HomeBlocksFront-GridSan Marino Baseball Ready to Defend League Crown

San Marino Baseball Ready to Defend League Crown

It’s time for Titan baseball.

The San Marino High baseball team is back on the field, on the mound and in the batter’s box for a new season of baseball and out to defend its Rio Hondo League championship from last year.

“We’re looking good,” San Marino coach John Franklin said. “We’re returning basically our entire infield, which is good, especially with the run we had last year.”

It is a return to the same intentions as last season, where some were fulfilled and some are still out in front of the Titans.

“We are kind of in the same boat as last year,” said Franklin, who is in his third year at San Marino. “We set our goals as winning Rio Hondo League, which we achieved, and then our other goal beyond that was to win CIF, [where] we came up slightly short to the semifinals. I know obviously that is a big goal and we got pretty far, so we are setting our same goals as that.”

In the pitching department, junior right-hander Tomás Bilvado, who is also making strides as a batter, is firmly installed as the ace of the staff.

“He’s always had good stuff,” Franklin said. “Even in his freshman year I saw how good he was, and last year was really good. … He’s getting stronger so he can throw harder, but he’s just matured as a person and as a baseball player.

“Now he realizes that you don’t need to strike everybody out to be productive, even though he is going to get a lot of strikeouts this year just because his stuff is that good.”

A question mark for the Titans is who will be that second starter. One candidate is junior J.J. Wilson, who will also be playing a lot of first base.

“He’s a good leftie — throws strikes, good changeup, good curveball,” Franklin said. “If he just has that mentality, he could definitely be easily our number two if not pair with Tomás.”

Another arm in play is Caleb Newton, a junior new to varsity.

“When he is on, his stuff is lights out,” Franklin said. “That’s what we have been working with him on all fall and winter is just the consistency factor, and it’s been showing.”

Also in the mix is senior Brandon Strauss.

“He has good command of three pitches that he can all pitch for strikes. He is kind of coming back from an injury right now,” Franklin said. “Hopefully he gets healthy sooner rather than later.”

The Titans also have a range of relievers, including senior Coleman Morning. “He’s our overall utility guy. He can kind of do it all,” Franklin said of the senior. “I don’t want to call it a closer role, but if we need a strong one to two innings at any point in a game, he’s going to be that guy that needs to do it.”

A new face will be starting behind the plate for San Marino this season in Parker Wilson, J.J. Wilson’s younger brother.

“His potential is insane. He has the potential to be a really good baseball player. Obviously, he’s young, he’s a freshman,” Franklin said. “He’s got the skills to be up on varsity and that kind of says enough, and now it’s just a matter of what he is going to do this season to kickstart his high school career.”

At the plate, the Titans are stacked with hitters.

This includes the elder Wilson, who will take over as the leadoff batter.

“He knows what it takes, especially in that leadoff spot, so I am expecting a lot of him,” said Franklin of Wilson.

Following him will be likely be second baseman Sid Danenhauer, who was the No. 2 hitter all of last season.

“If he repeats what he last year, he is going to have a great year, but I think he is going to improve on that,” said Franklin of Danenhauer.

At third base and another big bat will be Morning, who was an all-league and all-CIF player last season who batted over .400.

Additionally, senior Ryan Park will be back starting at shortstop for the third year in a row.

“He can hit, he can split gaps, he is fast, he can steal bases,” Franklin said. “Our individual goal we came up with is we want him to lead the Rio Hondo League in stolen bases.”

One newcomer to varsity the coach is excited about is junior Jamie Bercaw. “He can hit the ball 400 feet and is one of the fastest kids probably in the area,” Franklin added.

Franklin feels his lineup is solid from top to bottom thanks to the depth on the roster, including returning center fielder Mikey Yessaian, a senior who is committed and signed to playing football at the University of Chicago.

Franklin knows the Rio Hondo League is “anybody’s game in any given year,” and it’s time to get down to playing the games.

“Let’s go and win league is step one, and then make that run and see what we can do winning CIF,” Franklin said. “I feel if I don’t set that goal, then it’s not going to happen. Shoot for the stars. Might land on the moon.”

First published in the Feb. 22 issue of the San Marino Tribune


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