Santa Clara has the pitching and, therefore, the inside track to a championship in the Frontier League.
Mike Teron, Richard Mendez and Pat Alvarez give the Saints pitching depth and versatility.
Teron, a 6-2 senior right-hander, throws hard; Mendez relies on off-speed pitches; and Alvarez does both.
Teron also is the team's best hitter. He batted close to .500 last season and was a second-team All-Southern Section selection.
Ken and Kwinn Knight turn double plays at the middle-infield positions like they have been playing together all their lives--which they have. The brothers also are switch-hitters who are equally effective from either side.
Santa Clara came in second behind Santa Paula last season and the Cardinals don't figure to give up their reign without a fight.
And who could blame them? It took Santa Paula 32 years before it won its first baseball championship.
The Cardinals were 17-4 last season, but they have only one starter and one pitcher back.
Will McInerney, an All-County quarterback during the football season, is the shortstop. He batted .400 last season and was second-team all-league.
Pat Stockton, No. 3 on the 1987 pitching staff, is the ace this season. Stockton is a typical young left-hander with potential.
"He's not a control pitcher," Coach Henry Jacinto said. "He's wild. He has good stuff, but he has to work on the strike zone."
Nordhoff could be the surprise team in the league. The Rangers have right-hander Jason Savard, who can be overpowering. Larry Carlton, who set several school scoring records during the basketball season, is one of the team's top hitters.
Agoura, which finished next to last in 1987, should challenge for the title this season. The Chargers have a potential big-leaguer in Brian Smith, a 6-5 sophomore who pitches and plays third base.
Smith has 7 hits in his first 12 varsity at bats. Beginners luck? Hardly. He hit a record 11 home runs while playing on a team from Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks which last summer won the Babe Ruth World Series.
Calabasas has nine returning lettermen including plenty of hitters. The Coyotes have four starters that batted better than .400 last season.
"The key to our success will be the ability of the upcoming JV pitchers to be effective at the varsity level," Coach Bob Wade said.