Though he’s enjoyed pitching in front of the home folks for three seasons, Aaron Guerra couldn’t pass up the opportunity that presented itself this spring. The righthander will journey north to pitch for Schaumberg (Ill.) in the Northern League; he leaves June 8, with a bag full of good memories from Valley days that stretch back into high school.

“It’s a first-class league, from what I read and research online,” said Guerra, who won 18 games the past seasons for the Edinburg Coyotes after a successful career at The University of Texas-Pan American. “They get big crowds up there, and let’s face it, it’s closer to where I can get some looks from scouts.”

The Northern League is an independent circuit, but one of the oldest and most established. For Guerra, a 2001 EHS grad, the move represents the chance to keep his dream alive.

“The league down here, well, it was alright, but sort of up and down,” said Guerra, voicing the views of a number of local observers. “There was this feeling that it wasn’t what it could be, for various reasons. Up in Illinois, they pull crowds of 5,000 all the time, and I am looking forward to working in that atmosphere. I hope to get picked up…141 guys have signed with the majors from the Northern League.”

Guerra has been working out all spring, along with coaching and teaching duties at Economedes. He says that he’s in shape and feels like he can make a splash in the Midwest.

“I have been throwing a lot, doing batting practice with the kids, and working out with some friends,” he reported. “I have a good routine now, and as long as I maintain it, I should be able to do well.”

And he expects that experience in coaching the past two years will stand him on good stead when he returns to the mound.

“I have been able to call my own game basically, the coaches here have left me on my own, and I am glad they did,” he said. “I think it has helped me develop as a player, getting better at picking up certain tendencies for the hitters.”

Known as “The Mad Scientist” for his bushy hairdo and job teaching chemistry, Guerra became an instant fan favorite upon joining the Coyotes midway through their first season, 2006.

The Coyotes are history now, as the franchise has changed hands and will hit the field in 2009 as the latest incarnation of the Roadrunners, resurrecting the name of the city unit that played from 2000 to 2005. Guerra admits he will miss throwing in front of the home boys, but added that diehard Scientists will be able to keep up with his exploits through the magic of new media.

“I think they broadcast all the games on Internet radio, so that’s cool,” Guerra said. “I hope people will keep up with how I am doing even though I am leaving the Valley.”