March 7, 2012West Coast Hoops
there was ever a year that Mayfair High was going to break up the La Mirada dynasty and win an outright Suburban League championship, it's this year. The return of league MVP Jordan Aboites and all-league standouts Greg Humbert and Kyle Carpenter give the Monsoons a great nucleus.
Mayfair (14-12, 10-2 in 2011) shared the league title last year with the Matadores, but coach Joe Magno's squad looks primed to have its best season in recent memory.
Aboites, a two-time Dream Team member, will spend his college years playing for Arizona State, but for now, the league's best player wants to lead his team to not only a league title, but a deep CIF run.
Aboites hit .403 with 31 hits, 20 RBIs and 20 runs scored, but he was just as valuable on the mound. He went 5-1 with a save, a 1.27 ERA and 57 strikeouts.
Humbert was the most underrated played in the league after having a tremendous sophomore year in which he hit a team-best .411 with 30 hits and 18 RBIs.
Humbert, a co-captain, will pitch, catch and play third base this season and will be a huge key if the Monsoons are able to get past La Mirada.
Carpenter, also a junior, hit .341 with 30 hits, eight RBIs and 17 runs scored last season.
Carpenter will be the offensive catalyst in the leadoff spot and plays a stellar center field and will
also be Magno's No. 3 starter on the mound.
Other key returning members include third baseman Robert Rodriguez (.245, 12 hits), left fielder Justin Davis (.294, 10 hits), Ryan Harrison and pitcher Andrew Garavito.
"Individually, I want to top all my stats from a year ago and get ready for college ball," Aboites said. "But my sole focus is doing everything I can to help us win as many games as I think we're capable of winning.
"I have a lot of confidence in my teammates and if we play the way we are able, we're going to be a very hard team to beat."
Trevor Jones, Joseph Dressel, Nico Olivera, Omar Moncayo, Jorge Bernal, Houston Pepper, Adam Pruett and Taylor Ahrens will all be new to the Monsoons lineup, but are expected to contribute.
"The 2012 Monsoons are an extremely versatile squad of players," Magno said. "I feel like we're a lot stronger than our 2011 Suburban League co-championship team, because of all the pitching we have and we went 21-2 in the offseason. We're playing a very tough schedule to prepare us for league and CIF and expect Jordan, Greg and Kyle to lead the way for us."
Elsewhere in the SGVL ...
La Mirada (15-15, 10-2) will certainly not just waltz off into the sunset without a fight, and coach Kim Brooks seems to always find a way to dig the Matadores out of early-season trouble and have them primed for league play. Ali Anthony (5-4, 2.23 ERA) will be the Matadores ace and is one of the area's most reliable arms. Cody Kruip (3-1, 2.02) and Austin Rojo (0-1, 2.15) will both need to step up if La Mirada is to continue its dominance over the rest of the Suburban League. Jeff Murray (.289, 11 hits), Blake Wilson (.267) and Rojo (.280) will lead the way offensively, but will need help from the new core of the Matadores lineup.
Bellflower (17-9, 9-3) lost Dream Team multi-year starters Daniel Renteria, Javier Lozano and Sebastian Frutos to graduation, so Bucs skipper Keith Tripp is starting all over with just two seniors in his starting lineup. Senior outfielder/pitcher Andrew Tapia hit .300 and will be a key leader, as will Victor Zepeda, (utility), pitcher Jimmy Rodriguez, Stevan Sanchez (first base/pitcher) and utility player Frank Armenta. Newcomers include outfielder Andrew Gose, pitcher Sebastian Sanchez, infielder Brandon Polizzi, catcher/pitcher Mike Miranda and infielder Ricky Serrano. "It's going to be tough to replace Frutos, Renteria and Lozano, but we have sophomores that can throw well and Stevan Sanchez has been working really hard and might end up as our No. 2 guy behind his brother," Tripp said. "This year's team will be about finding a way on base and creating havoc on the base paths. We have good speed and will use that to create holes for our hitters."
Glenn (6-19, 2-10) will be under the tutelage of Jack Brooks, son of longtime La Mirada coach Kim Brooks. Jack Brooks is saddled with taking over a reeling program that returns five starters, but his track record has been good wherever he's been. Pitcher/shortstop John Lemos (.346, 28 hits) led the Eagles in hitting last year and is expected to be even better this season. Also returning are catcher Rey Acuna, and pitchers Cesar Arzate and Jesse Gutierrez. Rene Gaytan, Arturo Loera, Frank Rodarte and Luis Rojas will all be new members of the Glenn lineup. "Glenn baseball has a new attitude and we look forward to competing in the Sububan League and challenging for a playoff spot," Brooks said.
Cerritos (6-18, 1-11) will be led by ace Kevin Anderson and pitcher/outfielder Brian Diaz, who led the team in stolen bases last year. Diaz is what coach Chris Aquino calls his table setter and the heart of the lineup. Jake Liang, Jonathon Mura, Keenan Parra and Andrew Ortega all return for the Dons. JT Mars, Nick Lee, Jacob Carter and Eugene Chang get their first varsity action this year for a Cerritos team looking to sneak up on the pack. "This years season looks promising," Aquino said. "The team has worked hard over the summer and in fall to develop strong fundamentals of the game. "We will be playing every game like there is nothing to lose. We are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1998 and our strength is our depth in pitching."
Norwalk (15-12, 5-7) will be led offensively by Michael Casteneda, who hit .392 with 31 hits and drove in 19 runs. Jesse Rodriguez (.286, 20 hits) and Jose Sandoval (.296, 21 hits) will team with returning Lancers Christian Gonzalez, Joseph Bojorquez, Raymond Flores and Trino Romero to challenge for a playoff spot.
Artesia (5-19, 5-7) made strides in league, but lost seven seniors to graduation. The Pioneers will return Efrain Huizar, Cesar Soto, Carlos Ramirez, Gary Smith and Cesar Esparza