Point Loma baseball seeks to repeat as league champs
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 03/16/18 - 07:45 AM | 3031 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Senior Austin Correia delivers a pitch in the Pointers' season opener against El Camino, Correia needed only 69 pitches for the complete game win. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
Senior Austin Correia delivers a pitch in the Pointers' season opener against El Camino, Correia needed only 69 pitches for the complete game win. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
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To baseball fans, the last days of winter and first days of spring signal the beginning of a new year, of new hopes and dreams of their team winning a pennant.

For Point Loma High's many alumni, community fans and former players, their team did just that last year, compiling a sparkling 10-2 record to easily win the Eastern League. Their overall record of 22-11-1 and .661 winning percentage would win the majority of major league divisions.

And after watching his 2018 team in winter ball and early preseason games, head coach David Wells believes his current collection of players could raise another league banner if each plays to his potential.

"We've got the team to do it," said Wells, after watching his squad's 4-1 victory in its season opener over El Camino in the annual Pirate Tournament that covers the Pointers' first five games.

"It's up to these guys to come out and make it happen. It's a matter of putting it all together, the pitching and the hitting. Last year we hit .267 as a team but our pitching was stellar. We had studs with 14 or 15 complete games with 85 pitches and below, very pitch-efficient." 

Wells listed his current starters at each position with comments about each. Returning varsity players also have key stats from last season:

Pitching: senior Austin Correia – "Austin has really stepped up. He did a great job last year for us as a junior. He's not overpowering but he throws strikes. He pitches to contact and understands the game and to me that's what pitching is all about. He's a grinder and he's our ace this year." Correia was 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA last season.

Pitching: Austin Curtice – "He's a big lefty and he throws pretty hard, so when he gets his opportunity we'll see what he can do." Curtice is new to the program.

Catcher: senior Jared Bacon – "He's our guy. He makes my job easier as a pitching coach and a manager because he knows how to run a [pitching] staff. I seldom have to say anything to him and it's a shame nobody is looking at him because his catching is impeccable. He blocks balls like no other, he calls a great game. He could catch any D-I team." Bacon hit .348 last season with 11 RBI in only 66 at-bats.

First base: senior Mitchell Sardo – "Mitchell is at first base after being our ace pitcher last year. He's struggled finding the strike zone and that got him into trouble." Sardo hit .297 last season and drove in 12 runs, second highest on the team.

Second base: senior Jesus Noriega – "Jesus won the job over Trevor Sykes. He has great range and just before the season started Trevor hurt his knee." Noriega is up from last year's junior varsity.

Shortstop: senior Justin DaLuz – "This kid is probably one of the best shortstops in California. Last year he had 116 opportunities and made only one error. That's just solid defense." Da Luz batted .323 last season with a team-high 32 hits.

Third base: senior A. J. Schrader – "He won the job, but was our closer last year. and did a great job. He's having some arm problems this year. Hopefully after some more simulated games he'll be back." Schrader had an ERA of 1.04 last season and was credited with four saves.

Left field: sophomore Hunter Otjen – "Hunter's a beast when he wants to be, but he has to be a little more disciplined at the plate." Otjen made varsity as a freshman last season with a .250 batting average and 18 hits in a limited role.

Center field: sophomore Connor Ludwig – "Connor is a sophomore who won the job after hitting really well in winter ball. We need his run production." Ludwig is up from last year's junior varsity.

Right field: senior Jack Early – "Jack's coming around. He takes a lot of pitches so he's going to work counts. We have him hitting in the nine hole. He's versatile, he can bunt and run.” Early is up from last year's junior varsity.

Designated hitter: junior Ben Berry – "This kid is exciting, we have him hitting leadoff and he wreaks havoc on the bases because he's so fast. He's versatile, also our backup catcher." Berry hit .312 last year with nine RBI in only 32 at-bats.

Tenth man: sophomore Jeff Barber – "Jeff lost the job at third base so he's kind of our number 10 man now. He's very powerful and once he gets his swing down he could carry a team on his shoulders." Barber is up from last year's junior varsity.

The roster also includes freshman Ethan Gourson; juniors Mikey Curtis, Joe Innis and Talon Shirts and seniors Julio Avalos, Dylan Vaughn, Trevor Sykes and Josh Ball.

Lost from last year's team is junior first baseman Anthony Hall who underwent Tommy John surgery after damaging his arm during a pitching showcase event.

Assisting Wells are first base coach John Gerber, third base coach Kyle Harvey and bullpen coach Mike Delgado.

Schedules for all teams can be found at pointersbaseball.com.
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