GLENDALE — David Olmedo-Barrera still remembers when Cal State Fullerton’s baseball team won the College World Series in 2004.
Olmedo-Barrera, who’s entering his senior season with St. Francis, will hope to be a part of another Titans national championship team now that he verbally committed to play for Cal State University Fullerton on Monday.
“They have a really rich tradition in Omaha and everything,” said Olmedo-Barrera of the Titans’ history of advancing to the College World Series in Omaha. “It’s a great baseball program, a really big powerhouse in college baseball and I am happy to be a part of it.”
The Golden Knights’ shortstop said he will receive a partial scholarship, which covers tuition and books, to play for the Titans. He finished his junior campaign with a .415 batting average (.394 in Mission League), 19 RBI, 11 doubles and 11 stolen bases and was a Mission League and All-Area first-team selection.
Brian Esquival, St. Francis’ coach, said “it’s a great day” and great situation for his impact player.
“He has the chance to go to the College World Series for four years and he will be on national TV during the regionals and all that,” Esquival said. “He is giving himself an opportunity to play big-time baseball at a big-time program and everything that goes along with it.”
Olmedo-Barrera was recruited by Cal State Fullerton as a second baseman with the possibility of spending some time at third base. The main thing the Titans will ask him to do is make an impact with his bat, like he has with the Golden Knights.
“The [Titans] expect me to hit, that’s one of my strong points,” Olmedo-Barrera said.
There is still Olmedo-Barrera’s final season at St. Francis to focus on. Esquival will be looking for him step up and take more of a leadership role on the team.
“Now [Olmedo-Barrera’s] going to have the freshmen and sophomores looking up to him and asking how they can be like David,” Esquival said. “He can’t take a day off.”
On the field, Olmedo-Barrera hopes to bring a title or two back to St. Francis as a senior.
“I am going to try to get my team to a championship, CIF or Mission League championship,” he said. “I want to win some games, help the team and see how far we can go.”
Olmedo-Barrera said he hopes he’ll be able to excel in his senior high school season without the distraction of recruiting, school visits and college applications.
“It’s a big weight off my shoulders now and I feel really comfortable with the choice I made,” he said. “I am just focusing on getting better and honing my skills for the next level.”
That’s been Olmedo-Barrera’s focus this summer, as he’s spent time on St. Francis’ summer league team and with the Arroyo Seco Saints, a Palomino baseball team.
“The more baseball you play the more you learn,” he said. “There’s never too much you can know.”