The league opener is a big day regardless of opponent, but for the La Salle High School baseball team that can be a challenge.
That’s because the Lancers (4-2-1) open Del Rey League action at home today against St. Monica, a team that is 1-8 overall and already 0-1 in league. But that’s not the most challenging part for La Salle: it’s not looking ahead to Friday’s mega matchup on the road against rival Bishop Amat, the No. 3 team in the latest CIF-Southern Section Top 10 coaches poll. La Salle is unraked.
“They are kids,” La Salle coach Harry Agajanian said. “A lot of times they could do that, but I think as the game wears on our kids are pretty good about playing the way we know we can play.”
Look for Austin Wallis to head the mound today while ace Bowdien Derby gets ready for Bishop Amat, who likely will throw standout and USC-commit Rio Ruiz.
La Salle opened the season as the No. 1 team in the Star-News coverage area, but its record doesn’t seem to imply prowess, at least on the surface. The Lancers earned a tie against Temple City in the Elks tournament and lost in a 10-inning marathon to Arcadia in the consolation bracket, a close game that ended on a game-winning RBI single for a 1-0 score. Over the weekend, La Salle split against Cathedral in a doubleheader.
But don’t look for Agajanian to dwell on what’s happened so far. It’s what lies ahead that he’s more concerned about.
“I’m looking at down the road at how we’re going to do at the end of the season,” he said.
And along the way are short-term goals that involve no one else but La Salle, starting with the offense.
“We want to be a high on-base percentage team this year,” Agajanian said. “We want to balance our walks and strikeouts and have a well-used offense. When I say that I mean play as a complete offense. We were playing as a bunch of good hitters. But we moved some kids around the lineup and shifted things around and it seems to be clicking.”