BASEBALL: Wilson has been a Titanic leader

San Marino’s Nick Wilson is one of the reasons the titans are still alive in the CIF-SS Division V playoffs.

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Above: San Marino High School’s Nick Wilson. (Staff photo by Keith Birmingham.

By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
SAN MARINO – Without him, San Marino High School baseball coach Mack Paciorek doesn’t know where his team would be.
With senior pitcher/third baseman Nick Wilson, the Titans are in today’s CIF-Southern Section Division V quarterfinals, where they will host defending champion Bishop Amat.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-hander went the distance and allowed just one run in a 5-1 victory over Campbell Hall on Tuesday to improve to 10-1. He also had a single that snapped a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning.
When it comes to pitching, Wilson can be deceptive. His size can lead one to believe he’s going to blow batters away with the fastball. His heater may be good, but Wilson will get hitters to put the ball in play and let his defense do the rest, as he did against Campbell Hall. He allowed six hits and struck out three.
“My philosophy is throw strikes and be most economical on the mound,” Wilson said. “If you’re a strikeout guy, you’re going to be throwing 100 pitches in seven innings so you’re not going to be as strong for the next start. Throwing strikes and ground balls keeps your defense in the game.”
When it comes to making big pitches, Wilson relies heavily on his changeup.
“When it’s on, it’s on because it looks exactly like the fastball,” Wilson said.
His claim to fame, however, is his single-mindedness to win.
“You get him on the mound in any situation and he means business every second of the way,” Paciorek said.
In 24 games, Wilson is hitting .253 with two home runs and is tied for the team lead with 23 runs batted in.
“When nobody’s on, it’s much more relaxing, and you try to put the ball into play and get hits,” Wilson said. “But when guys are on, it’s all about situational. I could go 4-for-4 or I could go 1-for-4, with two or three RBIs, and I’d rather do that.
“When guys are on, I want to bring them in.”
While Wilson, a backup quarterback the past two seasons and staring tight end in 2007, generally is all business, he’s also usually the first to do something to lighten the mood.
“He gets the aspect of team and team chemistry and goes out of his way to kind of talk to guys and loosen them up in practice.” Paciorek said. “Some days, out of the blue, he’ll just start screaming and yelling for no reason, but just to get the guys to feel loose.
“He will do whatever it takes, and he’s not afraid to embarrass himself or fail, and that’s what makes him so great.”
The role of team leader is one Wilson is serious about and proud of at the same time.
“All these guys look up to me, and if I show anger, they’re going to be down. And if I show I’m pumped up and ready to go, they feed off it,” Wilson said.
Wilson has some four-year universities interested in him, including Cal State Dominguez Hills, although the junior college route could be an option as well.
What Paciorek likes in Wilson’s attitude is his desire to improve daily.
“As good as he has been for us and as hard as he works, he’s got room to improve, and that’s why I think he’s not making a rush decision,” Paciorek said. “He knows that he just wants to go to a place where he can work on the things necessary to become the best possible player he can be.”
Added Wilson: “My fundamentals are pretty well-rounded so I need to work on my conditioning. I need to take it to the next level.”

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