Season Preview: Westmont Warriors

Ryan Ozella
N. California Area Scout

With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California, we've been rolling out team previews from around the state and are back at it.

In this edition, we take a look at the Westmont Warriors from the Blossom Valley Athletic League. The Warriors are working to build a new tradition of excellence with a young group of players who can impact the Varsity level for the next few years. 

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Team: Westmont

Nickname: Warriors

Section: CIF-Central Coast Section/Division 2

League: Blossom Valley Athletic League/Mt. Hamilton Division

Head Coach/Years at school: Adam Perez (2nd Yr)

Team Twitter Handle: @whsathleticss

2018 Overall Record: 12-15

2018 Postseason Finish: 1st Round loss in Division 2

Number of Returning Starters: 2

Number of Returning Pitchers: 2

Top Returning Players:

‘19 OF Edward Fontaine, ‘20 LHP/1B Kirk Vasquez, ‘20 SS Armis Morris

Other Players To Watch:

‘20 RHP/UTIL Elijah Warren, ‘20 RHP/3B Xavier Warren, ‘21 2B/3B Shane Kietzke, ‘21 INF/RHP Tristan Dizon, ‘21 C Ryan Mathiesen

2019 Outlook:

The Westmont Warriors are looking to build a new tradition and culture rooted in hard work, dedication to the process and overcoming adversity. The Warriors only return one senior, two returners and two pitchers, so Coach Adam Perez is focused on a young group of players and getting the most out of their talents while competing in a league that has a rich history of success.

For the Warriors to be able to compete with established programs like Leland, Willow Glen, and Leigh, they’re going to need the youth to make leaps while learning to adapt on the fly and overcome the adversity that is thrown at them. Coach Perez raved about the leadership being provided by the upper-class players who were with him last year as they have taken to his guidance, bought in and worked to teach the younger guys the expected culture this Spring.

Coach Perez believes he has some pieces that can be long-term building blocks for the program and give them a chance to play quality baseball deep into games. He’s been preaching defense and pitching knowing that with a young team these areas will give them the best opportunity for success competing against teams who have been doing it year in and year out. He comes to Westmont after helping guide a young group at Christopher through a similar situation two years ago. That team ended up making a deep Division 2 playoff run last season as the youth made jumps and Coach Perez sees a similar situation with his current Warriors roster.

Top Players to Watch:

‘19 OF Edward Fontaine manned left-field during 2018 and was going to be out there for 2019, but a broken wrist puts his season in doubt. Coach Perez feels for the senior, talking about how big of a blow it was for the team as he’s made big leaps while regularly providing amazing leadership skills and the ability to keep the team loose on the field. ‘20 LHP/1B Kirk Vasquez is a tall and lengthy lefty who has two-pitches he’s got feel for and was one of the better pitchers during league as a rising Sophomore. He was set to be the ace of the staff after striking out 55 in 53 innings last season, but a late fall injury will push back his return to the mound in 2019 keeping him to 1B duties early on. ‘20 SS Armis Morris moves from 2B to SS and Coach Perez has seen steady progress from the Junior with more still available. Morris has a strong glove with the range to stay at SS and hit .282 as a sophomore up on Varsity last season.  

‘21 C Ryan Mathiesen has the trust of the coaching staff and works hard to get the most out of his skills. The Warriors don’t have a lot of depth at the catching position so they’re going to rely on Mathiesen to be back there a lot in 2019. He’s earned the trust of the pitching staff as well and should be an impact bat in the lineup as well. ‘21 3B/2B/RHP Shane Kietzke will be late transitioning from Basketball, but the coaching staff like his versatility and ability to play all around the infield while contributing on the mound as well. ‘21 2B/RHP Tristan Dizon is another versatile Sophomore with the ability to play multiple infield positions and is a very athletic player who will also bring talent to the mound. All three of the Sophomores were up with Varsity at different points in 2018 and Coach Perez believes that the time spent has provided confidence for the players with all three having big roles with the team in 2019.  

The early spring has been wet, so live reps will be limited for all teams. Coach Perez sees this as an opportunity for the young Warriors and hopes that the work they’ve put in and competition that's occurring in practice will allow the team to make leaps and bounds as they work through early-season adversity. He likes the versatility his team will bring and believes he’s got enough in the infield to help a young pitching staff work through early-season role questions. If the pitching can find consistency, Coach Perez believes they could surprise teams and build confidence early.

With a young roster, the Warriors are hoping the experience they gain during 2019 will help establish a culture for sustained success with a core group that will respond and leads by example. Competition in a tough Blossom Valley Athletic League won’t make the season easy for the Warriors and Coach Perez knows it’s a long-term process and he’s dedicated to that extended vision while excited to see the big picture of his ballclub.


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