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Baseball pitcher of the year: Nick Sprengel, El Dorado
Huntington Beach had just beaten El Dorado in the CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinals.
The winning coach was asked about El Dorado pitcher Nick Sprengel.
“I think he is, and this is no offense to any other teams we have faced,” Huntington Beach coach Benji Medure said, “the best pitcher we’ve faced this year.”
Sprengel impressed enough coaches, teams and players to be selected the Register’s pitcher of the year.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior left-hander was 10-2 with a 1.71 ERA. He struck out 102 in 732/3 innings with only 15 walks.
He was the Crestview League pitcher of the year and a key reason why the Golden Hawks won the league championship, advanced to the Division 1 quarterfinals and finished 21-9.
El Dorado coach Matt Lucas said Sprengel most reminded him of Kyle Twomey, a former El Dorado pitcher who this week was drafted by the Chicago Cubs.
“Like Kyle, Nick was very business-like on the mound,” Lucas said. “He knew what the game plan was and he would execute that plan.”
Sprengel, who signed with University of San Diego and was drafted this week in the 31st round by the Washington Nationals, used three pitches with almost equal success.
Asked for a self-evaulation, Sprengel said, “I can throw my fastball inside and outside, and I can throw my changeup and slider for strikes and be effective with all of them.”
Sprengel’s fastball was regularly clocked at 88 to 91 miles and hour. He did reach 93 and 94 miles an hour on occasion.
“His command of his fastball is one of the things he’s best at,” Lucas said. “His changeup is a work in progress. His slider, he can wipe out guys with that pitch.”
Sprengel is unsure if he will sign with the Nationals or go to University of San Diego. If he sticks with the college plan, that’s fine with him.
“The coaches are awesome and the location is great,” Sprengel said. “It’s a good school and it should be a lot of fun.”
Sprengel was a pitcher from his earliest days in baseball. He is thankful for everyone who has contributed to his success, especially to area youth baseball coach, Ken Towner, and to El Dorado pitching coach Nick Chavez.
Chavez, Sprengel said, helped refine Sprengel’s mechanics. He credited Towner for teaching him how to maintain an even demeanor.
Sprengel acknowledges there is room for continued improvement in all areas.
“I need to keep growing and getting stronger,” he said. “I have to keep developing every one of my pitches, just keep fine-tuning everything.”
When Sprengel looks back on his senior year, he will cherish the bonds of brotherhood forged with his El Dorado teammates.
“I’ll always remember the friendships and how much fun it was to play this year,” he said.
It was fun for Sprengel, sure, but not so much for opposing hitters.
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