When the Class of 2013 arrived at Eastlake High School two years ago, baseball coach Kevin Agnew and his staff hoped to turn that crop of unproven youngsters into a harbinger to the program’s foundation, when future MLB pitcher Andy Sisco and current Los Angeles Dodgers staffer Blake Hawksworth made the Wolves the envy of the ultra-talented KingCo.
Now seniors, that group is the backbone of the Crest Division champions and a team that sits poised to make a run at a 4A state tournament berth.
“I’m really proud of how they have worked and bought in to what we’ve tried to do,” Agnew said. “That has been really fun to watch them grow the last couple years.”
Michael Staundinger and Ryan Teasell have led the way at the plate, while Josh Barokas has posted a 1.45 ERA in 43 and one-third innings on the mound and a 5-3 record.
The latest of those wins came in the regular season’s final week against Inglemoor, with Barokas tossing a complete game, striking out eight and allowing four runs to get his team the win. That performance came on only three days rest, and Agnew said when he consulted with his senior star before the game with the Vikings, there was no hesitation.
“That is the kind of kid he is,” Agnew said. “He threw over 200 pitches between Monday and Friday.”
Offensively, Staundinger has led a balanced, opportunistic group with a .367 batting average to go with nine RBI and three doubles. Teasell is hitting .386 on the year and juniors Mick Vorhof and Mason Pierzchalski have also done their part, combining for 19 RBI and 15 runs on the season.
Agnew said more than the numbers, his team’s dedication to one-another has been a key, another fact evidenced by the reaction after Barokas gutted-out the win over Inglemoor.
“You could really tell what it meant to our kids after the game,” he said. “The rest of the kids on the team really wanted to step up for him.”
The next test for Eastlake will be un unfamiliar one, as no player on the current Eastlake roster has made a postseason appearance as the team struggled to bottom-half finishes, including a pair of one-win KingCo seasons, most recently in 2011 when the current seniors were cutting their teeth.
Agnew said that season, along with the following summer, helped build the foundation of trust that now has Eastlake on the cusp of only the fifth state tournament appearance in school history.
“After all the competition and summer ball, we’ve been preparing ourselves for these moments and opportunities,” he told his team after Friday’s win. “We just need to continue to be ourselves and focus on the process.”