By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Glendora High School’s John Alexander played a big role in helping the Tartans win last year’s CIF-Southern Section Division 2 baseball title by batting .395 with 27 RBIs and five home runs for the 27-2-1 Tartans. Several key players such as pitcher Adam Plutko, who is having a solid year at UCLA, graduated from that squad but Alexander returned and has not let up. He has helped the Tartans close in on the Baseline League title in their first year in the new league. The Tartans (14-6-1, 9-3) are a game ahead of Los Osos (15-5, 8-4) with four games left, the Tartans have beaten Los Osos two out of three games and own the tiebreaker should they finish in a tie.
Alexander, an imposing 6-foot-6 outfielder, already has committed to UC Irvine. He hit two home runs in a 9-1 win over Rancho Cucamonga last week and added another to raise his season total to eight, just a homer shy of the state-leading nine home runs, which is shared by three players.
The left-handed batter is hitting .385, and once again has proved to be one of the area’s best run producers. He already has topped last year’s 27 RBIs with 31 this season and has scored 21 runs.
That leaves Alexander second in the area in RBIs behind Sierra Vista’s Elias Novelo, who has 39. Novelo is second in the state in RBIs to San Bernardino’s Aquinas’ Jonathan Ruiz, who has 41.
“There was more pressure on John with all the guys graduating,” Glendora coach Dan Henley said. “He was the lone guy returning that had a major impact for us.
“I can’t say I’m surprised that he followed up last year with another fine year, he’s got the smooth swing. He goes through his checkpoints and has this long wingspan. It’s nice to watch. Plus, he learns from failure and does all the necessary things you have to do to improve as a player.”
Henley said he’s not surprised Glendora leads the Baseline. In the Arcadia tournament, the Tartans also had a 10-0 victory over Bonita, ranked No. 1 in Division 3.
“Obviously I’m pleased,” Henley said. “You always want to be competitive, but I felt the guys coming up (from junior varsity) were solid and would help us win a lot of games.”