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David Woodhouse Dominates--the Sport Doesn’t Matter Much

See David Woodhouse hit running backs and wide receivers.

The 6-foot 3-inch, 210-pound Bonita Vista linebacker made the All-CIF first team last fall. He has signed a letter of intent to play football at San Diego State next fall.

See David play shortstop.

On the Bonita Vista baseball team, Woodhouse plays shortstop when he is not pitching. Against Montgomery earlier in the season, Woodhouse made five outstanding plays and saved the game for Bonita Vista with a leaping catch late in the game.

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See David hit a baseball.

He ended this season batting .430. Last Tuesday, Woodhouse had three hits, including a solo home run, and three runs batted in as Bonita Vista beat Hilltop, 15-4. Friday, Woodhouse tripled to deep left-center in his first at-bat against Montgomery to score a pair of runs. He drove in 26 this year. Woodhouse hit .412 last season, with 35 RBIs.

Then see why so many people come to see David pitch.

The 18-year-old pushed his record to 9-0 Friday with a victory in relief, again against Montgomery.

He struck out 82 batters in 59 innings this season. Against Point Loma on March 19, he struck out 13. Against Hilltop on May 5 and Montgomery Friday, he struck out 11. His earned-run average is 0.70.

“You don’t know if you’re looking at a shortstop, hitter or pitcher when he’s out there,” one scout said. “He probably even catches.”

He does.

Woodhouse is the most important weapon that Coach John Gibbs has as he prepares his Metro-South Bay champion Barons to play host to Valhalla at 3 p.m. in today’s opening round of the San Diego Section playoffs.

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What Woodhouse has is a fastball that has been clocked in the high 80s and low 90s. Scouts have been flocking to see him pitch.

“They (scouts) come to games a half-hour early to set up their speed guns and video recorders,” Gibbs said. “I’ve never seen so many scouts come to a game.”

Said Castle Park Coach Bob Korzep: “He is an extraordinary talent. He has improved on his control to the point where he works the plate as an accomplished pitcher does. That’s something he wasn’t doing earlier in the year. He’s almost unhittable. (Pitchers) like Woodhouse just don’t come along every day and I wish we had one (like him).”

Said San Diego State assistant coach Gary Brown: “He doesn’t throw a lot of curves or changeups, but he doesn’t need to. If you throw 83 to 85 m.p.h. like he can, you’ll just overpower high school batters.”

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Said teammate and best friend Billy Miller: “It’s hard to hit what you can’t see.”

So everybody is raving about this red-headed pitcher who, when you shut your eyes and listen to his “pop,” makes you think you are at any one of the 26 major league ballparks around the country. Does he think he has been dominating hitters this year?

“Well, I like to think I do,” Woodhouse said. “I feel I can. Yeah, I think I can . . . I guess so. It’s been working, so I guess I’ve been dominating hitters.”

“Well” and “I guess” are popular words in Woodhouse’s vocabulary. He is as shy off the field as he is dominating on it. He doesn’t like to go up to people and express himself, much less get up in front of a class and give a speech.

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Miller said Woodhouse is easy-going. They have known each other since Woodhouse’s family moved to Chula Vista, from Hawaii, 14 years ago.

Woodhouse started showing signs of a strong arm 10 years ago when he was playing in a Cap League for 8-year-olds.

“Girls were allowed to play in the league,” Woodhouse said, “and one time a girl, at bat, started crying. I guess I was throwing too hard and I made her cry. That’s when I knew I could throw hard.”

Point Loma’s Pat Evenson found out how hard Woodhouse can throw in the third week of the season. A Woodhouse fastball hit Evenson in his left cheekbone.

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Rob Savarese usually catches Woodhouse, but Savarese was the Barons’ shortstop that day.

“Woodhouse’s movement on his fastball is up and in,” Savarese said, “and it really moves. That pitch tailed in on Evenson and he leaned into it the wrong way. The ball hit him and (Evenson) dropped still into the dirt.”

Said Miller: “I knew right away (Evenson) was hurting. It sounded like the ball hit a hard wall. He was out cold.”

Evenson had to be carried off the field on a stretcher. No bones were broken, but the wound required 26 stitches. Evenson returned in a week--with a protective shield on his helmet.

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“I was trying to get him inside,” Woodhouse said, “and that fastball tailed up and in. It just sailed away on me. I heard a ‘crack’ like a bone crunching. I didn’t let it affect me. You just have to put it out of your mind.”

Just as he puts his football hits out of his mind. Miller, who played outside linebacker next to Woodhouse last fall, says his friend is an animal on a football field.

“He has a linebacker attitude,” Miller said. “Woodhouse doesn’t have much sympathy.”

Woodhouse cannot afford to sympathize, because then he might miss his tackles.

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He might hit .200 instead of .400-plus. He might have a 3-3 record, like last year, instead of 9-0.

Last season, Woodhouse lacked mechanics. During basketball season last winter, he went to the San Diego School of Baseball and learned where to pitch.

“He also emotionally and mentally matured,” Gibbs said. “He grew into his body. His attitude has been excellent this year, very businesslike. He comes out and gets the job done. He is always one of the first guys to practice.”

Woodhouse got a bit anxious when the scouts began to show up and tried to show off his stuff, but the ball wound up bouncing high off the fence behind home often. It did not take long before he got accustomed to the scouts and settled down.

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He is anything but settled off the field. That is why his favorite class is drama. Once a day, Woodhouse is a lighting technician in that class. He shows up, turns the lights on, watches a play or two, then turns the lights off.

“I like watching other people do something on stage,” Woodhouse said, “something I can’t do. I think I can express myself better on the field.”

Woodhouse will soon have to express what he wants to do with his career, but not until the major league draft in June. If the money is there, that’s what he will do. If not, San Diego State is looking for a few good linebackers. Woodhouse might even play college baseball, but he would either catch or play shortstop.

Did anyone ever see Dick Butkus on a pitching mound?

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“I’ll just wait and see,” Woodhouse said. “I’ll play out my options.”


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