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1998 BASEBALL PREVIEW

Golden West League

March 03, 1998

* Ocean View: 14-12, 7-8 in 1997. Coach: Steve Barrett (10th year, 147-95). Prospects: For now, Ocean View isn't worried about Servite or Tustin. Westminster is the immediate target: The Lions have edged Ocean View for the league's last playoff spot two years running. But Westminster looks to be down this season, giving the Seahawks an opening. Barrett will build his team around five returning starters, including all-league pitcher Pete Montrenes (5-3, 2.00, 65 strikeouts) and third baseman Jason Miller. Even more intriguing is whether freshman MVP second baseman John Clark and junior varsity MVP Anthony Vega can make the jump to varsity.

* Saddleback: 8-17, 3-12 in 1997. Coach: Bob Mangram (24th year, 227-226-4). Prospects: Another proud program that is weathering some hard times. As it was last season, the Roadrunners' roster will feature some hard-working players. Infielders Joseph Tagaloa and Elias Pinedo, both second-team all-league picks, are solid--and do everything they can to overcome their shortcomings. Mangram will need a boost from promoted junior varsity pitchers Fernando Cervantes and Jesus Perez to think about the postseason.

* Santa Ana: 3-22, 1-14 in 1997. Coach: Zeke Barragan (third year, 12-38). Prospects: Santa Ana would be happy to reach the middle of the pack after staggering through last season. But there is reason for optimism, no matter how cautious. The Saints' pitching, battered for 249 hits and 226 runs in 179 innings, should be better thanks mainly to experience. Outfielder/pitcher David Garcia (.303, 13 steals) is ready to become a good contact hitter, and the defense (80 errors) has to be better.

* Servite: 24-4, 14-1 in 1997. Coach: Tom Tereschuk (fifth year, 75-33-3). Prospects: Servite, blessed with pitching, hitting and defense, just knew it was headed to Anaheim Stadium and the Division I title game last year. However, the Friars were upended by Encino Crespi in the second round. Only four starters are back, but it's an excellent quartet. Catcher Ryan Garko (.577, eight home runs, 52 RBIs) and pitcher Brian Wolfe (8-0, 0.96 ERA, 73 strikeouts), were second-team all-county selections. Outfielder Jeff Hultner (.320, 15 RBIs) and designated hitter Mike Montanio (.400, nine RBIs) protect Garko in the lineup. The infield is bolstered by La Puente Bishop Amat transfer Enoch Choi. The Friars, again, are blessed with pitching, hitting and defense. The Friars, again, are thinking Anaheim Stadium.

* Tustin: 19-6, 12-3 in 1997. Coach: Greg Jennings (second year, 19-6). Prospects: If any team is going to trip up Servite in league it will be the Tillers, although they may be a shade off last year's form. Jennings has a strong returning corps of six returners; all-league pitcher Chad Chop (9-3, 1.85 ERA, 103 strikeouts) will have college and pro scouts watching every start. The lineup takes its lead from all-league outfielder Richard Lane (.400, one home run, 17 RBIs) and first baseman Quin Brumbaugh (.364). Jennings can also pick from freshmen and junior varsity teams that were a combined 36-1 last season. Tustin is a definite threat.

* Westminster: 16-11, 8-7 in 1997. Coach: Jim Doyle (fourth year, 49-29). Prospects: The Lions have driven league and nonleague opponents crazy the past two years with their slap-hitting, base-stealing style of play. But even with seven returning starters, led by all-league pitcher Mike Carey (7-4, 1.65, 61 strikeouts), all-league catcher Matt Poling (.380) and all-league outfielder Ricky Guerrero (.350), Westminster will find it harder to hang on to third. After Carey the pitching staff is inexperienced. After outfielder Josh Ori (.330, 12 steals) there are not many other base stealers. Nor is there much home run potential.

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