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Cato Key to Master's Plan Again


SANTA CLARITA — In keeping with The Master's traditional Christian dogma, baseball Coach Monte Brooks views the new season from a highly personal and institutional perspective.

"I'm extremely thankful for who God has brought to the program," said Brooks, in his second season with the Mustangs. "Our desire, really, is to build on last year."

Brooks, a former minor leaguer, guided the Mustangs to a 22-27 record. He believes the Mustangs, although offensively suspect, can improve.

Which means they must have reliable pitching, steady defense and, perhaps, a little divine intervention.

"We lack experience but [the pitchers] are very competitive," Brooks said. "Over the fall, they threw strikes, and if they do that during the season and if we play defense, we'll be OK."

Senior right-hander Ruben Escobar and junior right-hander Eric Fuller are the returning starters from a staff that finished with a 5.76 earned-run average.

Escobar, the team's ace, had an 8-6 record with 105 strikeouts and a 4.06 ERA. He was an All-NAIA Far West Independents pick. Fuller, 3-5 with a 5.85 ERA last season, begins his third season as a starter.

Brooks said junior left-hander Joshua Carrington, a transfer from Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado, probably will be a spot starter and middle reliever.

Aaron Penberthy, a junior from Fresno, returns behind the plate.

Penberthy provided most of the punch, hitting six of the team's 20 home runs and batting .285 with a team-high 43 runs batted in.

"We expect leadership from him," Brooks said. "He's going to have to be extremely patient with [the pitchers]."

The Mustangs don't have much power besides Penberthy and will rely on timely hitting and aggressive baserunning.

Sophomore Kurt Fillmore, a switch-hitting center fielder, stole 24 of 29 attempts and senior shortstop Danny Cato was 21 of 30.

Cato last season moved to shortstop from second base and produced outstanding team-leading numbers: .362 batting average, 63 hits, 17 doubles and 38 runs.

He set a school season record with 158 assists and was selected to the All-NAIA Far West team.

Cato's supporting cast features cousins Chris and Luke Kollmann at the corners, and freshman second baseman Ty Sager.

Chris Kollmann, a sophomore, last season played second base and batted .275. Luke Kollmann is a freshman from Nampa, Idaho, and Sager is a left-handed-hitting freshman from San Diego.

Chris Kollmann is making a smooth transition to first base.

"He has real good hands and he has lanky arms, so we think he'll do well there," Brooks said.

The outfield is patrolled by Fresno City transfer Rob Avila in right, Fillmore in center and a likely platoon of freshman Josh Felice and junior Preston Sprinkle in left. Senior Jason Freeman backs up that foursome.

Master's, which plays as an independent, faces tough tests early, starting with a home game against Westmont today at 2:30. They play Cal Baptist at Riverside on Thursday and Azusa Pacific in Newhall on Saturday.

Those three opponents traditionally are strong but Brooks is not intimidated. "I'm excited," he said. "I'm on a gravy train."




Date Opponent Time 1-27 Westmont 2:30 p.m. 1-29 at California Baptist 2:30 p.m. 1-31 Azusa Pacific 1 p.m. 2-3 at UC San Diego 2:30 p.m. 2-4 at Chapman 2:30 p.m. 2-5 California Baptist 2:30 p.m. 2-10 at Southern California College 2:30 p.m. 2-11 at Point Loma Nazarene 2 p.m. 2-14 at Biola (DH) 11 a.m. 2-16 Hayward 2 p.m. 2-19 Albertson 2:30 p.m. 2-20 Albertson 2:30 p.m. 2-23 San Francisco State 1:30 p.m. 2-24 Biola 2:30 p.m. 2-25 at Azusa Pacific 5 p.m. 2-28 George Fox 12 p.m. 3-3 Bellevue 2:30 p.m. 3-4 at CS Los Angeles 7 p.m. 3-7 Northwestern College (DH) 12 p.m. 3-9 at Concordia 2:30 p.m. 3-10 Southern California College 2:30 p.m. 3-18 California Baptist 2:30 p.m. 3-20 Dordt 2:30 p.m. 3-21 Dordt 11 a.m. 3-24 at Menlo 2 p.m. 3-25 at Menlo 2 p.m. 3-26 at Menlo 2 p.m. 3-28 Chapman 12 p.m. 3-31 Cal Lutheran 2:30 p.m. 4-1 at Concordia 3 p.m. 4-2 Point Loma Nazarene 3 p.m. 4-3 California Baptist 3 p.m. 4-7 at Pomona-Pitzer 3 p.m. 4-8 Biola 3 p.m. 4-9 at Westmont 3 p.m. 4-11 UC San Diego 11 a.m. 4-14 La Verne 3 p.m. 4-15 at Claremont 3 p.m. 4-18 Concordia (DH) 12 p.m. 4-23 Hawaii Pacific (DH) 12 p.m. 4-24 Hawaii Pacific 2:30 p.m. 4-25 Hawaii Pacific 12 p.m. 3-31 Cal Lutheran 2:30 p.m.


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