Bickford and Lucero Bring Baseball Early Success

Right to Left: Lucero with bat, Coach Bryan Maloney, Coach Sean Larimer, Pitching coach Bryan Gidge (photos courtesy of Alessandro Giampaolo)

Right to Left: Lucero with bat, Coach Bryan Maloney, Coach Sean Larimer, Pitching coach Bryan Gidge (photos courtesy of Alessandro Giampaolo)

By Devin Virissimo

Before you finish reading this sentence a 94-mile-per-hour fastball could have whizzed by you at least three times. Hitting that ball is almost impossible; it is even harder when the pitcher and catcher are totally in sync with one another.

College of Southern Nevada’s Coyotes baseball team has a dynamic pitcher and catcher duo of Phil Bickford and Reece Lucero. This fastball pitcher and defensive catcher struck out 40 batters in 20-and-a-third innings this season so far, according to team statistics.

While they have only worked with one another since the beginning of January, they have already developed a strong competitive bond that will help lead the Coyotes into battle this season.

“It’s nice to have a good connection and good friend behind the dish,” Bickford said. Lucero and Bickford quickly became friends, neighbors and roommates on the road. They have created early momentum that the rest of the team feeds off of.

“Phil and I connect well,” said Lucero, before joking about how competitive they are off the field.

That connection is vital on the field and no one understands that more than Head Baseball Coach Nick Garritano.

“A pitcher has to have 100 percent trust in his catcher,” Garritano said. “The chemistry has to be unbelievable.”

The Coyotes entered the season ranked second in the country amongst all junior-college teams. Heading into conference play, it holds an 11-5 record with an eight-game winning streak, most recently sweeping the Scenic West Athletic Conference Pre-Season Round Robin tournament held at the Henderson Campus.

Garritano stresses the amount of pressure on Bickford during games. He’s concerned with runs scored and how each pitch builds to his future in the big leagues.

“CSN has never had a potential first-round draft pick on the mound,” Garritano said.

In order for the team and Bickford to be successful, Lucero must be focused at all times. His impressive abilities received much attention this season so far leading to Division 1 calls about him, Garritano noted.

With the guidance of the coaching staff, the duo agree that the main focus on the field is winning each and every pitch.

Lucero relays what he sees from the batter and calls for the pitches he believes will be the most successful.

“I trust what Reece puts out there,” Bickford said.

Lucero is strong with Bickford; he is also good with other pitchers. They trust him, what he knows and what he can do. If they get off course, Lucero is quick to help get the best out of them, Garritano said.

CSN Coyotes baseball last won the national championship in 2003. It has hopes of doing it again this year.

Coyotes Baseball Team Spring 2015

Coyotes Baseball Team Spring 2015

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