The Portage Padres are just over a week away from their return to the diamond.

The 2022 Santa Clara Baseball League Champions can't wait for things to get going, according to second baseman Landon Thompson. He says the team may look more youthful than the fans remember.

"We have quite a few new younger guys coming out this year. That's really good to see. We want this team to continue on and stay competitive in the future," Thompson explains.

The league will consist of six teams this season, including the returning Minnedosa Mavericks. Thompson says Minnedosa was one of their biggest rivals at one point in time and notes it's great to have them back in the fold.

While the Padres are defending champions, they missed out on the provincial tournament last season. The number one team in the standings after the regular season is the one that competes in the provincial championship.

"We're going into the season hoping for the best," Thompson continues. "At the end of the day, it's more about having fun and getting out there. If we get a few wins, that's always a plus."

Portage is eleven days away from their home opener against the Plumas Pirates. Thompson describes the type of team he believes they will put onto the field on opening night.

"We have some pretty good pitching. Joey Moffatt, he's a really good young pitcher. Ryan Botterill, he was a really good pitcher for us, too, last year," says Thompson. "We play some pretty good defence but mostly we like to have fun."

The Padres have a 14-game season that spans from May 17 to July 7.