Anticipating the first pitch with Chico State Baseball


Alejandro Mejia Mejia

Chico State baseball players are walking down the first base line getting ready to start doing infield drills during practice at Nettleton Stadium.

For the first time since March 28, 2020, the No. 25 ranked Chico State Baseball team will begin their 2022 season in a four-game series against the Saint Martin’s Saints. 

After not playing any scheduled games for two years, the Wildcats have added several new faces to the team, including freshman pitcher Cayden Castellanos.

“There hasn’t been a game here in a couple of years,” Castellanos said, “we’re just excited to get it going.” 

With over 40 games scheduled this season, help will be needed from the bullpen, and Castellanos is looking forward to when his name gets called to help the team when they need him to produce. 

“This year I plan on coming out of the bullpen whenever coach Taylor needs me. I’m looking to get outs this year,” Castellanos said. “I just want to help the team as much as I can, I have goals set for myself, but whatever I can do to help the team.” 

Between COVID-19 ending the 2020 season in March, and not being able to have a season last year, there were lots of players that did not return to this year’s team. 

The Wildcats added 30 new players to their 36 man roster. Even with all of the changes this team feels that they are ready, and anticipating how they will play this season.

Pictured here is two pitchers playing catch with catchers on the opposite side of each other.
Pictured from left to right. Rylan Tinsley and Brian Gowdy are warming up with catchers, Jarrett Lindsay and Michael Bennin.

Returning junior infielder Willie Lajoie is optimistic about this group. He believes that they have a roster that can do a lot of good things for the program this upcoming season. 

“Our expectations are high. I think we have a good squad. I think we can do a lot of good things together, we haven’t played anyone yet, but I am interested in how we play together,” Lajoie said.

During a team meeting the team set some goals that they want to meet by the end of the season, including winning the California College Athletic Association Title. 

“Our goal is to win the CCAA, that is the main goal,” Lajoie said. “Then get to the regional, then we’ll see how far we can take it from there. But the first goal is to win the CCAA.” 

Nevertheless, the team will be taking this season one game at a time, said coach Dave Taylor, who is entering his 16th season as head coach. 

Head coach Dave Taylor watching his players run infield drills.
Head coach Dave Taylor watching the Wildcat baseball team do some defensive infield practice.

“We chose some lofty goals, which I think are obtainable,” Taylor said. “We will just have to go out there and get our feet wet and tread water slowly and not get too excited if we start out hot, and not get too upset if it doesn’t go our way early on.”

With all of the changes in the roster, the coaches and players are more than ready to have their season back and are looking forward to what is ahead of them in the next couple of months. 

“I’m excited for my guys, I mean they’ll look back 30 years from now and go ‘we were the college group that was affected the most by COVID and making adjustments to our everyday lives’ and I can’t speak highly enough of the sacrifices they have made,” Taylor said.

Photo of the main entrance of Nettleton Stadium
Picture of Nettleton Stadium where the baseball team will be hosting opponents during home games during the 2022 season.

The first game for the Wildcats this season will be Friday at Nettleton Stadium against the Saint Martin’s Saints with the first pitch at 2 p.m. The series against the Saints will continue with a doubleheader, with games starting at noon and then 3 p.m. on Saturday. The series will finish with the final game at 11 a.m. on Sunday. 

Alejandro Mejia Mejia can be reached at or @mejiamejialex on Twitter.