When Evan Chalmers became aware about the opening for a baseball head coach at Newport Harbor High he said he applied right away.
He wanted another chance to lead the Sailors, as he did four years ago before he was abruptly let go without given a reason. A little more than two months ago, Chalmers, who remained a teacher at Harbor and worked as an assistant for rival Corona del Mar's baseball team, was put in charge of the Sailors' baseball team once again.
Since then he grew more excited to lead a team that features two Division I-bound pitchers. The anticipation apparently carried into Thursday's season opener at Newport Harbor.
"Are you kidding me," Chalmers said after being asked what it felt like to return as coach. "My heart was pumping before the game. I was very excited to be here again. It gave me chills. It was awesome."
His players were plenty excited too. They overpowered Los Angeles Cathedral, 6-0, in the Foothill Pool of the Newport Elks Tournament and provided evidence that this could be a big year.
"This is the best shot we have to do something great in my four years here," said Shaun Vetrovec, the UC Irvine-bound pitcher who shut out Cathedral with nine strikeouts, while allowing two hits in six innings.
He said it was his longest action in a while, as he has been resting a bone bruise in his right wrist the past two months.
He also helped his win with two hits, including a run-scoring double. Vetrovec said he and Connor Seabold sometimes playfully talk about who can have a better outing to push each other to do well.
Seabold, who is bound for Cal State Fullerton, will get his chance on Saturday, when he starts at Mission Viejo.
Seabold, the Sailors' leadoff hitter, hit a single, drew two walks, scored three runs and had three stolen bases.
Seabold and Vetrovec both drew walks in the first inning, when senior catcher Tk McWhertor brought them in with a big single. McWhertor also had a double in the third inning.
The Sailors scored three runs in the fourth. Jake Genova drove in Seabold. Genova scored after Vetrovec's double and Vetrovec crossed the plate on an error. Each run was scored with two outs.
"We just want to be aggressive this year," said Chalmers, whose team produced 10 hits. "And play great behind the great pitching we have."
Newport Harbor will certainly have greater challenges ahead, especially in the Sunset League. But Chalmers believes in the talent on his team.
Patrick Murphy had coached Newport Harbor the past four years and led the Sailors to the playoffs in his first year in 2010. It was Newport Harbor's first playoff appearance in 20 years.
Chalmers is confident the Sailors will contend for a playoff spot this year.
"We should be able to make a run in league," Chalmers said. "I expect us to be in the running [for a playoff spot]."
Newport Elks Tournament
Newport Harbor 6, Cathedral 0
SCORE BY INNINGS
Cathedral 000 000 0 – 0 3 1
Newport 200 301 x – 6 10 1
Rosas, Munoz (4), Artica and Hernandez, Vetrovec, Ogburn (7) and McWhertor. W – Vetrovec, 1-0. L – Rosas. 2B – Vetrovec (NH), McWhertor (NH).