Yoe baseball team looking for another great year in 2023
The Cameron Yoemen baseball team hopes to build on the terrific season they had in 2022 and hopes to run deep in the playoffs again this year.
They finished with a record of 21-9-1 and a district record of 8-3 and made the playoffs, losing in the Regional Semifinals to the eventual state contender Diboll Lumberjacks.
This year, they will have a new head coach at the helm, Nick De La Cerda. De La Cerda began his coaching carreer at Dripping Springs from 2016-2019. After that, he coached at Hillsboro during the pandemic season in 2020. For the past two years he was an assistant coach at Prosper and is now ready for a new start in Cameron.
“I grew up in New Braunfels,” De La Cerda said. “Coach Rhoades has known me my entire life. He actually coached my dad, and I just like the small town. I like the small-town aspect of the community and tradition, and living in the city at the time just wasn’t the best thing for me and my family. I got young kids, and we like to be outdoors. We were far from family at the time up in DFW and now we’re in the middle of both our families. It’s been a fun journey so far.”
He will be inheriting nine players from last season: Tyler Martin, Connor Jeter, Marino Cardona, Ryan Host, Armando Reyes, Landen Greene, Dillan Akin, Braylon Drake, and Kason Goolsby.
“Having Landen Greene come back is a big one, a catcher behind the plate (Dillan Akin) that’s done it for three years is another good one, and kids like Marino Cardona, Ryan Host, Armando Reyes,” he said. “Having those kids back that have been in those runs the past two years really helps, you just got competitors. Braylon Drake, I think, is going to be a big help. As you see him on the football field the kid just competes, and he’s going to do the little things. The only puzzle piece that we’re trying to figure out is, in the past having Tracer, you knew he was at shortstop, and it was easier to put someone at second base when Host had to pitch. Well now with Host playing shortstop this year, it’s going to be: Who’s playing short when Host is pitching? Who’s playing third when Greene is pitching?”
“That’s really the only, I wouldn’t say downfall, but the only puzzle piece we’re trying to find,” he said. “ We’ve had kids compete for it, and I think inner team competition really drives their performance. Coming to practice and seeing the kids work every day in BP (batting practice) and during our drills, and during our ground balls. They’re hungry to be that person that can step into a big role. I think we have some potential. We got a shot.”
For the next two years, the Cameron Yoemen will be having a new set of district opponents due to the new district reclassification and realignment. The Yoemen will not be moving anywhere as they will remain in Region 3 District 19. They will have many familiar opponents: Lexington, Little River Academy, Rogers, and Rockdale. They will be losing Florence to district 5 and Caldwell to 4A and in their place they are getting three new teams. Those three teams are McGregor, Lorena, and Troy.
“It’s six one way, half a dozen the next,” he said. “You’re playing teams that don’t really know you or know the kids, but at the same time, Cameron played Lorena in the playoffs last year. I think we are in the toughest district in the state of Texas. If you look at Texas High School Magazine, and they talk about Region 3, they talk about our district and how there’s three Top 20 teams in it. So, I don’t think it would’ve mattered if it was realignment or not. It’s going to be a tough district and there’s going to be some good baseball being played.”
The Yoemen will be starting the season ranked No. 11 in the state in 3A. De La Cerda feels that as good as that looks, it is not the main focus of the team, and they plan to take the season week by week.
“The kids were like it is what it is,” he said. “Some of them had some sour taste in their mouths. Like I told them, I said my first year at Prosper, we were #1 in 6A, and we got bounced in the third round. So, rankings don’t matter in my opinion. I told the kids I don’t care if our name was even on the list, because what we’re trying to do is create a winning culture, and if all you do is care about rankings, you’re caring about the wrong thing. I think they’ve taken that mindset of it’s us versus the world.”