Prep Baseball Preview, 2012

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Christian (13-18-1; 2-10/6th, Eastern League)
CIF: Lost first round (Div. IV)
Head coach: Mike Mitchell 369-225-2 over 22 years.
Key players: Stephen Johnston (P, Sr.), Michael Kaufman (P, Sr.), Kyle Harris (Sr. OF)
Comments: The Patriots are off to 4-1 start, but pitching depth is a problem.

El Cajon Valley (1-25; 0-12/5th, GVL)
CIF: Did not qualify
Head coach: Travis Udvarhelyi (1st season)
Key players: Abraham Garcia (Inf.), Roger Mejia (Inf.).

Christian (13-18-1; 2-10/6th, Eastern League)
CIF: Lost first round (Div. IV)
Head coach: Mike Mitchell 369-225-2 over 22 years.
Key players: Stephen Johnston (P, Sr.), Michael Kaufman (P, Sr.), Kyle Harris (Sr. OF)
Comments: The Patriots are off to 4-1 start, but pitching depth is a problem.

El Cajon Valley (1-25; 0-12/5th, GVL)
CIF: Did not qualify
Head coach: Travis Udvarhelyi (1st season)
Key players: Abraham Garcia (Inf.), Roger Mejia (Inf.).
Comments: 15th consecutive last-place finish is expected; the main question is whether the Braves will even win a ballgame.

El Capitan (28-6; 12-0/1st, GVL)
CIF: Lost in championship final (Div. III)
Head coach: Steve Vickery (34th season; 616-399-8)
Key Players: Troy Conyers (P-1B, Sr.), Charles Moorman (C, Sr.), Kevin Ginkel (P, Sr.)
Comments: Vickery’s final season should be a dandy for the state-ranked Vaqueros, who seek to avenge 2011 title game loss to Cathedral Catholic. Both Conyers and Moorman have signed with USD.

Granite Hills (13-15; 7-8/tie 3rd/GHL)
CIF: Did not qualify
Head coach: James Davis (14th season, 358-127-2)
Key players: Daniel Starwalt (P-LF, Sr.), Doug Brannvall (3B-P, Sr.), Noah Cummings (SS, Jr.).
Comments: Long playoff appearance streak (1987-2009) snapped two years ago, but this is an aggressive youthful group ready to reverse the slide.

Grossmont (26-8; 13-2, 1st/GHL)
CIF: Lost in championship final (Div. I)
Head coach: Jim Earley (4th season; 77-25)
Key players: Derek Rustich (3B, Jr.), Nick Rochester (1B-P, Sr.), Alex Connor (P-3B, Sr.), Eric Eckley (OF, Sr.).
Comments: The Foothillers are happy with Earley; Earley is happy with his current roster, which is off to a fast 4-1 start.

Helix (25-9; 7-8, tie 3rd/GHL)
CIF: Division II champions
Head coach: Cole Holland (11th season; 159-149-2)
Key players: Brandon Lewis (RHP, Sr.), Kacy Smith (CF, Sr.). Romello Carbuccia (RHP-SS, Sr.), Austin Hopwood (Inf., leadoff hitter, Sr.).
Comments: The Highlanders are the defending SDCIF Division II champions and have the talent to repeat.

Monte Vista (22-11; 9-3, 2nd/GVL)
CIF: Lost in the fourth round (Div. III)
Head coach: Chad Williams (2nd season)
Key players: Paul O’Connor (3B-RHP, Jr.), Richie Balajadia (2B,), John Balajadia (P).
Comments: It has been a struggle for the Monarchs who are 0-5 out of the gate. The loss of major college standouts p-cf Nick Sabo and catcher Carlos Ochoa have been difficult to replace.

Santana (11-19-1; 5-7, 3rd/GVL)
CIF: Lost in the second round (Div. III)
Head coach: Tim Barry (1st season)
Key players: Kyle Gasner (CF-P, Sr.), Cody Conner (C, Sr.), Tyler Browning (OF, Jr.).
Comments: New coach should turnaround traditional power (11-19 in 2011 after 20-plus wins in 6 of previous 7 seasons).
Also, major graduation losses and a new coaching staff make the Sultans at least a year away.

West Hills (9-19; 3-12, 6th/GHL)
CIF: Did not qualify
Head coach: Jason Fowler (3rd season; 20-36)
Key players: Stewart Forrester (OF, Sr.), Alex Parsons (1B, Sr.), Michael Carlin (Util., Sr.).
Comments: Rebuilding ballclub is off to a fast start (3-2), yet needs more consistent offense from throughout.

Joe Naiman and Nick Pellegrino contributed to this article
 

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