Wilson Baseball In Good Hands With Senior Ryan Guerero

Ryan Guerero has been chasing baseballs at Blair Field for almost his entire life.

As a Littler Leaguer, he would run around the outskirts of the grandstand collecting the balls that went out of play.

“I have a basket full of over 100 foul balls,” Guerero said. “I always had fun hanging out with friends at Dirtbags games.”

As a Wilson Bruin, Guerero has been a speedy, steady center fielder for the last two years, and the senior captain led his team to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals. It is Wilson’s first semifinals appearance since 2011, and the Bruins won their first playoff game in three years this season.

“Ryan is looked up to by all of his teammates because of his consistent approach and play,” Wilson coach Andy Hall said. “As a captain, he leads by example and expects nothing but a similar great effort from his teammates and coaches.”

Guerero grew up near the Long Beach State campus, and as a 4-year-old he followed in his older brother’s footsteps to the baseball fields on the east side of Long Beach. Their father, Anthony, played baseball at Millikan.

Guerero exclusively played youth baseball growing up, made the Los Altos 8U All-Stars as a 7-year-old, joined Whaley PONY (2014-15) and decided to attend Wilson like his brother, Michael. They were at Dodger Stadium in 2008 to watch Aaron Hicks and the Bruins play in the CIF-SS championship.

“I knew the program,” Guerero said of Wilson. “It always seemed like the place I wanted to be.”

After two years with the Wilson frosh-soph and junior varsity teams, Guerero won a starting varsity spot in center field during American League play before his junior season. Guerero grew up playing shortstop, and even wears #8 in honor of his favorite Dirtbags shortstop, Danny Espinosa.

The defensive adjustment of moving to the outfield took time, but Guerero already had the tools like his strong arm and feel for the game. He made an incredible sliding catch in the gap at Bellflower in the quarterfinals to keep the combined no-hitter alive.

“I’ve always been able to read the ball really well,” Guerero said. “You can’t wait for the ball in the outfield. You have to go and get it. That was one of the biggest challenges.”

As a junior, Guerero hit .408 with 18 RBIs and 14 runs scored in 27 games. This season, the senior captain has made a handful of diving catches and strong throws for outs. He has a team-high 35 hits, 26 RBIs and 20 runs scored with six doubles. Guerero also has a .480 career on-base percentage plus 10 stolen bases. He is attending Long Beach City College, where he wants to develop physically, and eventually transfer to an NCAA Division I university.

“I always think about getting the barrel to the ball and let the ball do its thing,” Guerero said of his offensive strategy. “Whatever happens happens.”

That approach helped Guerero spark the comeback upset win over No. 2 seeded Arcadia at Wilson last Tuesday. The Bruins scored five unanswered runs, and won on a walk-off wild pitch in the eighth inning.

After Arcadia took a 4-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning, Guerero and the other Wilson seniors called their teammates in for a pep talk.

“It was along the lines of ‘we’ve been in this situation before, it happened with Lakewood, and it can defiantly happen now’,” Guerero said.

Guerero said the comeback win over Lakewood earlier this month in Moore League play was a turning point for his team, and it showed them that small-ball can work late in games. Guerero singled in the bottom of the sixth against Arcadia, and came around to score one of the five unanswered runs.

“We knew Arcadia was good,” Guerero said. “They brought their live stream cameras, and were yelling at us from their dugout. We’re not used to that. We don’t do that in the Moore League. Coach Hall always tells us to keep it with us, and don’t fall for them trying to take our heads us out of the game.”

Guerero added that the chatter from Arcadia ended up turning into motivation.

“That stuff flips a switch for some of us.”

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.