There isn’t one favorite for the 2014 Foothill League baseball title.
“I think it (could be) the closest league race at any place in time,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill.
Most Foothill coaches seem to feel the same way, listing at least three teams they believe could win league, which commences play on March 19.
Burrill thinks two-time-defending Foothill champion West Ranch is well rounded. Jake Bird, A.J. West and Davis LeBarron anchor a pitching staff that must replace last year’s Foothill co-Pitcher of the Year, Cody Bennett.
“(Bird has the) capability of being one of the best pitchers in the area,” Burrill said.
Junior shortstop Jagger Rusconi returns after hitting .420 last season.
Canyon looks to build on last year’s co-championship and head coach Adam Shulhofer believes the team’s taste of success will translate to more confidence in 2014.
The Cowboys have their own star pitcher to replace, and senior Jon Dicey will be key to that effort—as will junior Blake Leidholdt.
Senior centerfielder Cole Mears enters his fourth varsity season after hitting .355 as a junior.
Valencia returns three All-Foothill first team players: seniors Chris McCready and Chad Bible, and junior Anthony Lepre. The trio leads an offense that may be the league’s best.
The question mark for Valencia is a fresh pitching staff that’s looking for its number two starter behind junior Kevin Chandler.
“We have to be able to play defense and be prepared for balls in play with our young pitching,” said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder.
Hart has experience. The Indians return pitchers who combined for 93.2 innings last year, including senior Chad Haslock who posted a 2.27 ERA in five starts.
Hart head coach Jim Ozella expects an extra year of development to improve an offense that hit .246 last season. Shortstop Nick Valaika and second baseman Pearson Good highlight four seniors who’ll start.
Saugus head coach John Maggiora thinks the Centurions have the pitching and defense to contend in 2014.
The Centurions return 14 players with varsity experience, led by junior Eric Little who posted a 3.27 ERA in 11 starts.
Joey Mendez headlines a trio of sophomore position players who’ll start for the second year.
Golden Valley, led by junior infielder Lucas Granado, will look to improve under new head coach Gino Pomilia, who served as head coach at Redwood High School from 1997 to 2008.
“I think the teams are very even,” Burrill said.
Do you agree? Let me know what you think. Email me at email@example.com
Photos courtesy Saugus Baseball
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