, and the junior varsity team was very successful last season.

Troy Carter started some last season before an injury and Trenton Ray caught some. Chris Garcia pitched for the Cavs before they hit district play, and Lake Travis baseball coach Roy Kinnan pointed to players such as Nico Escalante and Wes Whitehair as well.

“We have several kids with experience,” Kinnan said. “We were fortunate we had a very solid JV, and we have outstanding juniors to pair with the seniors. We looked at it as reloading. We feel pretty good even though we’re replacing seven starters.”

On the mound, Kinnan feels the staff is even deeper than the Cavs’ quality arms of a year ago.

After Castano, the starting slots are still up for the taking, with seniors Garcia, Cameron Vilven, and juniors Gordie White, Alex Shelton, Connor Mays, Bryce Bar, Brent Triolo and Harrison Fife in the mix. Lefty senior Hunter Hendrix will work out of the bullpen for Lake Travis.

“We’ve been here so long, the kids understand what’s going on with the program,” Kinnan said. “We’ve got several kids that throw the ball well. We really think we’ve got six, seven guys we can give the ball to to start. It starts with pitching, and we feel pretty good about it.”

The Cavs will host a portion of the CenTex Hardball Classic with six games spanning Thursday-Saturday.

Lake Travis hosts Dallas Jesuit at 2:45 p.m. and Odessa at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Then, the Cavs have San Antonio Central at 5:15 p.m. and Magnolia at 7:30 p.m. Friday, followed by FB Travis at 9:30 a.m. and O’Connor at 2:15 p.m. Saturday.

The first of three tournaments for the Cavs, Kinnan plans on playing plenty of the roster to help solidify roles.

“We’ll use those to get varsity experience,” he said. “I’m confident about getting in playoffs and making a deep run because of our depth and pitching.”

Lake Travis played to a 13-12 loss against Hays and beat McNeil 6-2 Saturday, and are 3-2 in scrimmages.

“I’m pretty pleased with the kids; they’ve responded well together and meshed well,” Kinnan said.

Westwood, Pflugerville and Cedar Park will host the other games during the CenTex Hardball Classic.

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