Pointers baseball begins Eastern League play
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 04/12/17 - 07:20 PM | 3138 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Baserunner Santiago Gomez crosses the plate with the Pointers' first run during a 5-0 win over Mira Mesa in the teams' Eastern League opening series. The Pointers won both games over the Marauders.  /  PHOTO BY SCOTT HOPKINS
Baserunner Santiago Gomez crosses the plate with the Pointers' first run during a 5-0 win over Mira Mesa in the teams' Eastern League opening series. The Pointers won both games over the Marauders. / PHOTO BY SCOTT HOPKINS
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The Point Loma baseball team finds itself with effective pitching while continuing to struggle at the plate as it prepares for play in a new league.

The team's pitchers have compiled a 1.36 ERA (earned run average) through 14 games while hitters are producing 7.2 hits and 3.8 runs per game leading to wins over weaker hitting teams and losses against teams who make frequent contact with the ball.

With early-season tournaments and non-league games nearly complete, the Pointers' record stands at 8-5-1, better than all members of the Eastern League except Serra (8-4).

In CIF rankings, the Dogs currently stand fourth among 20 Div. II teams.

The new Eastern League lineup has the Pointers joining Serra, Patrick Henry, San Diego, Mira Mesa, Coronado and University City high schools to form the new circuit. The Pointers will bid farewell to former Western League foes including La Jolla, Madison and Cathedral.

The league schedule calls for the Pointers to play each team twice, once at home, once away. Because of work on the Mira Mesa field, the teams played twice at David Wells Field last week with the Pointers winning both games to take an early first-place lead.

"We have a great chance to win this league," said head coach David Wells. "As long as we're doing our job out there and our pitching keeps us in the game we have a chance. We can't take anybody for granted."

In the first Marauder game, the "visiting" Pointers pushed across a run in the seventh inning to send the game into extra innings. They scored three runs in the eighth on three hits and a Mira Mesa error. Junior A. J. Shrader pitched the eighth to pick up a save in the 5-2 win.

In their true home game, the Pointers survived a shaky start by junior starter Mitchell Sardo who then settled down to throw a complete game shutout. He needed only 68 pitches for the win.

Offensively, the Dogs put together a few hits in the fifth inning, which, coupled with several Marauder miscues in the field, led to all five runs in a 5-0 win.

The PLHS hitting futility can be seen in the stat line of senior outfielder Frank Rogozienski who has a league second-best .400 batting average, third-best slugging percentage (.555) and leads the league with 12 runs scored. But Rogozienski's hits are coming with few teammates on base as his 12 hits, including three doubles and two triples have only generated two RBI's, tied with 13 others for 37th place in the league.

"We've been playing this game a long time and it's very seldom you see a team with all cylinders working," said Wells. "It's usually one or the other, and now the pitchers are working, and while the hitting's okay, it's nothing to write home about."

Notable pitchers include senior Andrew Johnson with a 2-1 record and 1.38 ERA. He has walked only two batters and struck out 21 over 25.1 innings. He has thrown two complete game shutouts.

Sardo has a 3-1 record, 1.20 ERA, eight walks and 24 strikeouts through 23.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .176 against him and he has two complete-game shutouts.

Senior Santiago Gomez has a 1.71 ERA covering 16.1 innings with opponents hitting .188.

Senior reliever Dan Berry has a 0.00 ERA over 6.2 innings with opponents batting .150.

Junior Austin Correia got the start in a game against La Jolla and threw 5.2 innings, giving up three runs and getting credit for the Pointers' 7-4 win. He has held opponents to a .171 batting average in five appearances.

Junior Roman Paniagua has a 0.88 ERA and a win in eight innings of relief pitching. Opponents are hitting .161 against him.

Shrader has two saves and an ERA of 0.00 in three appearances with opponents batting .133.

And sophomore Anthony Hall has shown his talents as well.

"We're very deep in pitching right now," Wells said. "We've got kids who know the game, and when the confidence comes around at the plate, I'm not worried about anything."

At the plate, junior Justin DaLuz trails Rogozienski by just 38 points with a .362 batting average. His 17 hits include four doubles and four RBI. He has struck out twice in 50 at-bats. No other regular starter is hitting above .282.

"It's all about whether their confidence level is high," Wells summarized. "If these kids believe in themselves, there's nothing they can't do."

Extra bases

The team is finishing play in the fourth largest prep baseball tournament in the U.S., the Lions Tournament. Now in its 62nd year, the event draws 136 teams from throughout California. The Pointers are in Div. 6A and share a bracket with Rocklin (Calif.), Otay Ranch and La Jolla. To see more, go to lionsbaseball.org.

To schedule all of these games, a total of 95 local fields are used including David Wells Field.

at Dana Middle School.

A total of 28 hotels house players and coaches for the duration of the tournament (April 10-13).

The Lions website lists hundreds of tournament players who have gone on to play in Major League Baseball including former Pointers Mike Adamson, John Balaz, Rigo Beltran, Cecil Espy, Jim Fuller and Wells.
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