Jesse Anguiano of Simi Valley High doesn’t wait until baseball season to start getting into the swing of things. He also doesn’t need to take his cuts at the batting cages owned by Coach Mike Scyphers.
Instead, Anguiano practices hitting about 100 baseballs a day in his batting cage at home.
The extra work paid immediate dividends for the senior second baseman in the first round of the El Segundo tournament Friday. Anguiano had three hits, walked twice and scored three runs to lead Simi Valley to a 14-6, season-opening victory over Muir at Simi Valley.
“The cage really helps my eye-hand coordination,” Anguiano said. “I don’t have to worry about my timing. I always go to the plate with a positive attitude. I can’t wait until the pitcher throws the ball because I know I’m going to hit it.”
Anguiano played despite a sore thumb he injured in a pickup basketball game three weeks ago, requiring a cast. Anguiano hit .295 with three home runs while batting in the No. 9 position last season. In his first start as the Pioneer leadoff man, he doubled to right to begin a four-run first inning. He also had singles in the second and third innings as the Pioneers eased to an 8-2 lead.
Terry Hill, Jeff Sommer and Kenny Hood--Simi Valley’s Nos. 3, 4, and 5 hitters--combined for six of the team’s 13 hits and drove in eight runs.
“We did a good job offensively,” Scyphers said. “I was surprised to see us hit the ball so well this early. Defensively, we broke down. We made too many errors that forced our pitcher to make pitches he shouldn’t have to make.”
Simi Valley committed six errors, leading to all six Muir runs. Senior right-hander Rich Langford allowed four unearned runs on five hits and one walk. Langford, however, cannot place all the blame on his teammates for tarnishing his debut. He had a throwing error and two wild pitches in the third inning that resulted in two runs.
“I was a little nervous at first,” Langford said. “Half their team can’t hit the ball and I was trying to strike everyone out.”
Langford was throwing the ball in the mid-80s, according to the five major league scouts in attendance, but he conceded that he had trouble with his off-speed pitches.
“I had trouble with my curve,” Langford said. “It didn’t break right.”
Simi Valley also made mistakes running the basepaths. Anguiano was thrown out twice--once at third base and once at home.