Mike Houlemard managed the Eagle Rock High baseball team to a 15-2 record and the City Section's Northeastern Conference championship this spring.
Deftly blending two multitalented players with several role players, Houlemard produced one of the best seasons in school history.
That won him recognition as The Times' Glendale-area Coach of the Year. And his mix-and-match skills would be exploited further if he were to manage the versatile players on the All-Glendale-area team, selected by a poll of area coaches and Times sportswriters.
Many of the 16 players were nominated by their coaches because of outstanding performances at more than one position.
A look at the team:
Danny Gray of Glendale was selected the area's most valuable player after leading the Dynamiters to a 17-7-2 overall record and a second-place finish in the Pacific League. Gray, a right-hander, was 9-4 with a 2.70 earned-run average. He also played the outfield and batted .378.
Scott Hess, a senior right-hander from La Canada, was selected as the Glendale-area's most valuable pitcher after finishing 7-4 with a 2.80 ERA and seven complete games.
Andy Aguilar of Franklin is one of two juniors on the team. A first baseman, Aguilar batted .388 for the Panthers, who were 11-5 and advanced to the second round of the City 3-A playoffs.
Eagle Rock third baseman Joaquin Arballo batted .381 and also compiled a 6-1 record on the mound for the Eagles. Arballo, a senior who was an All-Glendale selection last season and All-City this season, was named the Northeastern Conference MVP.
Senior Mitch Bowen of St. Francis was an All-Del Rey League first baseman who batted .400. He also was a starting pitcher for the Golden Knights.
Shane Cowsill was a four-year letterman for Crescenta Valley, which finished third in the Pacific League. Cowsill, a senior, played first base and batted .395 with five home runs and 26 runs batted it. He also compiled a 3-3 record as a pitcher.
Eagle Rock first baseman Raul Estrada, the team's other junior, was an All-Northeastern Conference selection after batting .396.
Matt Jones of St. Francis was one of the top hitters in the competitive Del Rey League. Jones, a senior outfielder, batted .426 and also made several outstanding defensive plays.
Senior outfielder Ryan Kadletz of Crescenta Valley was the top hitter in the Pacific League, batting .460 overall and .594 in league play. He also played catcher.
Marshall High won its second consecutive Northwest Conference championship behind the play of senior second baseman Vic Maruffo, who batted .509. Maruffo, a two-year starter, led the Barristers to an 11-6 record and was selected by coaches as the conference player of the year.
Mickey Moreno of Hoover is making his second appearance on the All-Glendale team. The three-time All-Pacific League first baseman batted .333.
Like Gray, Brent Overfelt of Glendale provided the Dynamiters with strong performances as an outfielder and pitcher. A senior, Overfelt batted .358 and was 6-2 with a 2.80 ERA. Overfelt was particularly effective on the road, winning five games and shutting out Pacific League champion Arcadia.
Kyle Ransford of Flintridge Prep, a senior right-hander, was 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA for the Rebels, who advanced to the second round of the Southern Section Small Schools Division playoffs. Prep League opponents batted just .083 against Ransford, who pitched a no-hitter against Webb in the regular-season finale.
Hoover Coach Bob Cooper characterized senior Jose Robles as "one of the best defensive third basemen in Hoover history." Robles was a dangerous hitter, too, hitting .369 for the Tornadoes.
Glendale's Jon Strauss was the catcher who helped draw out the potential of Gray and Overfelt. Strauss, a senior, also batted a team-high .378 for the Dynamiters.
Like Strauss, Mark Umemoto of Marshall provided the Barristers with leadership behind the plate. The senior catcher, a two-time all-conference selection, batted .391 and also performed as a designated hitter.
Coach of the Year: MIKE HOULEMARD Eagle Rock Record: 15-2
Most Valuable Player: DANNY GRAY Glendale P/OF/9-4,.378
Most Valuable Pitcher: SCOTT HESS La Canada Record: 6-3
Andy Aguilar Franklin Infield .388 Avg
Joaquin Arballo Eagle Rock Utility .381 Avg
Mitch Bowen St. Francis Infield .400 Avg
Shane Cowsill Crescenta Valley Des. Hitter .395 Avg
Raul Estrada Eagle Rock Infield .396 Avg
Matt Jones St. Francis Outfield .426 Avg
Ryan Kadletz Crescenta Valley Outfield .460 Avg
Vic Marrufo Marshall Infield .509 Avg
Mickey Moreno Hoover Infield .333 Avg
Brent Overfelt Glendale Outfield .358 Avg
Kyle Ransford Flintridge Prep Pitcher 4-1, 1.20 ERA
Jose Robles Hoover Infield .369 Avg
Jon Strauss Glendale Catcher .378 Avg
Mark Umemoto Marshall Catcher .391 Avg