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KEVIN SULLIVAN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Dana Hills' Jackson Zoch is greeted by teammates Grant Peters, Justin Sterner and Luke Williams, from left, after his solo home run in the fifth inning of a game against Tesoro last week.

Fryer: Depth might be Dana Hills' biggest weapon

STAFF WRITER

Dana Hills coach Tom Faris had a problem nominating a Dolphin for player of the week.

He had too many candidates.

Faris went with pitcher/first baseman/outfielder Marrick Crouse, who had a fine week on the mound and in the batter’s box.

He could have gone with catcher/first baseman Jay Schuyler, who had six hits and drove in two runs. Luke Williams had four hits and four steals.

That illustrates what Faris said is Dana Hills’ strength, which is depth, especially on the pitching staff. Hans Crouse, a sophomore and the younger brother of Marrick, Justin Sterner and Zach Wolf are more than dependable pitching options. Those pitchers have dependable fielders supporting them.

“We can throw anybody out there,” Faris said, “and they’ll hit their spots and our guys will play catch behind them.”

The batting order is deep, too. Williams is about to set the school’s career mark for stolen bases. Marrick Crouse, who bats fourth, is hitting .486 with 13 RBI in 12 games. Schuyler bats third and has driven in 10 runs.

Junior catcher David Clawson will make that fine lineup better when he becomes eligible on April 6. That’s when the 30-days sit-out period ends for baseball players who transferred but did not make the change of residence that would make them immediately eligible. Clawson, who signed with BYU, transferred from Mater Dei.

Dana Hills is 11-1 overall, 1-0 in the South Coast League and ranked No. 2 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1.

Early rankings are fun, sure.

“But the most important ranking is to be No. 1 at the end of the year,” Faris said. “It’s nice for the kids to see that high ranking, although that just puts a target on our backs and other teams come at you a bit more which is fine because we need that. You have to face the best to be the best and this team has the capability to be that.”

Around the horn in Orange County baseball:

• San Clemente ace pitcher Kolby Allard will miss the remainder of the regular season with a stress reaction in his back, Tritons coach Dave Gellatly confirmed. Allard could return for the playoffs, but would be used only as a closer then. Allard signed with UCLA.

• San Clemente plays in the National High School Invitational this week in North Carolina. Other county teams in the prestigious tournament are Huntington Beach and JSerra. Mater Dei won the NHSI twice.

• The 79-team Anaheim Lions Tournament begins with a few games Friday but really gets going Saturday. Aliso Niguel and Dana Hills are among the county teams in the tournament that can be followed at anaheimlionstourney.com. The championship game is April 1 at Glover Stadium/Dee Fee Field at La Palma Park in Anaheim.

• St. Michael’s Prep junior pitcher Michael Gates struck out 19 last week in a one-hitter against Tarbut V’Torah.

• Fountain Valley senior Willie Aguilar was 7 for 9 including a three-run home run and four stolen bases in a doubleheader sweep of La Habra last week.

• El Dorado relief pitcher Skylar McMillan in two appearances last week struck out five with one hit and no runs, and got a win and a save.

• CASportsZone.com provides audio streaming of many county basketball games. Among the games covered this week is Dana Hills at Aliso Niguel on Friday.

• Former Cal State Fullerton star outfielder Sam Favata is a base coach at Western.

• Three county teams are No. 1 in their CIF-Southern Section division. JSerra is No. 1 in Division 1, San Clemente is No. 1 in Division 2 and Crean Lutheran is No. 1 in Division 6.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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