Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

1997 BASEBALL PREVIEW

South Coast League

March 04, 1997|MIKE TERRY

Capistrano Valley: 23-5, 12-3 in 1996. Coach: Bob Zamora (20th year, 325-161-2). Prospects: Last year, the Cougars began the season as the county's top-ranked team and finished second in league to Mater Dei for a fifth consecutive year. But if anyone can take the league title from the Monarchs, it is Capistrano Valley, which begins this season ranked fifth in the USA Today preseason poll. The core group of seniors--paced by Times all-county first-team right-hander Rik Currier (9-3, 1.56, 97 strikeouts) and peppy infielder Bryan Canfield (.339)--have no interest in finishing second to the Monarchs again.

Dana Hills: 4-19, 1-14 in 1996. Coach: Bob Canary (16th year, 180-185-7). Prospects: Canary took last season off for personal reasons--Donn Munsell ran the team--and comes back to find six returning starters. Among the returning players are infielder/pitcher Adam Green (.322, two home runs, 14 runs batted in) and third-year varsity infielder Jeff Grant (.263, one home run, 11 steals) and outfielder Jason Nathanson (.219, eight steals), who are eager to erase the disastrous memories of 1996. If runs are still in short supply--the Dolphins averaged 3.4 last year--then the pitching, led by right-hander Sean Fluent (2-5, 6.62 earned-run average), will have to be sharp.

Mater Dei: 24-4, 14-1 in 1996. Coach: Bob Ickes (26th year, 384-166-9). Prospects: As usual, the baseball team has a tough act to follow at Mater Dei with the football team having won a section title and the basketball team favored to do the same. But the Monarchs, who are not as loaded as last year's squad that reached the Division I semifinals before losing to Fountain Valley, will contend. Mike Kolbach earned Times all-county second-team honors for his bat (.443, eight home runs, 38 RBIs) but was even more valuable as a left-handed pitcher (10-1, 2.27, 61 strikeouts). Catcher/outfielder Brett Kay (.390, seven homers, 26 RBIs) brings some sock as well.

Mission Viejo: 9-16, 5-10 in 1996. Coach: Jeff Cecil (third year, 18-30-1). Prospects: Mater Dei and Capistrano Valley usually don't leave much to fight over in league, but the Diablos, with seven returning starters, are taking aim at a playoff spot after two down seasons. Their offense, led by first-team all-league infielder/designated hitter Brian Sepulveda (.417, seven homers, 25 RBIs) and second-team all-league outfielder Commander King (.490, 11 RBIs), can be formidable. Mission Viejo's chances depend on whether the pitching can keep pace.

San Clemente: 9-15-2, 4-10-1 in 1996. Coach: Dave Gellatly (third year, 21-28-2). Prospects: Another team, like Mission Viejo, considered to be on the rise. The Tritons' roster is speckled with talent, like first-team all-league outfielder Corey Tolmasoff (.326, 15 RBIs, 14 stolen bases), second-team all-league infielder Shawn Tracht (.395, 15 runs, 11 stolen bases) and infielder Marcus Gardner (.351, 16 RBI, 17 runs). Like Mission Viejo, the pitching is suspect, unless lefty Dan Chapman (1-0, 19 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings) and righty Bryan Meier (0-0, 13 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings) can step up.

Trabuco Hills: 13-11-1, 8-6-1 in 1996. Coach: Randy Brouwer (sixth year, 67-51-2). Prospects: The Mustangs figure to have a harder time hanging on to third place this season, only because Mission Viejo and San Clemente figure to be improved. Brouwer has only four returning starters, although outfielders Zach Gause (.440, one homer, 27 RBIs) and Billy Ortiz (.308, three home runs) are good ones. The pitching staff will miss the graduated Ryan Poe (5-2, 1.72 31 strikeouts). Senior J.P. Patterson will try to replace him.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|