Baseball Millikan

Baseball Preview: Millikan Leaning On Strong Leaders

The Millikan Rams have more to replace than just a decorated graduation class after the transfers of pitcher Tyler Conant and center fielder Caleb Brandon. That leaves pitching and depth as the primary concern for Millikan this season.

Last year, Rams pitchers gave up a total of 29 runs in the final five Moore League games against playoff teams and finished a disappointing fourth place.

“We’re still really young with only two starting senior position players,” Millikan coach Ron Keester said. “Most of them have varsity experience, but we don’t have experience on the mound. Because we’re so young, we’re doing a lot of teaching fundamentals, and covering stuff that we didn’t have to do in years past… If we keep getting better everyday I think we’ll have a chance.”

Millikan has four left-handed pitchers who will share the load on the mound. Keester said that senior Jared Giacone and sophomore Myles Patton will be the top options to begin the season, while senior Aidan Majerus recovers from injury. He is expected back in late March.

Seniors CJ Yogi and Nico Briones (pictured) are the unquestioned leaders of this team after years on the varsity roster. Yogi, a First-Team All-Moore Leaguer and Cal State Northridge signee, is moving from shortstop to catcher because of injury. He hit .373 last season with 20 runs scored. Briones will play right field and hit in the five hole.

“We’re working hard and trying to stay consistent while we become closer as a team,” Briones said. “We have one goal and that’s the league title. League is about winning games early in the season and not falling behind. It’s about drawing the first blood.”

First baseman Ryan Geck is ready to repeat his freshman success. The 6’3” 230-pound sophomore hit .422 last year to go with a .549 on base percentage. He was also named First-Team All-Moore League.

Keester said that senior designated hitter Emmanuel Morales has been the biggest surprise of the fall season, and the lefty will hit in the heart of the lineup.

Shortstop Daniel Murillo will be the only right-handed pitcher who will log significant innings, according to Keester. The other starting positions are still up for grabs during the preseason.

“We’re trying to explain to the kids with less experience that when it’s starts and you’re playing at Blair Field and it’s going a million miles a minute you have to rely on the fundamentals you’ve been doing for the last seven months,” Keester said.

Last season, Millikan finished fourth and lost in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs. The Rams haven’t won a playoff game since 2015. Millikan is in Division 3 this season.

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.