Danny Gil had a fistful of goals at the beginning of his senior season at Poly High. But even he admits that some goals are reachable and others fall more into the dreams category. You know, the stuff every baseball player wants--but doesn't necessarily expect--to attain.
A few short months later, Gil has accomplished everything he imagined and then some. This has been a dream season that actually came true.
"Sometimes I can't believe it," said Gil, a 5-11, 175-pound shortstop. "I mean, I played as a sophomore and I had a good year as a junior, but now I've got people calling the house and teachers I don't even know coming up to me and congratulating me at school.
"It's really something."
Gil not only satisfied his preseason objectives, he piled up a few he'd never even imagined.
"At the start of the year, I told myself that I wanted to make it to Dodger Stadium, make All-City, bat .400 and play in the Milligan Game," Gil said.
Multiple missions accomplished. Gil helped lead Poly to the City Section 4-A finals at Dodger Stadium. He's been a first-team selection on the All-City and The Times All-Valley teams. He batted .539 with 40 runs batted in. And he'll play in the Bernie Milligan All-Star Game at Cal State Northridge later this month.
But that's all old news. He's been keeping busy in the meantime.
Last weekend, he played for the victorious South team in a three-game series in San Diego against a team of all-stars from Northern California. Tuesday, Gil signed a letter of intent to play at USC. Wednesday, the same day he was named to the All-City team, he graduated from Poly. Tonight, he'll play for the California all-star team against Oklahoma in a three-game series in Lodi.
"When I first read that I was playing for the state all-star team, I thought it was a misprint," said Gil, who graduated with a 3.2 grade-point average. "I didn't do all that great in San Diego--1 for 8 with 4 strikeouts. I struck out more in three games than I did all season. I was surprised to hear I even made the team."
Gil also may have a good chance of making the first team at USC.
"They told me that when they make this type of commitment in a player that they don't like him to spend time on the JV team," Gil said. "They're not guaranteeing anything, of course, but they may have a need for me at third base. If I play like I'm capable of playing, I think I can help."
Sounds like another Gil goal.
More Kerber kudos: Canoga Park right-hander Mike Kerber, who as a pitcher was 7-0 with an earned-run average of 1.52 and as a batter hit .400, was named most valuable player in the City Section by the First National Bank Amateur Athletic Foundation.
Kerber, a 6-4, 185-pound junior who helped lead Canoga Park to its first City title, will return next season along with teammate Adam Schulhofer (.397, 7 home runs), another first-team pick. Senior catcher Mike Urman (.418) also made the team.
Valley players accounted for 13 of the 16 positions on the team.
Also selected were Chatsworth's Rex McMackin (.542) and Joel Wolfe (.494), Poly's Joey Speakes (.488), Luis Porres (.474), Gil and Greg Nealon (10-2, 1.45), El Camino Real's Rob Bumgarner (.408), Birmingham's Ernie Perez (.424), Sylmar's Olonzo Woodfin (11-4, 1.40) and San Fernando's Frank Serna (8-1, 1.50).
Add honors: For the second consecutive year, Jeff Cirillo of Providence has been named Southern Section Small Schools Large Division Player of the Year by the First National selection committee.
Cirillo, who was 10-3 with an ERA of 1.70 and batted .553 with 8 home runs and 56 RBIs, was joined on the first team by teammate Steve Ross (.481), Montclair Prep's Jeff Light (.416, 32 RBIs), Frank Charles (.390, 52 RBIs), J.R. Smith (.414) and pitcher Scott Hauser (9-0, 1.09) and Moorpark's David Romero (.4-3, 3.11, .491).
In the 2-A, Saugus' Don Pederson (.412) made the first team, Canyon's Gary Morgan (.372) made the second team and Saugus' Steve Risinger (.400) made the third team.
In the 1-A, Bell-Jeff's Tom Ressler (.386) was named to the first team.