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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

Starkand makes most of ability

Lanky Burbank High left-hander doesn't throw hard but still baffles batters.

May 07, 2012|ERIC SONDHEIMER
  • Burbank's Daniel Starkand is 5-2 with a 0.41 earned-run average.
Burbank's Daniel Starkand is 5-2 with a 0.41 earned-run average. (Ross A. Benson / BurbankNBeyond…)

To all the high school pitchers who keep winning games but get no love from the pro baseball scouts because they don't fit into the required mold (a.k.a, throw 90 mph), let me introduce you to your future hero, left-hander Daniel Starkand of Burbank High.

"I'm a skinny kid," the 6-foot-4, 170-pound Starkand said.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, May 09, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
High school football: In the May 7 Sports section, an item in a high-school sports column said that UCLA running back Steven Manfro scored 123 touchdowns in two seasons at Valencia High School. Manfro scored 75 touchdowns in those two seasons.

His fastball probably comes in at 83 mph on a good day.

He hasn't given up an earned run in his last 46 innings. He ended Arcadia's Pacific League winning streak at 41 games by shutting down the Apaches, 3-0.

He has a 4.25 grade-point average and will play for Chapman University next season. By 2015, all the scouts who drop their radar guns when he pitches are going to be stunned by what they see.

"I hear people talking, 'Oh, this guy throws so slow,' " Starkand said. "I get outs by pitching. I definitely want to get bigger and stronger and throw harder, but that's going to happen over time."

Geez, an 18-year-old who wants to develop over time. What a rare concept.

"People are just trying to throw as hard as they can," he said. "They see radar guns in the stands and think they have to throw 90 mph to get people out. Not that many are gifted to throw that hard at such a young age.

"My way is throwing strikes, getting ahead of hitters, keeping them off balance, changing speeds and getting ground balls. I'd rather get a guy out in one pitch than strike him out in three."

He has thrown shutouts this season against Calabasas, Pasadena and Burbank Burroughs. He's 5-2 with an 0.41 earned-run average.

Imagine what Starkand is going to look like in three years when he's a junior in college.

"I might have another inch in me," he said.

So he'll be 6-5, close to 190 pounds, still left-handed, with a superb curveball and changeup and maybe a fastball approaching the upper 80s.

Suddenly, the scouts will be scrambling and Starkand will become an instant legend.

Great athlete

The school that produced Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and George Farmer is at it again.

Gardena Serra is gushing over the potential of sophomore Adoree Jackson, a cornerback in football who last week leapt 24 feet 10 inches in the long jump.

Coach Scott Altenberg said the 5-10 Jackson has Woods-like athletic skills. Colleges are making him football offers, and he just might win a state title in the long jump.

Best in City

If you want to know who is the best hitter in the City Section, my vote goes to senior catcher Chris Mallon of Granada Hills Kennedy.

His regular season is over, and he finished with a .533 batting average, seven home runs, five triples and 47 runs batted in.

Kennedy has had more All-City catchers in recent years than any other school, and Mallon is certain to join the list.

Lacrosse fever

Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in America, and the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section high school championships will be held Saturday at Mission Viejo. The girls' final matching the Orange County champion versus the Los Angeles County champion will be at 11 a.m., followed by the boys' final at 1 p.m.

Manfro-mania

UCLA fans don't know what to make of Steven Manfro, their redshirt freshman running back from Valencia who was a standout throughout spring practice. UCLA and Wyoming were the only schools to offer him a scholarship.

His coach at Valencia, Larry Muir, told me in 2009 that Manfro would be his team's "secret weapon." He went on to score 123 touchdowns in two years.

"He'll only get better," Muir said.

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eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATSondheimer

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