By Fred J. Robledo, staff writer
Highly regarded Bishop Amat sophomore pitcher and outfielder Andrew Eppenbach hasn’t played a varsity game for the defending CIF-Southern Section Division 4 champions, but he’s already made his college intention known.
The 6-foot-3 pitcher has given a verbal commitment to San Diego State.
Eppenbach is 15 and gives the Lancers depth behind returner Daniel Zamora, who is going to Stony Brook College in New York and part-time pitcher/infielder Rio Ruiz, the reigning area player of the year who signed a letter of intent with USC.
“We’re excited for Andrew and his family,” Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto said. “Now he has to put that (verbal commitment) in the bank and let it gain interest. The immediate priority is for Andrew to make a commitment to making a significant contribution on the varsity staff as a sophomore. He’s going to pitch and be in the mix. How much? We don’t know that yet, but he’s a very talented young man.”
Nogales baseball coach John Romano and Alhambra’s Steve Gewecke sent a $500 donation to the San Gabriel Valley chapter of the Special Olympics.
The $500 donation came from money raised in last year’s San Gabriel Valley all-star baseball game at Alhambra, an event run by Romano and Gewecke.
“Steve’s a class act and is easy to work with,” Romano said. “We made the donation on behalf of all the San Gabriel Valley baseball coaches in the area.”
Romano and Gewecke are turning the event over to Nogales’ longtime assistant Don Montanez and Temple City head coach Barry Bacon. The new organizers hope to return the all-star game to Mt. San Antonio College in June.
Nogales’ famous alum Cecil Fielder will be inducted into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame in Tampa Bay Fl., during a ceremony at Tropicana Field on Feb. 3.
Fielder, the father of current Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder, led the American League in home runs in 1990 and ’91 with 51 and 44 respectively for the Detroit Tigers.
Fielder’s 13-year career included stints with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and the Angels. He finished with a career average of .255 with 319 homers and 1,008 RBIs.
Fielder graduated from Nogales in 1981 and played for Romano, who is still the Nobles’ baseball coach. Romano never imagined Fielder would blossom the way he did.
“I thought he would be able to play in the big leagues, but I never thought he would be a star,” Romano said. “I had to beg him to play baseball, he didn’t come out his sophomore year. His love was basketball, he was the best in the San Gabriel Valley at the time. When I finally got him out to play baseball, he hit .500 his junior year and took off.”
Fielder was drafted in the 36th round by the Baltimore Orioles out of high school, but opted to attend UNLV instead.