ATWATER — John Boyett knows Rollo Adams set a high bar.
Adams, the Atwater Aviators’ first head coach, led the college wood-bat team to five playoff appearances in five seasons, two titles and an impressive 167-83-1 record.
Boyett, who has been an assistant at Merced College and Pitman High School during the last 10 years, hopes to keep the winning tradition going in his first head coaching gig. Atwater will open the 2014 season with a four-game home stand this weekend. The Aviators play host to the Solano Mudhens at Memorial Ballpark tonight at 7. The two teams will meet again on Saturday and then Atwater will close the weekend with a doubleheader against the San Francisco Seagulls on Sunday.
“Our intention is to win it all,” Boyett said. “Rollo got the team in the playoffs every year since they got started and I plan on keeping that streak going.”
Boyett’s first mission as the Aviators’ skipper was to build a roster loaded with local talent.
Of the 24 players on his roster, 11 have local ties and seven have some experience with him from Merced College. Included in the group are former Merced High and MC stars Andrew Jaurique (University of Albany), Mike Nelson (Reinhardt University), Matthew Farias (Holy Names University), departing MC sophomores Brent Backlund and Robby Dallas and former Buhach Colony star Kert Woods (Santa Clara).
“I definitely wanted to get a number more local kids because that’s the only way your going to get some community support,” Boyett said. “We have some good players coming in from outside the area, but the bulk of the local fans want to see kids they know.
“This also gives the local guys an alternative to having to go away to play their summer ball. Having so many guys familiar with me and my style should really help out in this first year. Guys like Backland and Dallas already know what needs to get done during warmups, so they can lead with that while I focus on other things.”
The Aviators will compete in the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League for the second consecutive season and try to improve upon last year’s second-place finish. Boyett said he’s looking forward to the challenge of being a head coach and the difference in approach required for the league’s schedule.
“You definitely have to monitor how you use your arms and dividing up playing time,” Boyett said. “One of the best things about being around so many great coaches over the years, especially (Chris) Pedretti, is you feel pretty prepared.
“And if I need help, I know those guys are available for me to pick their brains.”
Sun-Star staff writer Sean Lynch can be reached at (209) 385-2476 or email@example.com.