The Sea Kings lost five straight Pacific Coast League games, suffering their first winless league season in 12 years. CdM struggled scoring points and preventing teams from scoring.
Both of these areas must change for the Sea Kings to compete for a league title and return to the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs.
The last league crown CdM won came in 1999. This might be the Sea Kings' best year to end the drought with perennial champion Laguna Hills no longer in the league.
Hitchens is not complaining about the departure of the Hawks, winners of league the past four seasons.
"I don't feel too bad," said Hitchens, whose team in the summer threw against Laguna Hills, which moved to the Sea View League. "They don't look too down to me."
Hitchens hopes the Sea Kings have lifted themselves up off the ground after last season.
Six starters return on offense and five on defense, but Hitchens truly believes team chemistry is the key to CdM's success.
CdM has 26 seniors this year, compared to nine the year before. Hitchens has noticed a difference with the team's morale with more experienced players.
The lack of team unity played a role in the Sea Kings' disappointing record of 4-6, 0-5 in league.
In his 22 years coaching on the high school level, Hitchens said he never experienced a season like the last one. After starting the season at 4-1, Hitchens called the finish to his second year at CdM depressing.
Hitchens did not expect the Sea Kings to finish last in league, not after leading CdM in his first year to a 10-3 record, a runner-up finish in league and a semifinal playoff berth. At worst, he thought last season's team was a third-place team, a playoff team.