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Boys’ Player of the Week : Dolan Makes Most of His On-the-Job Training

Times Staff Writer

Ken Dolan doesn’t regard himself as anything special. He’s just another freshman at San Clemente High School.

Of course, not every freshman at San Clemente pitches for the varsity baseball team. Only Dolan.

“It’s really not that different,” Dolan said. “Except I feel like everybody’s little brother.”

Dolan, 14, is well ahead of players his own age. Only a year out of youth leagues, he is going against some players who were already in high school when Dolan was in the sixth grade.

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“I feel he’s going to be a very good player down the line,” San Clemente Coach Joe Miller said. “We just wanted to show him what the varsity level was like. The experience he’s getting this year will help him.”

But, Dolan, The Times’ player of the week, is not only gaining experience, he’s winning.

On Friday, he threw a one-hitter against Capistrano Valley, giving up only a bloop double to Brain Walker in the second inning. Dolan struck out four and walked one in a 2-0 victory.

Dolan is 2-1 with a 2.30 earned-run average with 18 strikeouts in 27 innings this season.

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“Ken has so much talent that there’s been temptation to stick him in the rotation and let him pitch,” Miller said. “But I didn’t want to hurt his arm or push him too fast. I wanted to bring him along slowly.”

Miller, who heard about Dolan last spring through a friend, first saw Dolan pitch at a Senior League game in San Juan Capistrano.

Miller was so impressed he immediately checked Southern Section rules for age requirements on varsity players.

“It didn’t take long to realize Ken had a great arm,” Miller said. “I just wanted to make sure it would be legal to bring him up right away. Once I found out it was OK, there was no doubt in my mind we would put him on the varsity.”

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Said Dolan: “I was really scared at first. These guys were so much older than me. I really didn’t expect to play.”

In his first start, against Sunny Hills in the Bolsa Grande tournament, Dolan struck out seven, but lost, 7-6, on an unearned run.

He has been used primarily in relief, striking out seven in four innings against Dos Pueblos. Two weeks ago, Miller believed Dolan was ready to move into the rotation and started him against Mission Viejo.

“I was nervous and the Mission Viejo bench was taunting me,” Dolan said. “They kept calling me ‘skinny boy.’ ”

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Dolan threw a four-hitter.

It was his first varsity victory, as San Clemente (8-14, 4-9 in league play) won, 4-2.

“After that, I really felt I could win on this level,” Dolan said. “It’s not all that different, except you can’t get away with a fastball down the middle. They’ll rope that.”

TOP PERFORMERS

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Chris Clarke of Rancho Alamitos set a league record in the 100-yard backstroke (54.76) at the Garden Grove League swim finals Friday.

Mitch Kaylor of Sonora had two home runs and two doubles and four RBIs as the Raiders swept two games from Buena Park to move within a game of first place in the Freeway League.

Jeff Manship of Fullerton had three hits and three RBIs, as the Indians swept two games from first-place La Habra and moved within one game of the Freeway League lead.

Jim Robbins of Corona del Mar set a league record in the 1,600 meters (4:11.6) at the Sea View League track and field finals Friday.

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Ron Scott of Foothill set a league record in the 100-yard butterfly (50.59) at the Century League swim finals Friday.

Charlie Tyler of Edison set a Sunset League meet record in the long jump (23-6) Friday.

Ken Dolan

San Clemente High

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Position: Pitcher

Height, Weight, Class: 6-0, 155, Fr.

Last Week: Dolan threw a one-hitter against Capistrano Valley as San Clemente won, 2-0. He struck out 4 and walked only 1, giving up just a second-inning double.

Season: Dolan is 2-1 with a 2.30 earned-run average. He has 18 strike outs in 27 innings.

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