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1997 BASEBALL PREVIEW

Olympic League

March 04, 1997|PAUL McLEOD

Brethren Christian: 13-12, 8-7 in 1996. Coach: Dave Posthuma (second year, 13-12). Prospects: The Warriors got to the first round of the Division V playoffs last year and Posthuma would like to improve on that. The school has not won a league title since 1979. Seven starters return, including first-team all-league pitcher/outfielders Erik Jensen (3.41 earned-run average) and Jonathon Rouwenhorst (6-2, 62 strikeouts, and .418 batting average). Second-teamer Aaron Ireland, a catcher, also returns, as do infielders Jay Christensen, Edgar Fermin, Brent Hayzlett and Sean Ireland and outfielder Dan Kanouse.

Calvary Chapel: 21-6, 14-1 in 1996. Coach: Joe Walters (third year, 63-21). Prospects: The Eagles, who won a Southern Section Division V title in 1995, advanced to the semifinals last season and were beaten by eventual champion Pasadena LaSalle. Four starters are back, and Walters is high on pitchers Josh Stewart (10-1, 1.52 ERA, 52 strikeouts) and John Tucker (10-4, 1.15 ERA, 72 strikeouts). Others returning include first baseman Dustin Barrett (20 runs, .448 average) and shortstop Chad Sterbens. Stewart and Tucker were first-team All-Southern Section selections. A key graduation loss was Times all-county second-team outfielder Kenny Nash (.538, one homer, 30 RBIs). Top newcomers include second baseman Randy Blood, center fielder Matt Mossberg, catcher Dan Murrietta and left fielder Jon Smith.

Cerritos Valley Christian: 21-8, 11-4 in 1996. Coach: Mike DeMaster (second year, 18-8). Prospects: Always a strong team, the Crusaders figure to be in the hunt for the league title. Right-handed pitcher Kirk Saarloos leads a talented squad. Saarloos, a senior, has signed to play at Cal State Fullerton. With several returning players, the Crusaders should continue to be tough to beat at home.

Ontario Christian: 1-20, 1-14 in 1996. Coach: Nelson Miedema (first year). Prospects: Miedema becomes the third coach in as many years for the Knights, who have struggled. He replaces Mike Cole, who guided Ontario Christian to a 1-20 season. The lone victory came in league play and was the first Olympic League victory for Ontario Christian in more than two seasons. Over the last two years the Knights are 2-42 overall and this figures to be another challenging season.

Orange Lutheran: 10-13, 7-8 in 1996. Coach: Roger Senne (second year, 10-13). Prospects: Third baseman/outfielder Tim Smith (.448, 24 runs, 15 RBIs) is one of 10 players returning. Also back is outfielder Rob Haney, pitcher/first baseman Nick Harris, pitcher/first baseman Ken Harrison, pitcher/first baseman Jon Maddock, catcher/outfielder Ryan Miller, first baseman Nick Odenath, catcher Pat Sims and pitcher/outfielder Matt Slane and second baseman Brad Vieselmeyer. Senne calls the league race a dogfight among four schools: Brethren Christian, Calvary Chapel, Orange Lutheran and Valley Christian. Senne, in his 30th season as a coach, is a walk-on at Orange Lutheran.

Whittier Christian: 4-18, 4-11 in 1996. Coach: Brett Thorsteinson (first year). Prospects: After averaging 13 victories a season during the first half of the decade, the Heralds fell on hard times last year. But Thorsteinson is confident, calling the Heralds a playoff contender. "We have a young, talented team, a new coach and new energy," he said. Five starters return: first baseman Chris Coppes, pitcher/outfielder Jason Carpenter, second baseman Chris Vanderhook, shortstop Steve Varilla and pitcher/outfielder John Stoa, a sophomore. Tony Garcia will add utility support, and newcomer John Rodriguez will catch.

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