BLOOMFIELD — Bloomfield baseball coach Frank DeHoyos knew the first few weeks of the season would be a challenge.
Four key players, including the top of the starting pitching rotation and a pair of senior leaders, wouldn't be available until they wrapped up the basketball season.
While the two seasons overlapped, the Bobcats dropped their first two games — falling to Shiprock 5-3 and Bernalillo 9-2. But they have now won two out of three and placed second at the Bloomfield Invitational this weekend, losing 5-1 to Moab, Utah, in the final, with the hoopsters back in the lineup.
Helping lead the charge and making the transition from the gym to the diamond are seniors Adriano Stevenson and Brendon Charley, who have taken over their leadership roles on the team.
"This year, Adriano came in like, 'I'm a senior, I'm here, I'm ready to go.' I think he picked up a lot of the leadership. And Brendon is a quiet leader. He leads by example," DeHoyos said. "To watch (those) come out and have success early is great. It couldn't happen to better kids."
Both were starters for the Bobcat basketball team, and on the baseball field, they make up two-thirds of the outfield and represent two of the top arms on the mound.
Charley and Stevenson said they're still transitioning to baseball and working themselves into baseball shape — particularly on the mound — but neither seemed to be playing catchup during the weekend.
In Thursday's 10-6 win over Gallup, Stevenson went 3 for 3 at the plate.
"It's all coming back to me. After (Thursday) night's game and (Friday) night's game, I feel good," Stevenson said. "I'm going out every game and playing it like it's my last one. I'm excited about what we're going to do this year."
During Friday night's 4-2 win over Grants, Charley reached safely on his three at-bats, recording a triple and a double, and reaching after Grants' shortstop couldn't handle a hard-hit grounder.
Against Grants, Stevenson, a lefty, got the start on the bump for the Bobcats and gave up one run in the third before Charley took over in relief in the third and dominated the next few innings to earn the win.
The successful weekend for Charley and Stevenson and the Bobcats is just what the team needed to gain confidence and momentum during the nondistrict schedule.
The Bobcats will head to Goddard's tourney in Roswell March 16-18, then will have doubleheaders against St. Michael's, Belen, Los Alamos and Grants before diving into the District 1-5A schedule.
"We're still getting better every day. I've only been back for a week, but I can see everybody is starting to get really involved," Charley said. "Going into district, I think we need to have as many wins as possible. I think having confidence when we go out and face Farmington and Aztec will be really important because I think those two are going to be our biggest competitors. We just need to play baseball."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.