COACH OF THE YEAR
Jerry Cord led Poly High to its second consecutive East Valley League title and to the City Section 4-A Division championship game at Dodger Stadium. The day after Poly lost to San Pedro, 6-3, in the final, Cord, 52, announced his resignation. Cord coached at Poly for 18 years, the second-longest tenure among current City baseball coaches in the Valley. He guided the Parrots to the City final three times (1978, 1987 and 1992). The Parrots were 21-5, including a 15-game winning streak through to the final, in Cord’s final campaign, a season that ended in sadness. The day before the City championship game, Cord’s 25-year-old son Christopher died after a lengthy illness.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
John Aguilar led Hart to a 15-0 record in Foothill League play and into the second round of the Southern Section 5-A Division playoffs with numbers that were difficult to ignore. Batting third in the lineup, Aguilar hit nine home runs to set a single-season school record. He also led the Indians in batting average (.457), hits (37), runs batted in (38), runs (30), doubles (five), triples (four), walks (20), total bases (77), slugging percentage (.563). . . . Have we missed anything? Aguilar (6-foot-1, 180 pounds), an excellent fielder with a strong arm, was the league’s co-player of the year.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Crespi’s Jeff Suppan already has three years of varsity experience under his belt and is regarded as the best pitching prospect among the Class of 1993. Suppan was selected the pitcher of the year in the Mission League, which came as no surprise. He hurled the Celts to the league title this spring and finished with a record of 7-3 and a sparkling earned-run average of 1.28. Suppan struck out 82, walked 19 and allowed just 52 hits in 71 1/3 innings. He also batted .380 with three home runs and 22 RBIs.
Bobby Cowan of Saugus was selected Golden League MVP after a workhorse year that included 18 appearances, five complete games and 78 1/3 innings. Cowan finished 12-2--one victory shy of the school’s single-season record set by Seattle Mariner minor leaguer Roger Salkeld. Cowan also posted a 1.69 ERA with 85 strikeouts, and he also saved two games. In league play, Cowan was 7-0 and defeated every opponent as the Centurions (13-2) finished four games ahead of second-place Palmdale.
Winner of the City Section’s Les Haserot Award for his performance in the 4-A Division playoffs, Poly’s Eric Diaz (11-2) earned all three of Poly’s postseason victories en route to the 4-A final. In 71 1/3 innings, the senior right-hander allowed 15 earned runs for a 1.47 ERA. He allowed 46 hits and 20 walks. Diaz, who was also Poly’s designated hitter, batted .338 with eight doubles and 19 RBIs. He was named to the All-City 4-A first team.
Taft’s Stacy Kleiner was the best of a talented group of catchers from the Northwest Valley Conference. Kleiner posted his second consecutive standout season with the bat. After batting .375 with 11 doubles as a sophomore, he came back strongly this spring to hit .463 with three homers, 19 RBIs and was named to the All-City 4-A team. If Kleiner (6-foot, 160) fills out physically, pitchers beware.
Dan Cey of El Camino Real already exhibits some of his father’s characteristic swagger and self-confidence. He also hits like his dad and already is taller than Ron Cey, a former major league third baseman. Dan, a junior shortstop, has the potential to become the region’s best player next season, some scouts say. He batted .418, drove in 16 runs, was an All-City 4-A selection and co-MVP of the West Valley League.
Brad Fullmer of Montclair Prep contended most of the year for the Valley’s triple crown before finishing with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs. His .538 average ranked among the leaders, and he also had six doubles. Fullmer anchored a Montclair Prep lineup that included nine .300 hitters. As a senior, he expects to move from second to third base.
In Grant’s high-powered attack that featured eight batters hitting .300 or better, Jim Guth was the most consistent player. The senior third baseman batted a team-high .426 with 29 hits. An impressive line-drive hitter batting in the cleanup position, Guth slammed seven doubles. He scored 26 runs and had 23 RBIs.
Vic Seper, an All-Mission League selection, was quietly superlative for Crespi, which might have fielded the best infield in the region. Seper, a senior third baseman, drove in 21 runs and batted .429. He led the Celts with 13 doubles and was one of four Crespi infielders to drive in 17 or more runs.
The Cinderella story of the season, David Stevenson of Chatsworth was cut from the junior varsity as a sophomore and junior. Midway through his senior season, he was riding the varsity bench. But no player in the region had a better second half than Stevenson. He finished with a batting average of .407, hit three homers and drove in 23 runs, all team highs. He was named to the All-City 4-A team and was co-MVP of the West Valley League.
Middle infielders with power are difficult to find, which could be one reason that Stanford signed Crespi’s Brodie Van Wagenen to a letter of intent. With Van Wagenen’s numbers as a second baseman, the Cardinal didn’t want him to get away. An All-Mission League selection, Van Wagenen batted .375 with a team-high six home runs and 22 RBIs.
An All-City 4-A selection, Scott Berger of Granada Hills posted some notable offensive figures. But the senior outfielder’s biggest moment came when he made a circus catch to seal an important victory from Taft, helping Granada Hills to the North Valley League title. Berger, a three-year starter who bats and throws left-handed, hit .446 and drove in 20 runs.
John Davis led the potent Kennedy offense in batting average (.402), stolen bases (12) and home runs (three) and was second in RBIs (23) and doubles (six). Davis, the team’s leadoff batter and offensive catalyst, scored 29 runs to lead the Northwest Valley Conference. The fleet outfielder also exhibited great range.
Poly’s Jesus Perez, a three-year starter and a two-time All-Valley selection, was 29 of 72 (.403) with five doubles. He led the team in runs (27) and stolen bases (12). Perez, who played right field in 1991, succeeded former teammate Jonathan Campbell (Cal State Northridge) in center field and as the leadoff batter.
Brian Powers was Chaminade’s bright light in an otherwise cloudy season. The junior outfielder batted .472 while playing for the Eagles, who finished last in the Mission League and 4-22 overall. A right-handed batter with a leg kick in the batter’s box reminiscent of Ruben Sierra, Powers slammed eight homers and drove in 25 runs, both team highs.
Not until this season did Doug Distaso of Hart pitch in high school. He made the suggestion to Coach Bud Murray in January, underwent a crash course in sliders and curves, and emerged as one of the Foothill League’s best pitchers. Distaso, an all-league wide receiver in the fall, was 6-1 with a 3.13 ERA. He had 46 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings. As a leadoff batter, he also had a league-leading 22 stolen bases.