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O.C. baseball player of the year: Cypress' Dominic Fletcher
Every opponent knew all about Cypress center fielder Dominic Fletcher.
He was All-Orange County first team last season as a junior. Fletcher had been a varsity starter his freshman year, 2013, when Cypress won a CIF-SS championship. His ability to hit for power and average were widely recognized.
So Fletcher did not get the juiciest pitches to hit this season. Still, he batted .365, scored 29 runs, drove in 27 and collected 38 hits.
Fletcher led the Centurions to an undefeated run through the Empire League and another league championship, and to a No. 4 ranking in the final Orange County top 10. Cypress was seeded fourth in the ultra-tough Division 1 playoffs bracket.
It was another great season of accomplishment and consistency for Fletcher, who has been selected as the Register’s Orange County baseball player of the year.
Fletcher, who bats and throws left-handed, is powerfully constructed at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds. To Cypress coach John Weber, Fletcher’s excellence goes beyond his physical attributes.
“Dom has incredible hand-to-eye coordination and lot of intangibles that make him even more special,” Weber said. “He has a real knack for the game. He has a high baseball IQ, great instincts, and defensively he’s the best player I’ve ever coached.”
Individual highlights were plentiful. Fletcher especially enjoyed a walk-off home run he hit to beat Tustin in a league game.
The team accomplishments, though, were more important to him.
“Getting past the first round (of the playoffs), after losing there my sophomore and junior years, was great,” said Fletcher, who batted .400 in the playoffs. “Going undefeated in league as a senior and sharing that with all my friends on the team was special, too.”
Fletcher got involved in baseball at a young age.
“When my brother David was 10, I was out there practicing with him and his team,” he said. “And I was doing pretty good at keeping up with all those guys, and that made me realize a little bit that I was good. I was that team’s bat boy and I was almost as good as all those guys.”
He mostly played first base as he approached his high school years.
“Then everyone else kept growing and I didn’t,” Fletcher said. “So I stopped playing first base.”
His ascendancy in baseball carried him to a starting role as the center fielder on the Cypress team that won the CIF-SS Division 2 title his freshman year.
“It was crazy to come in and play right away with my brother and all the big boys,” he said. “We had Kevin Lillicrop, Tyler Alamo, my brother and so many great players. It was so good for me to be around them so much and see how they went about playing baseball at Cypress.”
Fletcher signed with Arkansas. A Southeastern Conference school is not a typical destination for an Orange County baseball player.
“I wanted to go to the SEC,” he said. “So I visited a bunch of schools like Mississippi and Auburn and Arkansas.”
“They gave me the best offer and it felt like home to me there,” Fletcher said. “They have the best fan base and great crowds out there. And I kind of wanted to get away from home and get that full college experience you can get by going away.”
As Weber said, Fletcher is a polished player. Fletcher sees the need for more polish.
“I need to work on my speed a little bit,” he said. “I need to get a little more patient at the plate. This year, I got pitched around a little bit and wasn’t patient enough.”
He got a hold of enough pitches, and made enough defensive players, to earn county player of the year honors.
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