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Pitcher Stays on Par With the Best : Estancia: Senior Kyle Wilson, the Eagles' top starter this season, is a talented golfer, too.

March 01, 1992|MIKE REILLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

COSTA MESA — About the only thing that keeps Kyle Wilson off the golf course this time of year is baseball.

Wilson, a 6-foot-3 senior, hasn't been spending much time lately with his favorite pastime--working on his golf swing.

Instead, he has been polishing a pretty wicked breaking ball for the Estancia High School baseball team.

Still, Wilson works one day a week at Costa Mesa Golf Course, where he repairs carts and does other maintenance work. He even plays the course now and then.

"I play a lot in the summer," he said. "Just about every day. But this time of year, I don't have any time with baseball."

The course, across the street from Estancia High School, employs a number of people from the Pacific Coast League baseball community, including Costa Mesa Coach Tim Green, the manager, and Estancia co-coach Ken Millard.

"The stands will be full of people from the golf course when we play Costa Mesa," Wilson said. "They all support us over there."

This season, they'll get to see one of the league's top pitchers in Wilson.

He was 7-3 with a 1.80 earned-run average last season, and was a second-team all-league selection. He pitched a no-hitter against Century, and helped the Eagles to a share of the league title with Laguna Hills.

He was the Eagles' second-best starter behind Chris Watson, who was 8-1 with a 1.66 ERA and 56 strikeouts.

But with Watson graduated, Wilson takes over as the team's top pitcher this season. His changeup is solid, but Wilson said he needs to improve his speed on his 80-m.p.h. fastball before he can become one of the county's better players.

"Last year I worked on keeping the ball down and getting more ground balls instead of strikeouts," Wilson said. "I need to keep doing that this year. I'm also working a little on a split-finger fastball."

If it wasn't for baseball, Wilson would be a fine addition to the Eagles' golf team, which also plays in the spring. He consistently drives the ball 260 yards and has shot a 79 at Costa Mesa.

But Wilson will be the first to tell you he plays golf for fun, saving his competitive side for baseball.

Wilson started playing golf at age 5 under the guidance of his father, Brad. His father was a teaching pro in San Diego in the 1960s, playing with such stars as Muhammad Ali and Johnny Unitas.

"When I was little, everyone thought I would play golf because my dad did," Wilson said. "He started me off just hitting the ball and messing around.

"When I was 10, he started showing me how to use different clubs. But he never pressured me to play. We play for fun. It's pretty much just a hobby for me."

Baseball, however, is more than that.

Wilson hopes to play at the college level, and he has received interest from Pepperdine and Redlands.

He showed promise last summer, playing well in a Los Angeles scout league with several minor league and college players.

"It helped me to play against older, more experienced players," Wilson said. "I'll know what to expect when I get to college. I really want to play at the college level before going professional."

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