SOUTHERN SECTION BASEBALL PREVIEWS : WESTSIDE LEAGUE
COACH: Dave Desmond and Pat Cheek, 5th season
LAST SEASON: 24-3; 1st in league, 8-0
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Four all-league starters return for the Hawks, the local Small Schools Division’s terrors of the basepaths. Leading the way is catcher-pitcher Jakob Jensen, who batted .505 and drove in a team-high 52 runs. Jensen, who was 9-0 as a pitcher, was an All-Southern Section selection. Tum Ratanatraiphob, a junior infielder who batted .429 and stole 50 bases, will bat in the leadoff position. Ratanatraiphob should break the section career mark for stolen bases (113) before he is through--he is now tied with Lenny Dykstra (Garden Grove High, 1979-81) for sixth place with 89 steals. Ed Anastas, a junior outfielder, batted .339 with 15 runs batted in and 25 stolen bases. Josh Johansen, a senior outfielder, also returns. Newcomers include freshmen Lal Knight and Malachi Morden, who will start in the infield. David Antrim, a projected stater in the outfield, also lettered last season. Monica Palma, a two-time league MVP in girls’ basketball, will start at first.
OUTLOOK: Highland Hall is within range of the state mark for consecutive league victories, 35, set in 1986-89 by St. Bernard. The Hawks have won 32 league games in a row, but Desmond isn’t counting his chickens just yet. He points to Westside Prep as the league favorite to unseat the Hawks, who have won four league titles in as many years. “This could be the year it ends,” Desmond said of the streak.