CAC baseball upgrading facilities
Joe Perez/CAC Baseball
SIGNAL PEAK — Central Arizona College has one of the best junior college baseball programs in the nation. Anthony Gilich says it's time for the facilities to catch up.
The Vaqueros head coach has been talking about upgrades since he took over the team in 2015.
Gilich is very grateful for the support his team receives from the community, and his pride for the program makes him strive for the best at every level, including facilities.
"I think the athletic talent we have and the quality of people in our program are second to none, but our facilities are behind," he told PinalCentral by phone Thursday. "We need to be a frontrunner (with facilities) … If we can make this a special place, maybe this can be a springboard to another project after that."
When CAC goes on the road to play opponents in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, Gilich sees other schools with much more updated facilities, and he said the Vaqueros need to have facilities that are more in line with the success of the program.
That success includes two national championships and a consistent history of getting players drafted by MLB teams — four sophomores, two alums and another four incoming freshmen just in the 2017 draft. Vaqueros drafted in 2017 included sophomore pitchers Ryley Widell (7th round, Minnesota Twins) and Peyton Remy (17th round, Chicago Cubs).
CAC went 42-23 last season and advanced to the Western District Championship before falling just one win short of the NJCAA World Series.
Gilich said it's "a shame" that a prideful program like CAC doesn't have facilities that match up with its conference competitors.
The infield has already been reseeded, and work was also done on the grass near both dugout areas.
The pitcher's mound is also getting a Major League-facelift.
"We rebuilt the mound and added some new stabilizer mix," he said. "It should be done by the weekend."
The work on the mound is being done by Stabilizer Solutions, the same company that does the mound for the Arizona Diamondbacks and multiple minor league teams, Gilich said.
What Gilich really wants — although he admitted it's only a possibility at this point — is a new hitting facility.
Unless it's a prohibitive expense, he'd like to have upgraded batting cages, housed under a roof with lights and music. It would allow players to hit any time they want. The players are even more excited about the possibility than he is — and it doesn't hurt recruiting efforts to have such attractive facilities.
The baseball field is also having laser leveling done on the infield, a process that uses lasers to move dirt around with a grading device equipped with automated control. They're often mounted to machines such as tractors or bulldozers.
Laser leveling improves the accuracy and consistency of the grade and also enhances the drainage, safety and appearance of the field.
The outfield still needs considerable work and will be overseeded again in October.
But Gilich said improving the baseball facilities is also about giving a better experience to the fans. He figures a better baseball field will lead to more people wanting to watch the games.
"We want to get other people excited and get more fans to come," he said.
Gilich has been working hard to collect money through fundraisers and donations over the last three years and continues to do so.
Those interested in donating to the baseball team or those who have questions can contact Gilich at (520) 494-5404 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.