Pali High Baseball Seeks to Defend League Title and Return to Dodger Stadium
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
After a trip to Dodger Stadium, the only way the Palisades High baseball team can top what it did last spring is to get back to Chavez Ravine and win its first City Section Open Division title.
Along the way, the Dolphins want to earn the respect they felt that they deserved by repeating as Western League champions and making the finals and they think they have the right pieces.
“Even though we beat two West Valley League teams in the playoffs last year we didn’t earn much respect and that fires us up,” catcher Julian Jacobson said after the Dolphins’ 9-3 loss to Warren in last Saturday’s Winter League game at George Robert Field. “We believe our lineup—one through nine—is one of the top three if not the best in the City and we feel with the way our practices are run we can compete with anyone. Of course we lost three dominant pitchers [Lucas Braun, Wyatt Loncar and Will Coquillard] but we have more guys competing for innings and that’ll help us in the long run. We have depth.”
Junior Kyle Grassl started at first against Warren, Brady Kates was at second, Vincent Langdon was at third and sophomore Dylan Tatum, a transfer from Harvard-Westlake, was at shortstop. Cord Vanley patrolled center field, Nate Akiba was in left and Miles Kirshner was in right. Jacobson was behind the plate and getting the start on the mound was right-hander Jake Moore, who pitched the first two innings. Charlie Nance, Ryan Johnson, Kirshner, Akiba and Vanley also got work on the hill.
Rounding out the varsity roster are Dylan Villalobos, Julian Scissors, Jacob Herrera, Jabe Payne, Ryan Ornest, Josh Wicksman, Tate Foxson, Wyatt Standish and Zachary Ritts.
Palisades has won back-to-back league titles, going 24-0 in the process, and wants to make it three in a row. The Dolphins’ quest for a return to Dodger Stadium starts Saturday against San Fernando in the SoCal Invitational. They play in the San Diego Lions Tournament in April.
“Our defense is pretty good,” Coach Mike Voelkel said. “We’re losing 10-12 strikeouts a game so we have to make the routine plays. Our bat-to-ball skills and base running should give us a chance to score runs.”