All Division 1 teams were previewed. Leagues without a team in Division 1 were not included. This week, reporter Alex Scarr previews the East Valley League.
You can feel it. The winter chill has given way to a spring thaw, as low 60s turn to high 60s and the heavy coats return to the closet for another 10 months.
Coaches and groundskeepers have been hard at work laying sod, dragging infields, and tarping mounds for months. Baseball season is nearly here.
With just a few days until baseball season begins in earnest (with some early tournaments already underway), it’s as good a time as ever to look around the City Section. Who’s been doing towel drills? Who ran the extra pole? Who wants a trip to Dodger Stadium in June? Hope springs eternal. Let’s get to it.
Head Coach: Mike Sepulveda
2018: 10-18 (lost in Division-1 first round)
Key Losses: Carson Cox, Simon Turley
Key Returners: Ryan Monreal, Jonathan Kim, Albert Bustamante
Coach quote: “We have a young talented team with lots of energy and fight in us. We’re hoping to make some noise in the city.”
Outlook: The Huskies have been on the outside looking in at the rest of the East Valley League in recent years but will return starter Jonathan Kim and promising upperclassmen in Ryan Monreal and Albert Bustamante. Losing Carson Cox takes the steam out of the engine, as the senior hit .382 at the plate and struck out 47 in 46.2 innings on the mound. If Kim takes that extra step forward, they can make life difficult for league opponents.
Head Coach: Gabriel Cerna
2018: 22-12 (lost in Open Division first round)
Key Losses: Miguel Leal, Cristian Arias, Francisco De Santiago
Key Returners: Elias Galaviz, David Ramirez, Juan Rodriguez
Outlook: The Parrots had one of the City’s most electric arms in Miguel Leal last year and he helped them to a 22-12 record and a spot in the Open Division playoffs. But they fell to Banning in the first round and couldn’t quite get the squad back on the City Section radar. Elias Galaviz and David Ramirez return, however, and their bats could keep Poly in most games. On the mound, Galaviz pounds the zone with a low to mid 80s fastball and a sharp breaking ball. Third baseman Juan Rodriguez is a weapon at the plate and a cannon arm at the hot corner. And with a big league showdown looming with Verdugo Hills later in the year, Poly will certainly be seeking revenge. I like their chances.
Head Coach: Angel Espindola
2018: 23-13 (won Division-1 championship)
Key Losses: Charlie Rocca, Dakota Gray
Key Returners: Matt Gokey, Nick Masumoto, Andres Silva
Coach quote: “I’m looking for our team to compete for another championship and continue to build our program.”
Outlook: The Dons met Carson in the D-1 finals a year ago, winning in 9 innings and putting a mostly quiet program squarely on the map. Losing senior shortstop Charlie Rocca will be nearly impossible to replace, seeing as he was one of the most feared hitters in the city and led the section in home runs. Center fielder Dakota Gray is also gone. But catcher Matt Gokey and starter Nick Masumoto return, as well as Andres Silva. Verdugo Hills and the Parrots of Poly should keep the intense league rivalry alive for a few years to come.