by Kevin Narro
LA FERIA – After last season getting cut short due to COVID-19, the La Feria Lions have plenty to be optimistic about in 2021.
The Lions will return six to the lineup from last year’s club. Last year, La Feria lost their lone district game played before the season was shut down.
“The kids were excited to be back on the field,” La Feria skipper Joe Vela said. “Last year, the season was cut short, and we didn’t get to finish. The seniors that are back are motivated. Right now, we are being positive and enjoying the season. We know that it can be shut down at any time, so we have been enjoying our time on the field. We go day by day.”
Vela is in his second season as the Lions head coach but in his eighth season
coaching at La Feria. Prior to La Feria, Vela was the head baseball coach at
Brownsville Rivera. On the field, senior Zander Gutierrez will serve as the team’s ace. The hard-throwing righty is currently nursing an injury but is expected to return to the lineup come district play.
The speed of the Lions will be their strength in 2021. Their speed will most notably be in the outfield. Senior Dereck Perez will patrol center-field, junior Aaron Trevino will play left-field while freshman – and Aaron’s brother – Joaquin Trevino will look to make a splash in the outfield.
“We have a lot of depth, that is a plus,” Vela said. “We will still have a challenging year because of (COVID-19). It is going to be different.”
Senior Daniel Lopez will call the balls and strikes, junior Orlando Morales
will lobby between the mound and third base. Fellow junior David Garza will serve as a utility man and play shortstop, catcher and pitcher. Senior Dario Sanchez will play the corners of the infield and split time at first and third base.
Gutierrez, Morales and Perez will look to be the team’s run-producers. The district is shaping up to be a competitive one with Hidalgo always in the mix along with Raymondville, who on paper have the most depth in their rotation.
“It is going to be tough, it always is,” Vela said. “These are all established
programs, and this year Raymondville will be tough to beat. They are tough with their pitching. I feel we can compete. If we are healthy with our pitching, we will be fine.”