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March 7, 2012
By Leroy White of West Coast Hoops



St. John Bosco High (15-12, 7-8) might have lost eight of its nine starters and 16 seniors from last year's squad, but Braves coach Moon Cordero is very excited about a team he believes can contend for a Trinity League championship.

Cordero's optimism comes from a talented foursome that will eat up much of the innings on the mound for Bosco.

Rene Medina (2-1) battled through injuries last year, but the senior right-hander will be the ace. Medina beat Tesoro and Mater Dei last season and is being recruited in both baseball and football as a quarterback.

Junior lefties Adrian Martinez and Ivan Chavarria are expected to contribute greatly on the mound. Martinez, a 6-foot-4 lefty, beat Poly in last year's El Segundo Tournament championship game and Chavarria is also dangerous with his bat.

Michael Duarte, who hit .356, will lead the pack offensively, as the senior UC Irvine-bound shortstop takes over in the leadoff spot and will be Bosco's catalyst.

Key newcomers include pitchers Reid Budrovich, and Andrew Mendoza, as well as catcher Aaron Vilaubi and second baseman Michael Thomas.

"We're building on last year's most wins (15) since 1999 and highest league finish (third place) since 2000," Cordero said. "Success is always our goal and as always, the Trinity League offers no breaks. But we will fight through our 15-game league schedule with a top-three finish. We've got four potential D-1 players who will make an impact this

year."

Elsewhere in the area ...

Los Alamitos (12-14-1, 8-6-1) has its third coach in four years, but the Griffins' acquisition of longtime Lakewood assistant Matt Nuez should not only solidify, but re-energize a once-proud program that could soon be an area power again. Senior right-handed pitchers Mike Farris (3-2, 2.18 ERA) and Troy Rallings (3-3, 1.43) will be key on the mound for the Griffins. Pat Ivison (.329, 25 hits), Frank Padulo (.238, 19) and senior catcher Andrew Yaz return with the hopes of leading Los Al in the Sunset League chase with powers Edison (25-4) and Marina (16-11). Jake Nix, Cody Marshall, Greg Harris, James Stea and Brendan Heffern are all new to the Griffins lineup and will fill a multitude of roles for Nuez. "I try to see this as a new challenge, because I have a new team to work with," Nuez said. "I have new opponents to encounter and often new ideas and theories to try. I will certainly miss the coaches and kids I spent so much of my life around at Lakewood, but I couldn't be more excited to be at such a great school and around such quality young student-athletes that we have here at Los Alamitos."

Valley Christian (16-11, 11-5) made the biggest step forward last season with nine more wins than the year before, including a trip to the playoffs. Led by new coach Erick Streelman, the Crusaders return Dream Teamer Dylan Algra (5-3, 1.68 ERA), Shane Stillwagon (.411. 30 hits), Tyler Mclurg (.377, 23) and Patrick Avila (.256, 21) in a year Valley Christian is primed to make a run at the Olympic League championship. Clayton Granch and Aaron Kirchner are new, but expected to play key roles as the Crusaders battle Whittier Christian and Maranatha for league supremacy.

Firebaugh (18-8, 8-1) is coming off a Harbor League championship and a semifinal run in the playoffs last year behind coach Scott Hunter. But with the graduation of key seniors, Anthony Miranda (.371. 26 hits), Daniel Miranda (.308, 20) and Anthony Arreola (1-1, 4.57 ERA) are going to need to step up if the Falcons are to repeat a magical season of a year ago.

Downey Calvary Chapel (5-15, 1-11) is coming off a miserable 2011 campaign, but the Grizzlies hope the return of Caleb Linn (.358, 19 hits) and Brian Bell (.329, 19), and the experience gained by Matthew Rodriguez, Steven Evans, Christian Hernandez, Antulio Garcia, Micheal Badger, Isaac Trujillo. and Jeremiah Gerl will translate into a much more competitive year for a program that is used to challenging for an Alpha League title.

St. Anthony (8-12, 5-7) finished third in the Santa Fe League standings and will expect big contributions from Lake Campbell (.409, 27 hits), Andrew Pudewa (.300, 15), Matt Blanchard (.368, 25) and Sean Tibbals (.267). As usual, St. Anthony coach Roger Penticoff and his club will need to stay with Salesian and Bellarmine-Jefferson to win a league championship.


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