Despite Good Outings, Fuller Empty-Handed
Donnie Fuller says lack of recognition doesn’t bother him and that’s good, because if he were any more overlooked, he’d be underground.
Fuller, a recent graduate of Ventura High and a pitcher on the Ventura Legion team, has been on a tear for the last four months but almost no one has noticed.
During the high school season, Fuller struck out 69 batters and walked only 17 in 74 innings. He was 2-2 but posted a 1.80 earned-run average.
In Legion ball, the right-handed Fuller is 4-1 with a save and a 0.39 ERA. He has struck out 48 batters and walked 12 in 36 innings and his loss was a 2-1 setback to Ojai in which he surrendered two unearned runs.
Fuller’s talents have been overshadowed by his teams’ records. Ventura High was 9-14 and finished seventh in the eight-team Channel League. The Ventura Legion team is 7-9.
"[The lack of recognition is] not that big a deal to me but I did think that because my teams haven’t done that well that colleges might have looked at my record and not my stats,” said Fuller, who plans to attend either Oxnard College or Ventura College.
“It’s been pretty frustrating. I just tell the guys we need a win here because I don’t want [a narrow loss] to happen again.”
Ventura High Coach Dan Smith describes Fuller’s unrewarded efforts as “a crying shame” and said the right-hander was one of the better pitchers he’s coached in his career.
“He easily could have been 8-2 but we lost five or six games by a run after he left [the game],” Smith said. “He was really consistent on the mound and the problems we had weren’t his.”
Fuller, 6 feet 1 and 190 pounds, throws his fastball about 85 mph and mixes in a curveball and slider. He said he earned a 3.0 grade-point average at Ventura High but did not take the standardized tests necessary to attend a four-year college.
“He’s a power pitcher but he also throws the other pitches for strikes and that’s rare for high school kids,” Ventura pitching coach Bryan Leiser said. “I’ve told [college] coaches that once someone really takes a look at this guy he’s going to be gone.”
Rick Stockton, a 1997 graduate of Calabasas High who attends Moorpark College, entered the week leading Calabasas with a .410 batting average.
Stockton had six doubles, two home runs and had stolen eight bases in nine attempts. He was 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA.
David Turner, a 1997 graduate of Agoura High, is putting up good numbers for Agoura.
A student at Ventura College, Turner began the week having allowed only one unearned run in the last 22 innings. During that time he had two shutouts, a save and a no-hitter.
Turner, 4-0 with a 0.43 ERA, has struck out 47 batters and walked 11 in 32 2/3 innings.
Second baseman Kevin O’Hara and the entire outfield for Valley Chatsworth have been selected to the District 20 all-star game.
O’Hara didn’t begin playing for Chatsworth until this week after breaking his finger during the high school season.
Outfielders Kurt Birkins, Jesse Dechter and Matt Schwartz also were selected to the East squad.
The game will be played Sunday at 6 p.m. at Stengel Field in Glendale.
Staff writer Michael Lazarus contributed to this notebook.