College of San Mateo Baseball — Preview

3 02 2011

My oh my, for those that don’t remember, the CSM baseball team came very close to winning it all last season. That team was phenomenal, with the likes of Burns, Wallace, Allgrove, SUV, Posednik. But, as it is with community college sports in general, the revolving door that is JC sports has left the 2011 version with a lot of youth and a question marks.

Anyway, I got a chance to sit in on a press conference with CSM coach Doug Williams plus captains Justin Maffei and Devin Bradley. Below is the preview of their 2011 season that ran in today’s version of the Daily Journal. Good luck to the boys from CSM … as people say, “we’ll be watching.”

Young CSM baseball team has high expectations
By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff

The last time we saw the College of San Mateo baseball team, the Bulldogs were in the middle of an incredible run at the State Final Four. Although their bid to become the state champions fell short, the Bulldogs, under the guidance of manager Doug Williams, enjoyed one of their best seasons in school history.

Fast forward to 2011, a day away from their season-opener against Sierra College, and the Bulldogs find themselves with the task of duplicating the feat after losing several key cogs from last season’s team.

That said, those who follow community college baseball closely seem to think they can, awarding CSM with a No. 2 ranking in the first CCCAA poll — it’s a challenge the Bulldogs are looking forward to.

“I expect to make it back to the Final Four,” said team captain Justin Maffei (Serra), one of the few non-question marks on this year’s team. “I don’t put it past this team. It was really tough playing that last team and not walking off with the trophy. But it’s what’s fueled this whole off-season — making it back and winning that game. It’s been the driving force — don’t want to leave with that feeling this year.”

Maffei steps into the role of leader after posting phenomenal numbers last season when he was third on the team with a .365 average, which was also good for 10th in the Golden Gate Division of the Coast Conference. He hit three homeruns and drove in 30 runs. His 18 steals was good for second on the team.

After Maffei is where things get young and inexperienced though — Riley Goulding is next on the list in terms of at-bats in 2010 with 85. There are 22 freshman on the CSM roster of 36.

“We are an extremely young club,” Williams said. “We lost offense from last year, we lost a lot overall. We had 18 kids transfer to four-year school and 11 of those got scholarships, some real good players.”

They’ll be young but there’s a lot of offensive promise on the CSM squad.

Joe Goldenberg, Division-I transfer from Southern Utah, might be the only other proven producer. He brings with him an excellent .391 average in 45 games, leading the Thunderbirds with 10 homeruns.

Also shouldering some of the offensive burden will be freshman Abi Arias (Menlo-Atherton) who will see his first action with the Bulldogs after red-shirting last season with a knee injury.

“Abi probably could have hit in the middle of our line up last year,” Williams said. “He’s a flat out hacker, can flat out swing the bat.” Listed as an infielder, look for Arias to play some left field and fill in as the designated hitter from time to time.

Riley and freshman Michael Kathan look to be the front-runners up the middle for the Bulldogs, with Anthony Feliciano and Cody Zimmerman on the corners.

“There’s a lot of moving around there,” Williams said.

In the outfield, Maffei will most likely be flanked by Mark Hurley and Bo Walter, another pair of first-year players.

Maffei burst onto the scene early last season and will be at the heart of the CSM offense.

“I’m ready for it,” Maffei said. “This year as a sophomore it’s (about doing) anything for the team. Anything that it takes to win. Being a captain is setting an example for the freshmen, so they know how to take over the team next year. This year, I’m just going to watch my actions more, making sure I don’t do anything that will influence the freshmen in the wrong way.”

On the mound, the Bulldogs have lost a pair of top notch hurlers and this year they’re stacking up on arms. But just like the offense, the pitching is young — CSM pitchers combined for 153.2 innings in 2010, 91.2 of which belonged to a pair of arms.

Those arms though belong to All-Conference starting pitcher Devin Bradley (Carlmont) and Nick Franquez (Aragon). Bradley was second on the team last season with a 2.62 era while going 6-1. Franquez was 5-1 in 19 appearances out of the bullpen for CSM.

“He was outstanding out of the bullpen last year,” Williams said of the former Don. “He’s fearless on the mound, (has) four pitches he can throw for strikes and I can bring him into any situation.”

Besides Bradley and Franquez, Williams is counting on University of San Francisco transfer Danny Chavez (Serra), Josh Frendenhall (Hillsdale) and Doug Caldwell (Serra) to lead the way on the rubber. Daily Journal readers might also recognize Forrest Armanino, last season’s Daily Journal Baseball Player of the Year.

“We are an unproven crew,” Williams said. “It’s going to be a learning experience early. We open up against a Sierra College team that was basically the team we were last year, with a lot of sophomores. It’s very unproven so far and you can only gauge so much from intra-squad. We’ve had enough of those, that’s for sure.”

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