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Cal Poly Baseball heads into 2023 with youth movement

Posted at 10:41 PM, Feb 17, 2023

The Cal Poly Baseball team opened their 2023 season at home against Missouri State.

"Playing on Friday night at Baggett Stadium is one of the most unbelievable and unexplainable feelings that I've experienced as a baseball player," said First Baseman Joe Yorke. "I get goosebumps just thinking about opening night."

The 2023 Mustangs enter the year with a much more youthful squad.

"It's a new team, a total rebuild," said Head Coach Larry Lee. "We really have three of our position players back, two catchers, and first baseman."

The familiar faces are limited from the starting 2022 roster.

"We have Joe Yorke and Collin Villegas, Ryan Stafford, and then one of our weekend starters on the mound," said Lee. "It's going to be a lot of new faces."

"We've got a lot of new guys this year, so it's really important to have guys like myself and some other players that have been here that can just teach the younger guys the right way to do things and hopefully build them up so they can feel confident going into opening weekend," said Catcher Ryan Stafford.

"Rebuilds, it's a cool word for the town and for people around here," said Yorke. "They're going to be excited that this team is going to be really good in a couple of years. That's not a word that we use. We're here now and we're going to win now."

The Mustangs are coming off of a 37-21 season with a team led by star shortstop Brooks Lee and starting pitcher Drew Thorpe.

"Last year, I learned so much being around those guys," said Stafford. "I know a lot of guys didn't get the opportunity to learn from Brooks and Drew while they weren't here last year. Brooks has been around and you can see his work ethic and how he does everything on a daily basis."

"He comes out here and is working just as hard as he was when he was here as a student," said Yorke. "I learn a lot from that."

While Brooks Lee is making a push to play for the Minnesota Twins in the near future, his impact continues to be felt at his alma mater.

"I learned a lot from him as a leader," said Yorke. "He was a guy that people really listened to and looked up to. I'm trying to fill those shoes as a leader this year."

The 2023 season will be different for Larry Lee with the departure of his son for the MLB Draft.

"I had an opportunity to spend time with Brooks day-in and day-out," said Lee. "You can't replace that. It was emotional towards the end."

Lee says he doesn't take this opportunity of coaching for granted.

"I'm looking forward to another year and hopefully we get off to a good start.," said Lee.