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Baseball Preview: Are league repeats in cards for Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Prep?

Falcons, Rebels could have uphill battles in quests for titles, while Tornadoes, Nitros and Knights looking for improvement.

March 04, 2014|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Crescenta Valley High pitcher Brian Gadsby and his squad kicked off the season Tuesday against La Cañada. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
Crescenta Valley High pitcher Brian Gadsby and his squad…

Success was as sudden as it was historic for the Flintridge Prep baseball team in 2013.

In just his first season as the Rebels’ coach, Guillermo Gonzalez navigated Flintridge Prep all the way to the CIF Southern Section Division VI semifinals.

Just a season removed from failing to make the postseason, the Rebels claimed a share of the Prep League title for the first time since 1997, won a playoff game for the first time since 1999 and advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1960.

Crescenta Valley also claimed a share of the Pacific League title a season ago, but Falcons Coach Phil Torres believes Pasadena, a team brimming with returning starters, could be the favorite.

Still, aspirations for a league crown remain the same as always for CV.

“The goal is always to win league,” Torres said. “It never gets old.”

While Prep is likewise looking to continue the winning ways that it laid the foundation for a season past, aspirations are a bit more tempered.

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As for Hoover, Glendale and St. Francis, after trying seasons in 2013, the Tornadoes, Nitros and Golden Knights all believe they’ll have better years in 2014, but the building stages are still in place.

“Our expectations are a lot different this year,” said Flintridge Prep second-year Coach Guillermo Gonzalez, whose team finished at 18-9 a season ago and in a three-way tie atop league with Pasadena Poly and Webb. “Our goal is to just make the playoffs and if we can win league along the way that’ll be great.”

Prep’s biggest obstacle will likely be in replacing the offensive production of graduates Karlsen Termini and Dylan Arya, All-Prep League picks a season ago. However, Gonzalez has his top three pitchers back from last season in seniors Brendan McKiernan, Daniel Enzminger and Cole Rademacher.

“We have the pitching, we just need the hitting,” said Gonzalez, who also expects big contributions from catcher Cole Pilar, a sophomore who started last season.

Rademacher, coming off the soccer season, is one of many Rebels who Gonzalez said is dealing with some nagging injuries coming into the season, thus, getting healthy is paramount.

But, perhaps, most importantly, the Rebels have last season to build on, one in which they realize winning league titles and winning in the postseason is now a reality.

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