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2001 Baseball Preview

South Coast League

February 20, 2001

Capistrano Valley

Coach: Bob Zamora

2000 record: 23-8

League record: 11-4

The Cougars have just unveiled their new electronic scoreboard and named their field after Coach Bob Zamora, who has won four Southern Section titles and compiled a 382-211-3 record over 24 seasons. Zamora led Capistrano Valley to its first Division I title last season and has enough returning talent to make a serious run at a repeat. Frank McLaughlin, who went 7-0 with a 1.52 ERA, will lead a pitching staff that also includes Brennan Jackson (3-2, 1.14 ERA) and Derek Acosta (3-0, 3.88 ERA). Catcher Brad Davis, who has signed with Long Beach State, returns with outfielder Travis Becktel, a Times' second-team all-county selection, and third baseman Justin Demere.


Dana Hills

Coach: Zeke Barragan

2000 record: 7-18-1

League record: 1-14

The Dolphins should be improved, with better chemistry and pitching depth. Returning pitchers Tony Davidson and Adam Blankenbiller can't be blamed for last season's 5.54 staff ERA because they only combined for 22 innings. They will be joined in the rotation by newcomers Daren Koshko and Jeff Kaplan, who also plays infield. The offense will be led by third baseman/pitcher Matt Falk, who hit .329, and outfielder/pitcher Matt Cooper, who hit .316 with a team-high 22 RBIs.


El Toro

Coach: Mike Gonzales

2000 record: 14-11-1

League record: 8-7

This will likely be a rebuilding year for the Chargers, who are still adjusting to the departure of Coach Tom McCaffrey, who resigned in May after 11 years. New Coach Mike Gonzales inherits a inexperienced team with only one returning starter, catcher Blake Gasca. He hit .388 last season for a team that finished fourth in league but would have fared much better had it been able to hold late leads. El Toro's other returners are outfielder/pitcher Steve Garell and infielders Tyler Collier and Tyler Powell.


Mission Viejo

Coach: Chris Ashbach

2000 record: 15-10

League record: 9-6

The Diablos will be hard-pressed to repeat last season's success without John Hudgins, The Times' Orange County Player of the Year, who is now at Stanford. Hudgins was the winning pitcher in 10 of Mission Viejo's 15 victories. The Diablos do have three returning pitchers with varsity experience, but they are unproven. Nate Beyer, for instance, went 2-3 in 17 starts. Center fielder Billy Hart, who is headed to USC on a football scholarship, will be counted on for offensive production. Last season, Hart hit a team-best .409 with 23 RBIs en route to becoming a first-team all-league selection.


San Clemente

Coach: David Gellatly

2000 record: 13-13

League record: 7-8

Pitching should be the Tritons' strength. Pitcher/first baseman Steve Schroer, who went 5-4 last season, has signed with UC Irvine, and pitcher/third baseman Billy Pinney, who went 4-3 with a three-hitter, was a second-team all-league selection. San Clemente's other returning starters include pitcher/shortstop Chase Stroupe, who hit .333 with four home runs; outfielder Justin Sweet, who hit .258, and outfielder Ryan King.


Trabuco Hills

Coach: Tim Ellis

2000 record: 20-10

League record: 9-6

With their best hitter and pitcher back, the Mustangs may be poised for a run at the league title. Outfielder Sean Boatright, a Times' Orange County first-team selection, hit .410 and was among county leaders with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs. He had the best single-day performance in the county when he hit two home runs and three doubles to accumulate nine RBIs in a doubleheader.

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