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2001 Baseball Preview

Orange League

February 20, 2001

Anaheim

Coach: Dave Torres

2000 record: 2-22-1

League record: 1-14

With seven returning starters, including first-team all-league shortstop Ricky Salceda, who hit .485 last season, the Colonists will probably improve on their last-place finish. Anaheim's experience and improved defense must compensate for a lack of power and pitching depth. Ramiro Garcia, Obed Garcia and junior Steven Salazar will pitch. Third baseman Travis Caloca (.400) and second baseman Jose Chavez (.278) should provide some pop, but first baseman/designated hitter Tony Castaneda (.216) and utilityman Jorge Madrid (.125) need to post more impressive numbers. Anaheim will also rely on newcomers, including pitcher Carlos Gutierrerz, outfielder Jonny Barrera, catcher Omar Huizar and pitcher/outfielder Eric Echavarria, a Katella transfer.

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Brea Olinda

Coach: Steve Hiskey

2000 record: 15-12

League record: 10-5

The Wildcats lack experience, but many newcomers are coming off championship seasons at the lower levels. Top returning players include utilityman Erik Staack (.304, 12 RBIs), infielder Mike Maynard (.375, 19 RBIs) and pitchers Justin Rigsby (4-5, three saves) and Blake Vasquez (28 strikeouts in 26 innings). Junior catcher Kyle Vaughan also returns. Pitcher/infielder Jon Pedersen, infielders Travis Denker and Marty Woods, and outfielder Tony Bruno have been promoted from a junior varsity team that last season finished 19-6.

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Magnolia

Coach: Dennis McCuistion

2000 record: 13-13

League record: 7-8

The Sentinels will go through some on-the-job training in Coach Dennis McCuistion's first season. Outfielder Kenny Loza (.406, 10 doubles, three triples) and infielder Gus Gonzalez are the lone returning starters. Others with varsity experience include first baseman Rey Rodriguez, third baseman Jason Schmidt, pitcher/outfielder Omar Ramirez and catcher/infielder Richard Tosacano. Sophomore pitcher/outfielder Matt McConnaughey is one of the team's top newcomers.

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Savanna

Coach: Hack Mitchell

2000 record: 12-14

League record: 7-8

The Rebels are strong up the middle but short on varsity experience. They will rely on third baseman/pitcher Tony Box, who earned all-league honors last season as a sophomore, and shortstop/pitcher Scott Akamine. They are the squad's lone returning starters. Pitchers John Tackett and Mark Benjamin are the only others with varsity experience. Top newcomers include Steven Boles, Buck Harris and Andrew Stazicich.

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Valencia

Coach: Mike Scheetz

2000 record: 18-8

League record: 11-4

The experienced Tigers boast strong pitching, an excellent work ethic and a love for the game. Junior Hector Ambriz was 9-2 last season with a 2.69 ERA. The two-time league MVP also hit .424. First-team all-league outfielder Brad Bartczak hit .365. Starting first baseman Wes Helman (.360) and pitcher/third baseman Jim Voorhees (1-0) also return, along with pitcher/outfielders Robert Hernandez and David Jones, and outfielder Leo Carrera. Top newcomers include Jason Lopez and Matt Barlow.

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Western

Coach: Steve Green

2000 record: 16-13

League record: 9-6

The Pioneers are loaded with eight returning starters, including league co-MVP catcher Rick Devinney (.428, six homers), third baseman Andre Granda (.419), second baseman Daniel Jorgensen, outfielder Gabe Reina and pitcher Jordan Clark (2-1, 1.72 ERA). Outfielder Chris Jackson and first baseman/pitcher Casey Simpson (3.20 ERA) also return. Top newcomers include pitchers James Collins and Chris Samayoa, and outfielders Tony Tran and Adam Kline.

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