Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Greg Hansell, Kennedy High School pitcher, thought he had met the ultimate challenge in a pressure-packed championship game at Dodger Stadium when he led the Fighting Irish to a 1-0 victory over Saugus for the Southern Section 3-A title.
Hansell outdueled Saugus' heralded Roger Salkeld in a memorable nine-inning game and scored the game's only run, on a wild pitch. The victory was Hansell's 13th of the season and 11th complete game of a remarkable senior season.
Now, it's decision time. Should he follow his plan to play football and baseball at Nevada Reno, where he has signed a national letter of intent? Or should he sign a major league contract with the Boston Red Sox after he was drafted in the seventh round in baseball's amateur draft?
Will Hansell report to football camp on Aug. 12, where he is projected as a linebacker at Nevada Reno? Or will he be playing for pay by the end of the month?
"I don't know what I'm going to do," Hansell said. "I plan to explore all my options and then talk things over with my parents and Coach (Chris) Pascal before I make any decisions."
Originally, Hansell's future appeared to be on the football field. He was a standout linebacker and tight end for Coach Mitch Olson, leading Kennedy to a Division VI playoff berth.
But Hansell, The Times' baseball player of the year, might have taken a career U-turn. Hansell (13-1) struck out 123 in 96 innings and allowed only 17 earned runs. He also pitched a perfect game against Garden Grove.
The championship capped off a great year," Hansell said. "The whole year was a team effort, and I wouldn't have accomplished anything without the help of my teammates."
Hansell credited an improved curveball and increased velocity on his fastball--which he mastered while playing for a Connie Mack team in Long Beach last summer--for his banner season. He will play in the Orange County All-Star baseball game Tuesday and has been selected to play in the state all-star game later this month.
Hansell was a three-sport star for Kennedy. He played basketball for two years and was a member of Kennedy's 3-A championship team last season. He said he enjoyed participating in all three sports during his high school career.
"I like getting all my aggression out on the football field and the contact," he said. "I also liked the teamwork involved to be successful.
"Basketball was a lot of fun. I played with a great group of guys and got to play on a CIF championship team as a junior. I'll never forget that season.
"Baseball is where I've had my most success and will probably be my future. It was so much fun we didn't want the season to end. The last couple of weeks, we actually looked forward to practice."
Hansell, who will graduate with a 3.8 grade-point average, also has served as the school's student body vice president. He helped plan school dances, activities and assemblies during Kennedy's 25th anniversary.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
IP W-L SO BB ERA 96 13-1 123 25 1.24