Teams to watch: Johansen, hurt by a late-season slump last year, has high hopes for an MMC title this season. Matt Keydeniers (.373, 22 RBIs; 2-2, 3.11 ERA) will bat No. 3, while SS Tyler Love (.989 fielding percentage) is one of the best in the district. Nick McCann (4-1, 1.69 ERA) is on the mound, while Kevin Dix (.340) will play both corner spots. Look for the Vikings to steal more bases. ... Beyer expects a big year from P Kyle Barrett (7-0, 1.02 ERA, 71 Ks), with Blake Barber (.346, 8 2Bs), Joey Roy (.317, 23 SBs) and Vince Roberts (.337, 4 HRs) providing the hitting. ... Waterford looks to improve on last year's second-place finish in the Southern League, with juniors C.J. DeDeaux (.353, 2 HRs, 14 RBIs) and Kyle Hopper (4-1, 2.69) among the five returning starters. Mike Erickson drove in a team-high 16 runs. ... Modesto Christian will need to score in bunches to stay in the TVL race, and it should with a quartet of hitters -- Cisco Green (.467 avg., 27 SBs), J.T. Teixeira (.363), Beyer transfer Patrick White (.397, 20 RBIs) and Ryan McConnell (.371). ... Jack Thomson returns to coach Sierra, after a year off, and he's ready to battle section Division IV champ Oakdale. Sierra started three sophomores last year -- P/1B Jordan Ribota (.258), INF Andy Scott (.293) and P/OF Mark Perusse (.232) -- and the 'Wolves have a power hitter in Andrew Gabriel (.389, 4 HRs, 23 RBIs). Sierra also has six pitchers, three righty and three lefty. ... Escalon fell to Central Catholic in last year's D-V final and has aspirations of returning with an offense led by Jacob Caton (.337, 35 runs), Nick Aprile (.302, 35 runs) and Leighton Pangilinan (.486, 4 HRs, 31 RBIs). Ace Jimmy Zepeda (80-1, 3.11 ERA) returns for his third season, with three sophomores behind him. The TVL gets only two playoff spots -- and there are four quality teams.
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