Zavatsky might be more suited to playing the role of the hunter, rather
than being the hunted.
"This is a very talented, competitive conference," Zavatsky said. "The
past couple years has shown that it is a competitive dogfight and it is a
fight to the finish to determine a champion."
Under former Coach Denny Barrett, the Vaqueros posted a 15-9
conference record last season, good for an undisputed championship. In
1998, GCC finished 16-10 and tied for the title.
Zavatsky's squad is 5-6-1 entering its WSC opener today at 2 p.m. at
Ventura College, but its nonconference record may be deceiving.
The Vaqueros have suffered two one-run losses and two two-run losses,
including a 6-4 setback Saturday against East L.A. College.
Before Saturday's defeat, GCC had won three in a row, including a
doubleheader sweep of Compton College Friday.
"We've played well enough to be very competitive," Zavatsky said. "I
believe that the team that continues to improve throughout the season
will be in the hunt in the final two weeks."
In order for Zavatsky's squad to be in contention in late April and
early May, it will need continued production from the hot bats of
sophomores Andy Karp and Jason Botts.
Botts, a second team all-WSC selection a year ago, leads GCC with four
home runs and Karp is second with three, including two in his past three
Daniel Scott, GCC's lone returning first-team honoree, is capable of
improving on his .381 conference batting average and Andy Lopez -- an
honorable mention selection last season -- will look to provide power in
the middle of the order.
Gil Hernandez, Zavatsky's starter for today's opener, will need to
provide strong innings along with fellow sophomore Matt Sagoian, who
leads the Vaquero staff with two wins.
Zavatsky has also received two quality outings from freshman
left-hander Scott Weber, who will give opponent's a different look from
the rest of the predominantly right-handed staff.
Brandon Bell, a graduate of Hoover High last year, has asserted
himself as the closer, earning his first save in a 13-6 win over Compton.