Awards Banquet Completes Culver Baseball Season

By Fred Altieri

Sports Reporter

It was a packed house on Monday evening as the Culver City High baseball program held its annual awards banquet at the Elks Lodge #1917 just east of Sepulveda Blvd. on Washington Place.

The event showcased the 2015 season, touched on the summer season approaching and honored six special senior classmen.

Parents, family members, coaches and players from the Centaur frosh/soph, junior varsity and varsity squads enjoyed a SoCal styled outdoor barbeque menu of tortillas, beef, chicken, pork, beans and rice complimented with grilled peppers, fresh cilantro, red and green salsas and onions, etc. all topped off with desserts and washed down with fruit punch.

Head varsity coach Rick Prieto started the proceedings by thanking all the parents for the continued success of the program with special acknowledgements to Ave Jacinto, Jennifer and Pete Stewart, Mea Combs, Chip Netzel, Pat Sterner, Aileen Zeidman, Tracy Davis, Laura Weiner, Kaoru Mulvihill, Stephanie Saucedo and Diana Aceves.

Coach Prieto gave the lively crowd an overview of the just-completed season followed by four entertaining slideshows of the three teams as well as the Challenger Program, a program proudly supported by the players and coaches who teach and play side-by-side with children and youth with special needs to give them the opportunity to succeed at playing baseball.

But the highlight of evening was reserved for the graduating seniors: Eli Bowie, Price Campbell, David Ko, Christian De Los Santos, Louie Ortega, Jr. and Jay Sterner.

More impressive than their on-the-field accomplishments is their classroom work as all six have been accepted to acclaimed colleges and universities.

Education is a priority among the players so it's little wonder that Culver City is rated among the top Southern California high school baseball programs academically.

Though each senior will be focusing on their education next year they also expect to continue to play baseball in one capacity or another at their respective schools.

Bowie will attend Beloit College in Wisconsin, Campbell is going to UC Santa Barbara, Ko will be at Pepperdine University, De Los Santos will attend Loyola Marymount, Ortega will decide between UC Santa Barbara or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Sterner will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The Centaurs also excelled in the field as five received all-Ocean League honors: Sterner was voted the Most Outstanding Player, Nolan Martinez and Mason Mulvihill were chosen First Team All-League while Jacob Weiner and Kelvin Murillo were chosen Second Team All-League.

The frosh/soph team awards were presented by coaches Jon Kocker and George Aceves, Jr. The Most Outstanding Player Award went to Austin Davis, Kai Jacinto received the "Never Say Die" Award and Alex Smith received the Character Counts Award.

The junior varsity team awards were presented by coach Devon Wallace. Jason Zeidman received the Most Valuable Player Award, Ryan Weiner received the Most Outstanding Player Award and Matthew Stewart received the Coaches Award. Coach Darwin Balthazar was also honored.

Prieto and coach Steve Benson presented the varsity team awards. Catchers Price Campbell and David Ko both received the Coaches Award. Outfielder Tyler Hendershot received the Character Counts Award and pitcher / first baseman Jay Sterner received the "Iron Man" Award. Pitching coach Jeremy Burrell was honored as well.

The most touching part of the evening was when each graduating senior presented flowers and a short speech dedicated to their mother as well as the players presenting Coach Prieto's wife with a bouquet of flowers for her devotion to the team throughout the years.

The program won't miss a beat as it jumps right into the summer season starting with the Culver City Fundamentals of Baseball 2015 Youth Summer Camp. The camp is managed by Coach Prieto along with current and former Culver High varsity baseball players.

The camp is conducted at the Culver City High baseball field for players from school grades 3 to 8. Each player receives personal attention from the staff improving their baseball skills while having fun.

The camp will cover the basic skills in throwing, catching, fielding, bunting, base running and instructional games. There will be five sessions: 1st – June 15-19; 2nd – June 22-26; 3rd – June 29 – July 2; 4th – July 6-10; 5th – July 13-17. Camp begins each day at 9 a.m. and finishes at 1:50 p.m.

For more information please contact Coach Prieto at (310) 842-4370 or email him at

The varsity team will also be busy in a summer league comprised of South Bay high schools. Prieto related: "We start summer program on June 15. We're in a ten-team league: all four Torrance schools, Redondo, Palos Verdes, Bishop Montgomery, Santa Monica and Culver City."

"We'll have two pools of five teams. We'll play a home-and-home schedule. We'll play two games in the division and one game out which will give us thirteen summer games, two games a week with the exception of one in a six-week program.

"The last week we are having a single-elimination game tournament for all ten teams. So we're talking about the best South Bay teams that pretty much dominate this area that will be playing against each other and to prepare for 2016."


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