By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
The secret behind the Alhambra High School baseball program’s success really is no secret.
There’s a strong sense of continuity that starts with Moors coach Steve Gewecke, who has been at the helm 15 seasons. It starts with Gewecke at the top and trickles down from his assistants (Chris Cosbey, Rick Cosbey, Shawn Clingan, Colin Danielsen, Kevin Heaton) to his junior varsity staff (Roland Ortiz, Alex Perez) and freshman coach (Eric Felix).
Gewecke’s varsity staff has a combined 52 years of experience. Ortiz and Perez have been coaching the junior varsity level for 12 seasons. Felix, a 2009 Alhambra graduate, is a former pitcher who understands exactly how Gewecke runs his program.
Felix begins the process.
“He knows what I like to do and how I work,” Gewecke said. “He’s on the road to becoming a really good coach. I’m hopeful he’ll be a teacher and a coach.”
Ortiz and Perez spot tendencies and develop the junior varsity team. By the time they get to Gewecke and his staff, it’s a refined group that inevitably breeds success. It’s a process that’s developed seven consecutive Almont League championships, a dominance that’s a testament to Gewecke’s meticulous management.
The fruits of their labor will be on display today at 3:15 p.m. when the Moors (22-3) host University High (17-11) of Irvine in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs at Moor Field.
“It’s a big staff but everybody’s busy,” Gewecke said. “The kids play very hard and they practice very hard. Our whole staff has taken part in that. I might holler a little bit, but our staff handles it all so well.”
The discipline the coaches instilled is evident in practice.
“If we’re not playing well or practicing well, the kids do a good job of picking it up themselves,” Gewecke said.
Alhambra enters the playoffs having won 22 of its final 23 games, including a 12-game winning streak to end the regular season.
Frankie Wright (10-1, 0.51 ERA) and Gary Acuna (7-2, 1.52 ERA) have garnered attention after combining for four no-hitters this season. But the consistency is not limited to the mound.
There’s a strong supporting cast with junior Juan Crespo leading the team in batting (.440) and triples (3) and junior Juan Morales (.394, seven doubles) adding more punch to the lineup.
But numbers don’t always show the kind of productivity Gewecke can be proud of. Sophomore Nathan Qui ones brings qualities to the team that haven’t gone overlooked. Qui ones took over at second base midway through the season and has made an impression.
“He doesn’t have the numbers, but in terms of leadership he’s a guy you wanna have on your team,” Gewecke said. “He became the vocal leader you want to have on any team.”
Alhambra is the No. 3 seed and considered a strong contender in Division 3.
No surprise why.