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Cypress up for the challenge
Cypress baseball coach John Weber reviews his team's challenging schedule, which he created, and begins to wonder.
"Look at all the rankings and then look at our schedule," he said. "And you have to say, 'What was Weber thinking?'"
The second-guessing might be unnecessary. Before he made the schedule, Weber knew what Cypress had on its roster.
The Centurions, who start this season ranked No. 3 in Orange County, have Team USA member Tyler Alamo, a Cal State Fullerton signee, at catcher. They have shortstop David Fletcher, who signed with Loyola Marymount and was all-state last year, and so was pitcher Kevin Lillicrop (Point Loma signee).
There's also third baseman Stephen Lohr (Cal Baptist), second baseman Steven Andrade (Cal Poly Pomona commit), first baseman Nick Valdez and outfielder Elijah Skipps, a junior who committed to Arizona. They all were All-Empire League in 2012.
Alamo and Fletcher, seniors, have been starting since their freshman year. Andrade, Lohr and Lillicrop are three-year starters.
"So there is a lot of maturity in this group," Weber said. "There's also a lot of good cohesion with this group. A bunch of hard workers with great work ethic."
Cypress for years has been one of Orange County's better teams, a county top-10 fixture. Fletcher said this year's Centurions could be better than any of the teams he has been part of at Cypress.
"The last couple of years, we had good defensive teams that were also good pitching teams," Fletcher said. "But we weren't always good offensively, but that could be our strength this year."
"Offensively, I think we're as good in the batting order, 1-9, as anybody around," Weber said. "And our defense still will be really good."
Cypress opened the season strong, with a doubleheader sweep of El Toro. The Centurions are in the Loara Tournament this week, play in the Hard 9 National Classic in April and have a doubleheader against county top-10 team JSerra and a nonleague game against defending CIF-SS Division 3 champion Bonita of La Verne. The Empire League again should be one of the county's better leagues.
Cypress is ranked No. 19 in the calhisports.com state rankings and No. 3 in the CIF-SS Division 2 rankings.
We shall see if the Centurions move up or down those rankings as they take on that schedule.
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