“It was fun. I totally enjoyed it,” Phenix said. “It went fast. Once it starts, it seems like it flies by. Sometimes it seems like you don’t have enough time to do all the things you want to.”
There were some expected growing pains early on in the spring campaign with the shuffling of lineups and trying to figure out the pitching rotation.
However, once things got settled and players began to step up, it was an entirely different Raiders team.
Prior to spring break, Reed was only 10-7 overall and 6-6 in league play. The Raiders competed in Spanish Springs’ spring break tourney. While the Blue and Gold wasn’t overly successful in the tournament, the results during the second half of the regular season could not be ignored.
Reed went 8-2 in its final 10 league games to finish with the sixth seed. That run included a season-ending sweep over cross-town rival Spanish Springs. That was one of the highlights of the season as the Raiders also swept Bishop Manogue. The Miners and Cougars were the top two seeds for the playoffs.
The only team that swept Reed was Reno, which proceeded to win the North regional tournament.
The Raiders went 1-2 in the regional playoffs to finish with a 20-13 record.
“Because of how many places we had to fill, I was very happy with what we accomplished,” Phenix said. “I would have liked to have gone one or two more games in Zone because that was our goal. I thought we had the pitching depth to go a little further. Those things happen. Looking back at the year, we played a lot of different lineups different ways. Once we established a pretty decent lineup, then our success started coming.”
Most expected Mark Nowaczewski, who had signed to pitch for the University of Nevada, to be the Raiders’ ace on the mound this spring. But it was Thomas Sertic who emerged as the go-to guy for most of the season.
“He big time stepped up. He was our No. 1 guy on the mound for most of the year,” Phenix said. “Everybody knew about Nowaczewski and Chris Flores was kind of the hidden factor. Chris had a good year for us.”
Phenix said that his first year back went smoothly.
“We had a lot of cooperation. The kids were very good,” Phenix said. “The coaching staff we had, it was really fun to work with because everybody really worked. It was a matter of us trying to mold things. I told them that we needed to be patient because we were going to make a lot of mistakes early and get better as we go. The kids’ attitude was great all year. I never heard negative things coming out of anybody. There was disappointment at the end, but that was disappointment after a tough loss. The kids coming back know what it takes now.”
Phenix also believes the team can build on the success that was achieved this year.
“I think the juniors and the sophomores know how hard it is to get to Zone in our league and once you get there, what it takes to win,” Phenix said. “Reno proved it. I didn’t think Reno was the most talented team in the league at all, but Reno did what they needed to do to win. They don’t beat themselves.”