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High School Baseball Season Preview:

Hoping to build on success

Bell-Jeff, Burbank, Burroughs look to continue upswing; Providence wants to forget about last year.

March 01, 2008|By Jeff Tully

With 13 seniors on his squad, and a great deal of talent returning, Bulldogs Coach Bob Hart is expecting his squad to add to its success from last season.

“This is a team that has a great deal of character,” said Hart, whose son, Kyle, plays at Burroughs. “This team is off the charts when it comes to being quality individuals.

“We have some experience with the group of returners, and I think we have a good group.”

Pitching might be Burbank’s strong suit.

Leading the way is senior left-hander Ben Levitt, a crafty hurler with good control. A second-team all-league selection, Levitt went 6-4 with a 1.80 ERA and 62 strikeouts last season.

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Also returning is Anthony Gianelli, a hard-throwing right-hander. Senior Justin Rivas, a versatile thrower, will also see time on the mound.

“We think with Ben, Anthony and Justin, with their different styles, we should have three good pitchers,” Hart said.

One player who could give the Bulldogs a boost this season is second baseman Victor Anaya, a transfer from Glendale High.

Other key returners are senior shortstop Grant Bushey, senior third baseman Chris Montgomery, senior catcher R.J. Mott and senior outfielders Ian Glebocki, Steven Parks and Austin Cripps.

Senior Mitchell Burns could also see time at first base.

In league, Hart said he expects Crescenta Valley and Burroughs to have talented teams.

PROVIDENCE

The 2007 season is one that Pioneers Coach Nick Rondin would like to forget. Providence (3-15, 0-8) finished fifth in the Liberty League after a year of injuries, setbacks and disappointment.

“Things are already going a lot better for us this season,” Rondin said. “Last year, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. But we are looking to bounce back this season.”

Leading the comeback is junior center fielder/pitcher Anthony Lopez.

“Anthony is just incredible in the outfield,” Rondin said. “He gets to every ball and nothing gets past him. He’s also a great hitter.”

With a versatile group of players, Rondin said he will employ a large group of pitchers.

That group is led by senior shortstop Chris Antablian.

While junior Trevor Johnson and Devin Pugliese — who can also play third — will platoon at first base, junior Kyle Gilliam will compete for the shortstop spot, junior Jake Johnson will do the catching and junior Jake Fuller, senior Edrick Pirvaysian, Oscar Urzua and senior David Ixtlahuac will patrol the outfield.

Also expected to see time on the mound is junior Anthony Scott.

In league competition, Rondin said he expects Viewpoint and Buckley — which had deep playoff runs last year — to be tough.

“Our goal is to make it back to the playoffs,” Rondin said. “I think we will play better this year and hopefully make that happen.”


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