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1997 BASEBALL PREVIEW

Small Schools

March 04, 1997|PAUL McLEOD

Capistrano Valley Christian: 6-13, 5-5 in 1996. Coach: Terry Gaunt (fourth year, 14-42). Prospects: Four starters return to the Academy League team: pitcher/second baseman Mark Coon, pitcher/third baseman Matt Staples and center fielder Jamie Tellier, all sophomores, and senior left fielder Brian Roth. Newcomers include freshmen Josh Emery, Josh Hall, Thomas Groves, Dustin Smith and Cory Wright and junior Bryant Wolfsberger.

Fairmont: 0-10, 0-10 in 1996. Coach: Mark Alves (first year). Prospects: Alves, a former assistant at Mater Dei and Irvine, has three senior starters back at the Academy League team: shortstop Omar Hashmy (second-team all-league), infielder Ryan Gaytan and utility player Lou Paik. Also returning is pitcher/first baseman Usman Ahmed. Newcomers are freshman utility player Rudy Flores, pitcher Brian Papez and infielder Amir Wahab.

Heritage Christian: 13-9, 9-0 in 1996. Coach: Tom Caffrey (second year, 14-8). Prospects: Six starters return, including the coach's son, Paul Caffrey, who set a county mark by hitting .595 and a Southern Section record with 13 triples. He also collected 56 runs batted in. Also back is catcher Rosendo Bordeaux, outfielder Jason Burns, third baseman Jerry Jones, outfielder Carl Lund, outfielder Joel Marlow and pitcher Chris Myrtle. Newcomers include Justin Kean, Ron Hancock, Jacob Sommerville and Jared Zielinski.

Huntington Beach Claremont: 3-7, 1-5 in 1996. Coach: Michael A. Smith (first year). Prospects: Athletic Director Smith takes over for Tony Camargo, who lasted a year. Smith brings high hopes to the Cougars in the Express League, where Downey Calvary Chapel and Heritage Christian figure to put up quite a fight.

Liberty Christian: 14-7, 7-3 in 1996. Coach: Ray Clifton (13th year, 167-85). Prospects: Senior second baseman Jon Stephens, a first-team All-Academy League selection, returns. Senior pitcher Steve Kramer is up from the junior varsity. Sophomore pitcher/first baseman C.J. Leeman and junior third baseman Steve Winters are other starters back. Returning are sophomore infielder Chas Trowbridge, sophomore outfielder Dante Salazar and junior first baseman Tom Church. Marina transfer Mike Hann, a catcher, and Florida transfer Alex Sanchez, a shortstop, are on the roster.

St. Margaret's: 8-8-1, 6-4 in 1996. Coach: Oscar De La Garza, Jr. (second year, 8-8-1). Prospects: Pitching may be suspect, but a second-place finish in the Academy League is possible. Three second-team all-league starters return: center fielder Larry Guesno, who batted .387, shortstop Jon Masters (.412) and pitcher Lonnie Uso (3-1).

St. Michael's Prep: 3-10, 2-8 in 1996. Coach: Stephen Boyle (first year). Prospects: Boyle, the athletic director, greets four returning starters: second-team All-Academy League choice Fred Enciso, a sophomore pitcher/shortstop; second baseman Ivan Hernandez, pitcher/third baseman Mark Payne and pitcher/first baseman Mike Tucker. St. Michael's has won only four games in the last two seasons.

Southern California Christian: 20-7, 10-0 in 1996. Coach: Darin Owens (first year). Prospects: The Flames are coming off a stellar season. They won the Arrowhead League title and advanced to the section Division VI semifinals. Owens replaces Jim Allen, who was 200-59 in 13 seasons. Shortstop/pitcher Jeremy Smith returns.

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