Herald baseball looks to build on success
By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal
Whittier Christian Baseball looks to repeat the performance they put together last year thanks to improved depth.
The Heralds were able to make a run in CIF playoffs and finished in third in the Olympic league (17-13 6-6).
“All those teams bring out the best in all of us. We get better because of it, we’re looking to try and notch a league title and make a deep run at a CIF title,” head coach Brent Lavoie said.
Despite departures from their starting pitching staff and and the top of the order, the Heralds have been able to bring a deeper team with increased depth and speed in the lineup.
“We’ve got competition on the yard every single day. So in practice, guys are competing for jobs still. It’s a good healthy battle,” head coach Brent Lavoie said.
Last year’s team was led by Mike Rafter who led the pitching staff and anchored the top of the lineup as a senior.
This year, Cooper Hughes and Mike Rubio will be looked upon to not only lead the team on the field but off the field as captains.
Hughes will expand his role as the team’s primary catcher and will also toe the rubber.
Rubio will slide to shortstop after playing second and third last year.
Another unexpected departure from the team is Brian Rafter who would have been a junior this year, he’s traded in his baseball bat for a golf club.
The outfield which was anchored by Brian Rafter in centerfield will have a very different look.
Damon Holm and Christian Alvis-Labadie are two newcomers with opportunities to get regular playing time.
Isaiah Carreon would be the other holdover from last year’s team, but he broke his thumb on opening day, which should keep him sidelined for a few weeks.
The Heralds lineup will benefit from regular playing time from Brett Greene who is expected to play the entire season with the Varsity team after finishing the season with them last year.
Willy Ramirez will also have a chance to be an impact bat in the order and got off to a good start with a three run homer against Santa Ana Valley High School as the Heralds cruised to a 25-6 win.
For many of the Herald having simply played a season and gotten the experience from all of that while adding a year of growth should help them improve.
“You’ve got a lot of varsity experience, a lot of varsity starters that came back, Lavoie said, “Just that experience factor, I’ve been here, done that, now I’m ready to roll.”
This Herald’s baseball team will also have the benefit of a few transfers to go along with their new additions.
Josh Hernandez is a sophomore from La Mirada who bats left handed can play anywhere including pitcher and catcher and has speed.
Matthew Salas is expected to start at second base after he transferred from St Paul.
Jeremiah Moore transferred from Michigan and will play in the outfield.
With expectations high and plenty of experience from last season, the Heralds will have plenty of depth and talent to compete with the best in the Olympic League.