NEW ROADS — A one-year absence from the playoffs has Head Coach Sean Brookes itching to return to the postseason.

New Roads’ baseball coach has been with the team for 10 years with last season being the lone time his Jaguars have missed the playoffs. Talk about motivation.

“Last year was a rebuilding year,” Brookes said. “We’ve had some good talent come in, kids that have worked really hard and that’s what’s showing.”

The team is on track to eclipse last season’s 5-15 record, posting an 11-5 mark this year and a hold of first place in the Harbor League. That success on the diamond has translated into a no. 3 ranking in the latest California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 7 poll.

This year’s fast start gives the veteran coach hope that a return to the playoffs is in the Jaguars’ future, but he is quick to say, “We’re nowhere near done.”

Just two games into the league portion of the team’s schedule, New Roads has already notched a 5-1 win against one of the league’s powers, Animo Leadership. The Jaguars will face them again today at 2 p.m., with playoff implications on the table. The game will be held at North Venice Little League.

“I expect more out of them,” Brookes said. “They didn’t show up to play on Friday.”

New Roads will again look to sophomore Anthony Carrillo to take the mound.

The 5-foot-9 starter has been impressive in leading New Roads’ pitching staff. He’s recorded a 4-1 record, with a 1.97 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 32 innings. Brookes said that he’s clearly the team’s top starter and will look to him as often as possible as the team progresses into its league schedule.

“He has a good, live fast ball,” Brookes said of Carrillo. “He’s not the tallest kid in the world, but he gets the most out of it.

“I expect him to be All-CIF this year.”

When Carrillo isn’t on the mound, he plays in center field. At the plate, he’s hitting .460 with 22 runs batted in.

Carrillo’s emergence has helped blunt the pain of losing fellow pitcher Niko Delgado. He was expected to contribute atop the rotation, but an arm injury has forced Brookes to “shut him down” for the foreseeable future.

In Delgado’s absence, junior hurler Quinn Barbini has proven to be a player Brookes can expect to give it his all.

“He’s really stepped up and pitched well,” Brookes said.

daniela@smdp.com

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