Where Ryan Evangelho comes from, playoff appearances, deep postseason runs and contending for a California state championship are just considered part of the yearly routine.

Evangelho, Yuba College's first-year baseball coach, helped build Rocklin's Sierra College into a state power over the past 11 years as an associate head coach and is now ready for his next challenge — restoring Yuba's baseball program to its former glory.

The 49ers once had a reputation to rival what Sierra now possesses. Armed with the top baseball talent in the Yuba-Sutter area, Yuba was considered among the state's elite in baseball.

In a game based on statistics and numbers, Evangelho is mainly concerned with the number 24 — that's the number of years since the 49ers last played postseason baseball. Since 1990, Yuba has not once made the playoffs.

Part of the reason Sierra College has found so much success is the program's ability to keep local talent home. Most of the Wolverines' players over the years have hailed from top prep programs in Placer Country, including Rocklin, Granite Bay, Woodcreek and Del Oro.

Evangelho's main goal to set a similar template here locally, by tapping into Yuba City, River Valley, Sutter, Marysville and other Mid-Valley schools.

"To me, it all starts with recruiting," Evangelho said. "We have to get some players in here because it does take talent to win. We have to keep all of those local talented guys here and get them to buy in to the program."

Evangelho's Yuba College tenure begins tonight at Appeal-Democrat Park where the 49ers open their 2014 campaign against Lassen College under the lights at 5 p.m.

Evangelho is Yuba's fourth baseball coach in the last four seasons following Brian Baisch, Erick Burns and Tim Gloyd. Under Baisch in 2013, the Niners went 19-17 overall and 12-12 in the Bay Valley Conference.

"We'll be happy to get into the playoffs this year and that's our goal," Evangelho said. "We're going to talk about it and not shy away from it. Last year, they had a good year, but kind of faltered toward the end.

"It's a long season and the boys need to understand that it's a roller coaster at times, but you have to be even-keeled."

While the starting lineup will be thin on experience this year, Evangelho will look to his starting rotation to carry the burden.

When he's not serving as the team's starting shortstop, Michael Frantz, will be the staff ace on the hill. An All-BVC second-team selection last year, Frantz pitched 922⁄3 innings, posting a 5-5 record with a 2.33 ERA and 54 strikeouts compared to 10 walks.

Joining him at the top of the rotation is All-BVC first-teamer and local product Ryan Pope of Yuba City. Pope went 5-3 in 2013 with a 2.28 ERA in 67 innings of work.

Pope will also serve as Yuba's designated hitter after hitting .279 last season with a .338 on-base percentage.

Michael Beck of Granite Bay, who served as team's closer in 2013, will fill out the rotation at the No. 3 spot.

"Our chemistry is really good," Pope said. "There's a better vibe this year. Our coaches and players combine really well."

The 49ers have a lost a significant amount of firepower from last year's lineup, namely all-conference catcher Christian Divelbiss, who moved on to the Division I level at the University of Incarnate Word in Texas.

River Valley High product Jake Phillips, who saw action in 14 games last season, is back after batting .345 in limited action.

He will split time at first base with Yuba City's Justin Noreen, an A-D All-Area selection last spring and All-BVC offensive linemen for the 49ers football team.

Marysville's Peter Daley will be throwing down the signs behind the dish. Yuba City's Dallas Cummings is back at second base and Brandon Metoyer (Reno, Nev.) will man third base.

Dustyn Macaluso of Sacramento's El Camino High returns in center field after batting .283 in 2013 with 20 RBIs and 18 runs scored, Ryan Glazner (Colfax) will be in left field and Wheatland product Haydon Liessmann should see plenty of time in right field

Other locals include outfielder Damon Bugarin of Yuba City and right-handed pitcher Tommy Sleva of East Nicolaus.

"There's just a good vibe around the ballpark and everybody loves coach (Evangelho)," Phillips said. "All of us came together and have really bought into to what he's doing. We have a good squad so I think it will be a good year for us."

CONTACT Sports Editor Jimmy Graben at 749-4791.


Friday, vs. Lassen, 5 p.m.

Saturday, vs. Lassen, noon

Tuesday, vs. Butte, 5 p.m.

Feb. 6, at Mission, 2 p.m.

Feb. 8, vs. Mission, 1 p.m.

Feb. 14, vs. Feather River, 5 p.m.**

Feb. 15, vs. Cabrillo, 5 p.m.**

Feb. 18, at Butte, 2 p.m.

Feb. 21, vs. Redwoods, 6 p.m.

Feb. 22, vs. Redwoods, 1 p.m.

Feb. 25, vs. Sierra, 5 p.m.

March 1, at Sierra, 1 p.m.

March 4, vs. Santa Rosa, 2 p.m.

March 6, at Sacramento City, 5 p.m.

March 8, vs. Modesto, 1 p.m.

March 11, vs. Marin, 2 p.m.*

March 13, at Marin, 2 p.m.*

March 15, vs. Marin, 1 p.m.*

March 18, vs. Los Medanos, 2 p.m.*

March 20, at Los Medanos, 2 p.m.*

March 22, vs. Los Medanos, 1 p.m.*

March 25, vs. Menodcino, 2 p.m.*

March 27, at Mendocino, 2 p.m.*

March 29, vs. Mendocino, 1 p.m.*

April 1, vs. Contra Costa, 2 p.m.*

April 3, at Contra Costa, 2 p.m.*

April 5, at Contra Costa, 1 p.m.*

April 8, vs. Laney, 2 p.m.*

April 10, at Laney, 2 p.m.*

April 12, vs. Laney, 1 p.m.*

April 15, at Solano, 2 p.m.*

April 17, vs. Solano, 2 p.m.*

April 18, at Solano, 2 p.m.*

April 22, at Napa Valley, 2 p.m.*

April 24, vs. Napa Valley, 2 p.m.*

April 25, at Napa Valley, 2 p.m.*

* Denotes Bay Valley Conference game

** Denotes Gary Engelken Memorial Tournament

NOTE: All Yuba College home games are played at Appeal-Democrat Park in Marysville.

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