Improved hitting gives Pointers Eastern League hopes
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 04/08/19 - 11:42 AM | 2108 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Point Loma catcher Tanner Shinkle prepares to glove a late throw as a Coronado runner scores in the sixth inning. The Pointers responded with a run in the seventh and two in the 10th for a 3-1 Eastern League win. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
Point Loma catcher Tanner Shinkle prepares to glove a late throw as a Coronado runner scores in the sixth inning. The Pointers responded with a run in the seventh and two in the 10th for a 3-1 Eastern League win. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
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It seems like a simple task: see ball, hit ball.

However it's been anything but simple for Point Loma High's baseball team in past years covering several different head coaches.

Winter ball and non-league games show the Pointers (9-4-2 overall, 1-0-1 in league) have improved their discipline and technique at the plate, giving rise to excitement with Eastern League play now underway.

Long known for pitching and defensive strength, the Dogs have been dogged at the plate by whiffs and balls that didn't make it through the infield. But the promising sound of solidly struck balls off aluminum bats has accompanied more frequent screaming line drives and even some soaring home runs, a rare but welcome Pointer spectacle.

New varsity head coach Jeff Solis, who compiled a sparkling 45-9 record the past two seasons as head Pointer JV coach, credits the addition of a new assistant coach who has elevated the hitting game.

Keegan Acker, a onetime Golden Glove third baseman on a national championship community college team and former Gonzaga University starter spent the past season as a graduate assistant coach at University of San Diego. He has assisted pro hitting coach Merv Rettenmund and is currently counseling Pointer hitters.

But along with the increased fortune of Pointer hitters, their Eastern League opponents are a tough bunch as well.

"I'll be disappointed if we don't win the league," Solis said, "but all the teams in our league are very strong this year. We're going to have to play well but I expect us to do that and win the title."

The Pointers have two ties on their season record. First they engaged league foe Clairemont in a game that was called for darkness after a 10-inning battle and the score tied 3-3. Earlier, a non-league game against Otay Ranch was called. A third game, a league match against Coronado, was suspended last week when an on-field medical emergency halted the game.

Pitching ace Austin Curtice, an SDSU commit, sports a 4-0 record with no earned runs scored against him in 23 innings of work. Hunter Otjen has a 2-0 record and a 0.90 ERA with only four walks and 17 strikeouts in 23.1 innings.

Batting leaders include:

Average: Duce Gourson, .348; Hunter Otjen .333.

Hits: Gourson, Otjen 16 each; Anthony Hall, Ben Berry 15 each.

RBI's: Otjen 17; Hall 12.

Home runs: Gourson, Otjen 2; RJ LaRocco 1.

"They're a really great group of kids," Solis noted, "but they are also very good baseball players. We're super proud of them and at this point in the season they're playing really great."

The Pointers play home games on April 15, 23 and May 7 and 9. CIF playoffs begin the following week. The Pointers are currently in sixth place of 20 Div. II teams in computer rankings.

Other Pointer coaches include John Gerber, Mac Acker, Tom Vaughn and Mike Delgado.

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