Bad news for San Diego County high school baseball teams: Santana High School pitcher Bill Reed has picked up where he left off a year ago.
Last season, Reed won all 10 of his starts. He had a 2.37 earned-run average, a save and 76 strikeouts in 71 innings.
In two starts this season, Reed, The Times' Player of the Week, has shut out Marian (16-0) and Montgomery (5-0), allowing a total of three hits. In the victory over Marian on Friday, Reed allowed one hit and struck out 14.
"To tell you the truth, against Marian he wasn't that sharp," Santana Coach Jim Saska said. "He was way high with everything."
"I wasn't throwing that good that game," said Reed, 18. "I could not find the strike zone."
Saska blames the once-a-week early-season workouts for Reed's lack of accuracy.
"He was throwing hard, but he wasn't really that sharp," Saska said.
Reed, who has an 87-m.p.h. fastball, believes he merely has to work out the kinks before he regains his form.
"I feel like I'm rusty," said Reed, a senior left-hander. "I'm not smooth in my windup. As soon as I nail that, I don't think there's anybody who can beat me."
A year ago, Reed was the No. 2 pitcher on a team that went 26-2, won the Grossmont League title and the Section 3-A title and was named by Cal-Hi Sports as the state Team of the Year. The No. 1 pitcher was Mike Hook, now in the Houston Astros organization. Last season, Hook had a 12-1 record with a 1.29 earned-run average, a perfect game and a 17-strikeout game. Such numbers are Reed's goals.
"I can look at Mike Hook and say I want to be just as good, if not better, than he was," Reed said. "Last year we were on the same team and I was second to him. This year I want to be as good, or better, than him.
"Hook was our top pitcher, and I considered myself right up there with him. He took care of the tough teams and I came in and just cleaned up the rest."
This season, it is Reed's turn to take care of the tough teams. His first big challenge comes Friday at Grossmont, a team many league coaches believe can beat Santana in the league race.
"That's definitely going to be a game I get pumped up for," Reed said. "They're throwing their best pitcher (Lance Dickson), who people say is better than me. So we'll be going at each other."
Reed, named by Cal-Hi Sports as a preseason all-state pitcher, can hit almost as well. Last year he hit .351 overall and .455 in league play. He is 8 for 18 (.421) through Santana's first six games, including a "slump" that he blamed on a new bat.
"Now I'm starting to hit the ball hard and solid and all over the place," said Reed, who has returned to his old bat.
When asked to compare his hitting style to that of a major leaguer, Reed didn't know what to say.
"I have not a clue to whom I hit like," he said. "I hit like Bill Reed."
More bad news for the opposition.