MBHS head coach Rick Frink returns for his second year as the Bucs’ skipper.
“This year, I have three new coaches on the staff,” Frink said. “All three are ex-Mission Bay High players and understand the tradition here.”
Before becoming the head coach Frink had spent the previous five years (2007-11) as the MBHS junior varsity baseball coach and played for the Bucs’ in the late 1990s under longtime head coach Dennis Pugh.
He said 75 percent of the current coaching staff also played under Pugh in the 1990s.
Between 1983 and 2008, Mission Bay dominated opponents, winning 20 Western League titles, eight CIF titles and two state championships. It has not had a winning season since 2008, however.
Why has the team struggled over the last four years? Cyclical? More parity now?
“There is absolutely more parity in the Western League over the past couple of years,” said Frink. “University City and La Lolla played well last year and UC went deep into the playoffs.
“Every program goes through its ups and downs and we are doing our best to rebuild and get the program where it once was,” he said.
The team’s 2013 edition returns an experienced roster of 10 seniors, including four pitchers (Luis Osuna, Lorenzo Pamaran, Jesse Sullivan and Connor Vaughs). Osuna (.288), Sullivan (.290, eight doubles and one HR) and Vaughs were also major contributors at the plate last season. The pitching staff allowed an average of nearly 4.4 runs per game, but struggled at times, giving up 11 runs or more in three games.
On offense, the Mission Bay lineup produced 3.6 runs per game but were held to one run or less in 10 contests.
Catcher Joey Wozniak and Devonte Kinder are standout juniors on the team. Wozniak hit .250 with a .308 on-base percentage.
Frink said he believes the 2012 team did not play up to its potential.
“To say we had a roller-coaster season would be too cliche and an understatement,” he said. “I have once again set high expectations for the current group of seniors to lead by example, but expect them to make an impact this year.”
The regular season opens on Friday, March 1 against University City during the Saints Bill Whitaker Baseball Classic, which runs until
March 16. This tourney will be followed by the City Conference Tournament (March 18-April 4) and the Lions Tournament (March 25-28). The Western League schedule begins on April 8 on the road against the archrival La Jolla Vikings.
Home games against Western League opponents are:
• University City — April 18
• La Jolla — April 22
• Point Loma — April 25
• Madison — May 9
• University City — May 16
All home games are at 3 p.m.