Tyler Imbach is one of two returners on the Palos Verdes baseball team, and coach Alex Morales already thinks the 2020 season can be a big one for the Sea King catcher.
"(Imbach) is a great kid who we entrusted with a ton of responsibility last season," Morales said. "We allowed him and the pitching staff to call their own game and try and control the (opponents) running game."
Having already committed to the University of San Francisco, the 6-foot-2 Imbach finished his junior season hitting .315 and driving in 19 runs while belting five home runs.
Another returning position player is Andrew Peterson, who drove in 16 runs during the 2019 campaign while hitting .333.
The lone pitcher with varsity experience on the mound is Ryan Anderson. As a sophomore, Anderson compiled a 1.60 ERA over 43 innings while posting a record of 4-2.
Aside from Imbach, Peterson and Anderson, PV's experience on the varsity level is thin.
"We have a few returners with varsity experience. (Imbach, Peterson and Anderson) have that, and had success last year," Morales said. "We're expecting big things from all three of them."
Morales has seen a few sophomores already answer the bell.
Jack O'Connor threw 7 shutout innings during PV's 1-0 loss in 8 innings to Los Alamitos Saturday Feb. 15. Ryan Roche (pitcher/infielder), Jamie Robertson (outfielder) and Jake Fogle (pitcher) are three other sophomores who will begin the season at the varsity level, and Morales isn't going to shy away from calling up those who deem themselves worthy.
"We expect at least another three sophomores to contribute this season," Morales said. "We wouldn't be surprised if at some point a few freshman get some experience on the variety level."
Morales isn't counting any contributor out, especially senior outfielder Daniel Johnson.
"(Johnson) didn't play a ton, but he could be a big part of our team this season," Morales said.
Last year, PV earned an at-large bid to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs after a third-place finish in the Bay League, beating Segerstrom 5-0 in a wild card game before falling to Long Beach Poly 5-4 in the first round of the playoffs. PV finished the 2019 season with a 17-13 record
This year, Morales has continued what he and his predecessors have done: create a tough nonleague schedule to ready the Sea Kings for Bay League play.
PV will compete in the El Segundo and Redondo tournaments, and will also face Great Oak (2019 CIF-SS Division 3 champion), three of the four Torrance schools (South, West and Torrance), San Pedro and the 2019 L.A. City Section champion, Narbonne.
In league, PV will face division 1 powers Mira Costa and Redondo before ending the season with a home-and-home with rival Peninsula (April 27 & 29).
"We expect it to be a competitive league - it always is," Morales said. "But it is high school baseball, and we understand that. Anything can happen on any given day. We're lucky to have so many talented players and well-coached teams in the Bay League."
Despite the lack of experience, Morales does not feel that it will hinder the Sea Kings.
"We're gonna go out, play hard, continue to improve and have fun," Morales said. "We know we can compete with anyone, and the team goals are the usual: win the Bay League, get in the dance (CIF-SS playoffs) and make a run. We know we have our work cut out for us, but it should be fun. If it were easy, it wouldn't mean much."