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1997 BASEBALL PREVIEW

Golden West League

March 04, 1997|MIKE TERRY

Ocean View: 12-14, 8-7 in 1996. Coach: Steve Barrett (ninth year, 133-83). Prospects: The Seahawks finished in a tie for third in league last year but watched Westminster go to the playoffs instead. "This is our best team in the last four years; we think we can challenge for the league title." said Barrett, who is thinking beyond just making the playoffs. Providing that kind of confidence are seven returning starters, including three pitchers--all-league picks Jason Martini (2-7, 2.50), Marty Bounds (2-4, 3.00) and Pete Montrenes (2-2, 3.50)--who were sabotaged more by a porous defense than hittable pitches. All-league infielders Dave Kehr (.320, three homers, 15 RBIs) and Bobby Mayorga (.340, 10 steals) key the attack.

Saddleback: 5-18, 2-13 in 1996. Coach: Bob Mangram (23rd year, 219-209-4). Prospects: Mangram was looking for an upswing in the Roadrunners' fortunes last year and didn't get it. This season doesn't hold much promise either, at least initially. Five starters return, including second-team all-league choice Joseph Tagaloa (.359) and outfielder Hector Espino (.313), but this is mainly a singles-hitting squad with average pitching. If Mangram can get Saddleback to play well collectively, the Roadrunners might get a playoff spot.

Santa Ana: 9-16, 5-10 in 1996. Coach: Zeke Barragan (second year, 9-16). Prospects: If Barragan thought he had a difficult maiden season, wait until this year. The Saints have only two returning players in Dave Garcia and Jorge Huizar, and neither are coming off banner 1996 seasons. Santa Ana is hoping second-team all-league infielder/pitcher Arnold Campos and infielder Daniel Guzman can become eligible; their return would certainly enhance the Saints' lineup. Otherwise, Barragan may have to shield his eyes until the team matures.

Servite: 20-8, 12-3 in 1996. Coach: Tom Tereschuk (fourth year, 51-28-1). Prospects: The Friars met their main goal last season, winning the league title after a season-long duel with Tustin. Now is the time to dream beyond the first or second round of the playoffs, and Tereschuk has the players--14 returning, six of them starters--to think that way. Pitcher Jim Monroe (7-2, 2.36, 56 strikeouts) has all-county potential, as does all-league catcher Ryan Garko (.460, two homers, 30 RBIs). All-league infielder Ryan Brown and outfielders Chris Bailey (five homers) Greg Cicero provide ample support.

Tustin: 19-10, 10-5 in 1996. Coach: Greg Jennings (first year). Prospects: Jennings has been an assistant at Tustin for 10 years, so he is familiar with the program's tradition of excellence. That also means, despite only two returning starters, expectations won't allow Jennings much time to build a winner. Infielder/pitcher Chad Chop (.310), outfielder Richard Lane (.313) and infielder/pitcher Danny Trujillo, a three-year varsity starter, provide a foundation. Jennings will need time to determine the quality of pitching, but when you're used to winning, as Tustin fans are, time can be a luxury.

Westminster: 16-10, 8-7 in 1996. Coach: Jim Doyle (third year, 36-21). Prospects: Baseball is not only hitting and pitching to Doyle, it is running too. Graduating outfielder (and second-team all-county player) Alex Vasquez broke the county single-season record (44 steals); as a team the Lions pilfered 174 bases. Doyle believes Westminster will have to run its way to the playoffs again. The Lions have some contact hitters in second-team all-league catcher Matt Poling (.340), outfielder Shaun Spradling (.300, 14 steals) and infielder Danny Olson (.310, 18 steals), but don't have much power. Mike Carey (5-4) is the staff ace by default.

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