The 2014 San Pedro Prep Baseball season ended in championship splendor when the Port Of Los Angeles High baseball team captured its first-ever CIF-Los Angeles City Section championship with a dramatic 3-2, nine-inning victory over Fulton College Prep of Van Nuys, but all three schools showed promise for the future.
San Pedro (10-20 overall), who was a CIF-LACS Division I finalist four years ago, and semifinalist two years ago, went to build up on the youth movement under first-year coach Steve Tedesco, and the growing pains showed early on. However, the Pirates still managed to finish third in the Marine League with a late push, and gained one of the final two wild card playoff spots in the CIF-LACS Division I playoffs.
The Pirates even scored a school record for runs in a game by pulverizing Washington of Los Angeles, 42-1 in a five-inning Marine League drubbing on April 29. All five of their All-Marine League second team selections return for next year in freshmen Mikey Hernandez and David Barraza, juniors Cheech Pacheco and Louie Canjura, and sophomore catcher J.J. Duarte.
Mary Star (15-12) placed second in the Camino Real League under coach Andy Fiamengo and did fairly well against bigger schools outside of league in tournaments. The Stars also got the bragging rights once again with their season-opening 11-3 victory over POLA on March 4 at Fromhold Field.
Senior second baseman Augie Encinas, dubbed 'the face of Mary Star baseball' by Fiamengo, did a lot of things in a variety of ways for the Stars as he's our choice for the San Pedro Prep Baseball 2014 Player Of The Year. Encinas led a solid group of seven All-Camino Real League selections which includes fellow seniors Gilbert Marquez and Matt Orebo, sophomores Nico Castania, Gianfranco Gentile and Joey Domicoli, and junior Derrick Edwards.
And then there's the champion Polar Bears (14-9).
After a slow 5-8 start, POLA got hot at the right time, winning nine out their last ten games, including their last seven in succession to not only capture their first City Section title, but to also win their second straight league crown (Ocean League this year, Crosstown League the following year) by one game over Rancho Dominguez Prep, who had beaten POLA two out of three league meetings.
However, the Polar Bears would get the last word by beating the Lobos again with a dramatic three-run rally with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning in a 5-4 victory in the CIF-LACS Division III semifinals on May 30.
The father-son tag team of Dennis and Brian Emerson are named our San Pedro Prep Baseball 2014 Coaches Of The Year for their combined efforts. Brian missed the majority of the year due to multiple sclerosis but was able to be there for POLA's final three games of the year, which motivated the Polar Bears even more. Seniors Anthony Zankich, Gabriel Martinez, Chris Marshall and Michael Vert keyed POLA's march to the title, as did sophomore pitcher Fernando Rivas.
Here is the full All-News Pilot baseball team.
First Team: Derrick Edwards (Mary Star, SS/P, junior); Cheech Pacheco (San Pedro, 1B, junior); Fernando Rivas (POLA, P/OF, sophomore); Gabriel Martinez (POLA, C, senior); Gilbert Marquez (Mary Star, 1B, senior); Louie Canjura (San Pedro, 2B, junior); Chris Marshall (POLA, P/1B, senior); Anthony Zankich (POLA, SS, senior); Matt Orebo (Mary Star, OF, senior); J.J. Duarte (San Pedro, C, sophomore).
Second Team: Michael Vert (POLA, OF, senior); Joey Domicoli (Mary Star, 3B, sophomore); David Barraza (San Pedro, OF, freshman); Mikey Hernandez (San Pedro, P, freshman); Jonathan Contreras (POLA, 3B, junior); Isaiah Bumgarner (San Pedro, P, freshman); Nico Castania (Mary Star, C, sophomore); Gianfranco Gentile (Mary Star, OF, sophomore); Angel Munoz (POLA, 2B, junior); Paul Castaneda (POLA, OF, sophomore).
Player Of The Year: Augie Encinas, Mary Star, 2B/P, senior.
Most Outstanding Player: Fernando Rivas.
Freshman Of The Year: Mikey Hernandez.
Utility Player Of The Year: Derrick Edwards.
Coaches Of The Year: Brian & Dennis Emerson, POLA.