December 21, 2017
Anyone wondering whether coach Monte Brooks might have been swept up in the hype of managing the Mustangs to three NAIA World Series berths in the past five seasons, can lay the assumption to rest.
Has making it to the division’s biggest stage become the standard?
“It’s not about that,” Brooks said Thursday after the release of his team’s 2018 schedule. “Obviously, we want to get there and win it all. We’d love to win it. But all our desire is to honor the Lord through the effort, one pitch at a time. All our battles belong to the Lord.”
This year, those battles commence on Jan. 19 with a single game in Compton against Marymount California University. The teams will play a double-header at TMU’s Lou Herwaldt Stadium the following day.
The Mustangs — who finished fifth nationally in Lewiston, Idaho, last spring — will play six Golden State Athletic Conference series at home over the next three-plus months. Maybe the toughest of which comes on Feb. 16 and 17, when NAIA No. 8-ranked Hope International (Fullerton) comes to Newhall.
The Mustangs came in 14th in the NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Top 25, and they’ll be led by junior shortstop and All-American candidate Aaron Shackelford (.314 BA, 14 HRs, 51 RBIs, 14 SBs in 2017) and newcomers like two-way player Preston White.
The Dodgers drafted White in the 38th round of the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Birmingham-Southern College. White then transferred to Master’s, where he will play right field and pitch in relief.
Other returners expected to make a major impact are highlighted by center fielder Max Maitland (.340 BA, .456 OBP, 19 RBIs, 11 SBs) and starting pitcher Robert Winslow (2.95 ERA, 9-5 record, 100 Ks, 35 BBs 113 inn.).