Optimistic Culver Baseball Starts With Shutouts


March 10, 2016

Fred Altieri

Centaur Ace - Nolan Martinez

The culver city High baseball team began the 2016 season in fine fashion by winning consecutive shutouts at home. The Centaurs beat Marshall High 11-0 in their home opener on Saturday, February 27. Three days later they took care of Roosevelt High 4-0.

Nolan Martinez started and pitched four solid innings against Marshall. He struck out the first seven batters, nine in the first three innings and allowed only one hit, a double in the fourth inning.

Max Sterner pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Martinez and Michael Netzel finished the game as he struck the last batter out while retiring all three in the seventh inning.

"We're not short of pitchers again this year. We have nine guys if we want to go out there and pitch on any given day. Our top four guys are battling." began Culver head coach Rick Prieto.

"We have Nolan Martinez, a San Diego State recruit. We have Max Sterner. He's going to get a lot of pitching time this year. Eli Saucedo, a left-hander is doing very well. There's also Hunter Hutchinson and Daniel Aceves coming in.

"Michael Netzel is an all-around pitcher. He can come in in short or long relief. Right now he's penciled in as our closer. Matthew Stewart can come in and throw some innings for us. We also have Matty Paspalis, Jason Zeidman and Andrew Calo who can pitch."

Saucedo scored the Centaurs' first run of the season in the second inning following a double. Sterner and Netzel scored in the third. Mason Mulvihill, Jacob Weiner, Matt Rummelsburg and Ryan Weiner added four runs in the fourth.

Netzel and Martinez scored the final two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Mason Mulvihill went 2 of 4 at bat while clearing the bases for three RBI's with a triple in the fourth inning. Ryan Weiner was a perfect 3 for 3 at bat.

Coach Prieto: "We've been hitting very well lately. We were building on going in the right direction during the fall and winter. We're also playing outstanding defense. We only have one error through the first three games. The infield's making double plays. The outfielders are making the catches and hitting the cutoff."

Sterner started and pitched five scoreless innings against Roosevelt but the game was still tied 0-0 going into the bottom of the fourth. With two outs Saucedo singled and Jacob Weiner doubled. That set the table for Ryan Weiner (no relation to Jacob) who promptly singled both runners in.

The Centaurs sealed the game in the fifth inning when designated hitter Justin Weiner (Ryan's twin brother) doubled, came home on a Kelvin Murillo single. Mulvihill added the insurance run when Netzel drove him home with a single.

Hunter Hutchinson relieved and pitched two scoreless, hitless innings with one strikeout for the save. Sterner recorded four strikeouts and allowed only four hits.

"The Roosevelt pitcher had a nice curveball and was spotting his fastball. He kept us off-balance. But later in the game we started to drive the ball," said Prieto.

"Max started and did very well. His control was great. He had his curveball working and more importantly he kept the ball down. Hunter went right after the batters and that's what you want. When he gets on that mound he's pretty intimidating looking down at the hitters.

"I'm looking for consistency. I'm looking for a team to come together and improve every day in practice and in the games. We have a roster of 18 so it's hard to get everybody into the game."

Prieto continued: "I like to give our role players the opportunity to get out there and get some experience. They are going to be called upon. Guys are going to get an opportunity to play so I need them prepared as much as possible.

"Mason's in center, Michael's in left field, Nolan's in right, Max's in left, Michael's in right. Those are my four guys and we also have a lot of role players that can fill in as needed.

"In the infield we have Daniel Aceves returning at third base. Kelvin Murillo is a four-year starter at shortstop. We have freshman Ryan Weiner at second base. He's doing well.

We have a rotation at first base with Max, Eli Saucedo and Nolan. They're all big strong kids over there. All three are pitchers so we can rest them, DH them and certain things with each player.

"Jacob Weiner is our returning catcher. He's gotten bigger and stronger from last year. We're looking for some great things from him."

The Centaur baseball program has added a few coaches to its roster. "Eric Pringle is one of our new coaches. He was brought to my attention by Coach Devaughn Wallace who was a 2000 grad and now a 2nd-year coach with me as is C.J. Johnson. All three are childhood friends who played baseball together"

"Coach Dale St. John is the veteran of the group out of all the new coaches. He's been an assistant at Morningside, at South Torrance and head J.V. coach at North Torrance. We competed against each other for many years and now we're coaching together."

Prieto rounded out the program: "We started out with a 2 1/2 month conditioning program thanks to Coach Chip Netzel. He came in and he worked the players three days a week. We had them moving and their mindframe set.

"We wanted them to understand that we had a purpose this year like we always do but this is a special group. Many have played together through youth ball, junior and senior baseball. I asked them to reflect on all the accomplishments they made.

"We have a chance to do something that's never been done at culver city High and that's get to a CIF championship game and win it. We've played against a lot of teams that have won it and we're right there with them."

Fred Altieri

Victory over Roosevelt!


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