Gilbert seniors eager to lead team to the top

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PHOENIX - The Gilbert baseball team is loaded with talent this year and eying a run at the 5A-I state title. Two of the state's best seniors are hoping to lead Gilbert over the hump of the semi-finals and win it all.

The team is hungry for a state baseball trophy and 2011 might be the year the pieces finally come together for the Tigers.

A Spring Break tournament gave the team an opportunity to tune up before entering region play. Only bragging rights were up for grabs, but senior catcher Nathaniel Causey looked at the games as a chance to study up on the rivals who stand in the way of the Tigers taking home this year's title.

Causey, senior short stop Drew Stankowicz along with senior pitcher Steve Tarpley are major league prospects.

For Stankowicz, baseball is in his blood. His dad played in the majors but his love for the game drives him to continue playing.

Next year Stankowicz will play baseball at Cal State Fullerton. He isn't looking ahead to that right now as he has fully embraced his role as a leader on the team.

The stars on the team know their role and have the collective talent to lead the Tigers to a state championship.

Heading into last year, Gilbert lost a good chunk of seniors and towards the end of the season fell just short of advancing to the championship game. Some might look at their roster and wonder what is going to be different this year.

Stankowicz said team chemistry and being friends off the field is going to be huge for the team.

There is still a lot of baseball to be played before the post-season and neither of these two leaders, who have big potential at the next level, are looking past the task at hand.

Causey is headed to Arizona State next year. Tarpley, who some say is the state's best pitcher, is coming off an injury and should be back in the line-up in a few weeks.