Former Bishop Amat High School softball star Lauren Mirabal may have just one plate appearance for No. 4 ranked UCLA, but the freshman is still a key contributor for the Bruins in another way – on the base paths.
Mirabal, who has played in 28 of the team’s 46 games, is amazing 8 for 8 in steals and has scored 13 runs. The eight steals ties her for the team lead with Amanda Kamekona, a former Ayala star who transferred to Westwood from Cal State Fullerton.
Mirabal should be a key contributor this weekend when UCLA (41-5) concludes its home season with games against Arizona and No. 1 Arizona State. The Bruins face the Wildcats on Friday with encounters against the Sun Devils on Saturday and Sunday.
So far the fund has brought in $131,424.93 from six developers, according to McIssac. All of that money was spent on the statue of big-league pitcher Cory Lidle, a South Hills High School alumnus, who died in a small-plane crash in October 2006. The statue was installed at the city’s Big League Dreams project in October 2007.
That project, along with a $12,000 consultant fee, has left the city was a $11,600 deficit in the art fund, said McIssac. The balance has been made up by loans from the general fund.
The Northview High School baseball team’s success this season can be traced back to the early 2000s when players like Sergio and Jaime Pedroza and Hector Estrella laid the foundation for the Vikings current achievements.
Those alums, like the current Northview group, are having their own success in professional baseball.
Sergio Pedroza, who later would star at Cal State Fullerton, is having the best success, advancing to the the Double-A level, playing the outfield for the Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits of the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Pedroza, who has been one of the more consistent power hitters in the minor leagues the past few seasons, is hitting a solid .291 with two home runs and 10 RBIs through the first 10 games. Montgomery, which has won the past two Southern League titles, is 7-13 so far this season.
Jaime Pedroza, who spent three solid years at UC Riverside, is playing for the Inland Empire 66ers in the California League. Pedroza, who helped UCR to its first Big West title last spring, is off to a slow start. He is hitting just .153 with one home run and seven RBIs through the team’s first 20 games. The 66ers are also 7-13.
Estrella is off to a steady start, hitting .333 while playing four of 19games for the Cedar Rapids (Ia.) Kernels of the Midwest League. Cedar Rapids has won 10 of their first 19 games.
Wes Roemer and Brett Pill, two of the area top baseball stars within the past decade, are off to solid starts in their Cal League debuts.
Roemer, who made some appearances against Major Leaguers in spring training, has been solid in his first two starts of the season for the Visalia Oaks.
The former Glendora star, who later became a two-time All-American and Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year while at Cal State Fullerton, is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 11 innings. He will get to add to those numbers tonight when starts against the Inland Empire 66ers at Arrowhead Credit Union Park in San Bernardino . Game time is scheduled for 7:05. Roemer may also get to pitch to former Northview star Jaime Pedroza, who is hitting just .166 with five RBIs in nine games for the 66ers.
Pill is hitting .289 with a home run and seven RBIs in 10 games for the San Jose Giants.
The former Covina star, who also played at Cal State Fullerton, also has a slugging percentage of .400. He is platooning at first base. He went 1 for 4 on Sunday as the Giants beat the Bakersfield Blaze, 11-1, to win three of four games over the weekend.
San Jose travels to Stockton today to begin a three-game series against the Ports. The Giants, and Pill, will be in San Bernardino to face the 66ers in a four-game series beginning April 25.
This is an important season for former Valley baseball Player of the Year Chuck Tiffany, who is coming back after missing all of last season due to injury.
Tiffany, a former Valley standout from Charter Oak, was drafted by the Dodgers out of high school, enjoyed some solid performances, including throwing a perfect game during his first season in the minor leagues. He was then part of a four-player swap, going to the Tampa Bay Rays organization two years ago. He’s suffered through some injuries the past two seasons, including missing all of 2007 due to a torn rotator cuff. Tiffany, according to younger brother Danny, a starter for Charter Oak the past two seasons, is currently in extended spring training in Florida. Tampa Bay will then decide on his next assignment, which two years ago including pitching for Double A Montgomery, Ala. He has a career 16-11 record with a 4.11 ERA. But he has 291 strikeouts in 227 innings.
Here’s hoping for a successful return. Good luck, Chuck!
Mark Kotsay is pseudo local for the Valley, having prepped in the Whittier area at Santa Fe High School.
But his story is motivation for anyone who ever wanted to achieve anything.
During his junior and senior years at Santa Fe, he attended a baseball camp at Stanford University. He was told my a Stanford assistant coach that his talent wasn’t GOOD enough to play beyond high school, but wished him good luck.
Kotsay took that as motivation to prove the coach wrong. He then went to Cal State Fullerton and became one of the top players in collegiate baseball history, winning the Golden Spikes Award in 1995 and earning a spot on the College World Series all-time team after leading the Titans to a CWS title in 1995.
He’s continued it at the major league level, becoming a steady, everyday ballplayer, who after stints with the Floridia Marlins, San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics, is now roaming center field for the Atlanta Braves.
So if you’re ever told you will never make it in your chosen field, just remember Mark Kotsay and you will realize that if you believe in your abilities, anything is possible.