The Wilson Bruins (8-5-1, 2-1) are adjusting to new realities this season. Not only has Wilson moved down to CIF-SS Division 3 because of early playoff exits, but 18-year coach Andy Hall doesn’t have a dominant starting pitcher like he has had in years past with elite arms like Zach Pettway, Tyler Radcliffe and Chase De Jong.
“The first few games of the year have been trial and error,” Hall said. “We’re trying to develop and build a pitching staff while playing the best competition in tournament. This group has a lot of growing to do, but they’re good enough to win games.”
The growth on the mound has come from a trio of capable pitchers. Sophomore Ryan Pettway, senior Dean Kafalas and crafty left-hander Ryan Turner, who was the junior varsity player of the year last season. Pettway, who is a utility fielder as well, got the start against Millikan in the league opener earlier this month and settled in after giving up a leadoff triple. He gave up two hits and a run in four innings.
“We can play solid defense, and if we do, we’ll be in games,” Hall said.
Center fielder Ryan Guerero has been moved to the three-spot in the lineup, and is producing as such. The senior has a team-high 16 hits with nine RBIs and eight runs scored.
Junior Alex Seguine and senior Kyle Clothier also have been catalysts for the Wilson offense, and have combined for 23 runs scored. Clothier, who is primarily playing left field, also has a team-high 11 RBIs. He only hit .152 last season.
“This team has a lot of growing to do,” Hall said. “We’ve been in position to win but we haven’t been able to score in bunches or close games out.”
Senior Greg Reasbeck is back at shortstop, which makes the middle of the Wilson defense one of the best and most experienced in the league. Senior Nick Mores is also back playing catcher after recovering from injury.
Wilson hasn’t won a playoff game since 2015, and the Moore League is 6-24 in the last six postseasons, so Hall knows his team is in the right division despite playing a Division 1 schedule in tournaments like the Anaheim Lions and Redondo.
“There’s been a change in caliber of players enrolled at Moore League schools,” Hall said. “I’ve never cared who we scheduled because we’re Wilson and we play everybody. But we may not be in the Anaheim Lions tournament next year. We can play those top schools, but we’ve been getting our butts kicked.”