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Aliso Niguel's coming attraction: Kyle Molnar

Kyle Molnar could be high on baseball scouts' to-see list if the Aliso Niguel High pitcher maintains his velocity and ability to throw strikes over the next three seasons.

February 15, 2013|Eric Sondheimer

It's the spring of 2015, and the car rental workers at John Wayne Airport in Orange County are reporting that visitors from Pittsburgh, Kansas City, New York, Tampa, Boston and Atlanta have been making strange requests.

Instead of the usual, "How do you get to Disneyland?" they're asking, "How do you get to Aliso Niguel High?"

Call it the Kyle Molnar effect.

Over the next three baseball seasons, the 6-foot-3 right-hander has a chance to become a pitcher who thrills scouts, excites fans and fires up opponents hoping to test themselves against the best.

He was clocked throwing a 92-mph fastball as a 15-year-old during the summer. That kind of velocity for someone so young sets bells to ringing and identifies him as a player to watch. But what figures to make him successful immediately on the high school level is his ability to throw strikes.

He was 5-3 last season as a freshman pitcher for Aliso Niguel, which lost in the Southern Section Division 2 championship game at Dodger Stadium in 10 innings to Garden Grove Pacifica. Molnar came on to pitch in the 10th and gave up the game-winning hit when a curveball didn't break as well as he had hoped.

That Coach Craig Hanson called on him in such a pressure-filled situation provides insight into Molnar's makeup.

"He does have that calm, cool, collected demeanor about him," Hanson said. "Hopefully he can just focus on pitching and not worry about the people in the stands to watch him."

Molnar's transition to varsity baseball was made easier in that his older brother, Matt, was a standout senior pitcher and hitter last season for Aliso Niguel, allowing him to lie low and learn from his big brother, who's now at Chapman.

"It was a lot of fun," Molnar said. "I wondered how we would work together on the same team. It turned out well."

During the off-season, Molnar worked on improving his strength, and that helped add velocity to his fastball. He was throwing consistently in the high 80s last season.

He also plays basketball, demonstrating his athletic ability.

Molnar has terrific mechanics and a delivery that Hanson describes as "effortless." Molnar also seems to understand that location and not velocity is the secret to getting batters out.

"You definitely have to hit your spots every time," he said. "You have to know the batter, and your mechanics have to be spot on, and it doesn't really matter how hard you throw. It's where you put the ball."

When Molnar pitches, he's sure to have the support of a loyal following of family members, particularly his grandparents. His grandmother and grandfather from his mother's side moved to Orange County and come to almost every one of his baseball and basketball games. His grandmother from his father's side lives in the San Fernando Valley and also makes trips to support him.

While attending a couple of showcases last summer and fall, Molnar began to understand what happens when people learn you can throw a fastball 90 mph. While in Jupiter, Fla., he was asked to sign his first autographs.

"I was very shocked," he said. "It made me feel famous for a couple of seconds."

So get ready for a steady caravan of cars heading south on the 5 Freeway, exiting on Aliso Parkway, turning right and stopping at the local high school that Molnar calls home and baseball scouts will soon learn is the place to visit.

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