After winning just 11 games in 2018, the Garden City Wind are looking forward to a fresh start in 2019.
Under new — and also former player — manager David Peterson, the Wind will get going at 6:30 p.m. Thursday vs. the Trinidad, Colo., Triggers at Clint Lightner Field. Peterson played for the Wind in their inaugural 2015 season, and then managed the Pecos League club in 2017, when they went 20-43.
“I wanted to be back,” Peterson said of returning to Garden City, after managing the California City Whiptails to a playoff appearance in 2018. “I loved playing here in 2015, and I enjoyed managing here in 2017.”
But 2018 was a low point for Garden City, going 11-51 and finishing last in the Mountain Division. Peterson is charged with turning that around — with a brand new roster that does not have a single returning player.
“I think the first thing is bringing in a winning culture, with guys who have won in the past,” Peterson said. “We have a total of five championship rings in this clubhouse, plenty of playoff experience — I took my team to the playoffs last season.”
And he brought five of those players from California City to Garden City this year, including first baseman Nick Snyder, who hit .327 with 23 home runs and 77 RBIs in 62 games.
Peterson also brought over starting pitcher Rich Edwards, who threw the first game of the Whiptails’ postseason series a year ago. He’ll make the season-opening start on Thursday, as well.
“There’s no bigger competitor in the league,” Peterson said.
Peterson added guys like that with what he said was a good mix of rookies and veterans.
“Off the bat, I really wanted to go out and find good rookies,” Peterson said. “That’s really the cornerstone of the ball club, bringing in guys who are going to grind, guys who are hungry, guys that are new to the league that want to make a name for themselves. And then from there, it’s guys who have won, a guy like Shane Brown who has been in professional baseball for a long time.”
Brown was drafted by the New York Yankees in both 2009 and 2010, before eventually leaving affiliated ball after the 2013 season. He played both the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the High Desert Yardbirds in the Pecos League Pacific Division.
He hit .271 with 10 home runs in 52 games a year ago.
“We’re all out here chasing our dreams,” Snyder said. “We’re just trying to do our best, and if everybody does what their job is here … we should have no problem winning games here.”
Pecos League notes
After having three, four-team divisions a year ago (Pacific, Mountain and Southern), the Pecos League is going back to a two-division setup in 2019. The Wind will be joined by Alpine, White Sands, Trinidad, Roswell and Santa Fe in the Mountain.
The Pacific Division is comprised of Bakersfield, California City, Wasco, Monterey, Tucson and High Desert.