2013-08-01 / Sports

Oak Park baseball lifts off

By Eliav Appelbaum

The Eagles are already looking forward to 2014. Actually, they can’t wait for 2015.

Oak Park High’s varsity baseball team, under the leadership of first-year head coach Rocco Cascione, finished in first place in the Amateur Baseball Development Group summer league season.

The Amateur Baseball Development Group is a nonprofit co-founded by Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

The Eagles went 8-3-1 overall while facing Marmonte League outfits Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks and Westlake, and private schools Oaks Christian and Chaminade.

“I was pleased with their performance from Game One through the end,” Cascione said. “We did everything we wanted to, and the kids followed through. They played with energy and excitement, and they had a lot of fun.”

These games don’t count in any regular-season standings, but the summer was an impressive showcase for Oak Park, which will join Agoura, Calabasas, Moorpark and Newbury Park in an unnamed league starting in the 2014-15 school year.

“We showed we can compete with them,” said Ethan Winser, an incoming senior second baseman for the Eagles.

Oak Park used the triedand true formula for baseball success: strong pitching, timely hitting and defense.

Trey Roche went 4-0 while fellow Eagle hurler Jack Kernochan went 3-1. OPHS outscored foes 73-49.

Nolan Shapiro, an incoming senior first baseman, only played in six of 12 games but still managed to make a big impact while batting around .400, according to the coach.

Winser, left fielder Chad Haines, shortstop Chad Shaver and catchers Brenden Lavallee and Michael Thyer played well for the Eagles.

Oak Park’s junior varsity squad of returning players and incoming freshmen went 5-3 in the league.

Cascione said he was able to glean valuable information about his team.

“They were able to pick it up a notch,” the skipper said, “and they were able to compete at that Marmonte level. Their performance and chemistry was amazing. Their will to win was exciting to watch.”

The Eagles hope this summer shows a promising future in the brand-new world of the realigned Marmonte League.

“In the past, we haven’t done well against any of these teams,” Winser said.

“Going against these teams and beating them, it really brought out a lot emotions. It felt good.”

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