Baseball Wilson

Baseball Preview: Wilson Poised For Another Playoff Run

In 2018 an upstart bunch of young Bruins had the Moore League’s most successful postseason run since 2012 by reaching the CIF-SS Division 3 semifinals.

The core of that group is back this year for their senior seasons, and with seven returning starters, expectations are rightfully high at Wilson.

“I really like our group,” Wilson 20-year coach Andy Hall said. “We’ve got great chemistry amongst our guys with 12 seniors. Obviously we’re going to depend on those guys a lot to make us who we want to be.”

Leading that experienced group is senior Ryan Pettway. He was second on the team with 26 hits and 18 RBIs, but the hard throwing pitcher had to shut it down because of an injury. Pettway (pictured) says he’s back healthy and ready to lead the Bruins deep into the playoffs once again.

“We know what it’s like and what to expect,” Pettway said. “I expect to win league, obviously you have to want to do that, and we expect to go far in the Division 3 playoffs.”

Pettway will join returning senior starting pitchers Jacob Ribitzki and Sergio Cazares. Ribitzki is coming off a First-Team All-Moore League season. He pitched a team-high 55.2 innings with a 2.01 ERA and 41 strikeouts. However, he’s dealing with an injury and will miss the first few weeks of the season. Cazares pitched 51 innings last season with a 2.47 ERA and 33 strikeouts.

“I’m really excited about our pitching staff,” Hall said. “We’ve got five or six pretty good high school pitchers. It comes down to if we can score some runs. We’ve demonstrated that we can, and we’ve demonstrated that we can’t. We’ve done both.”

Seniors Jack Odell, Nolan Ornelas, Ryan Smith and Roberto Haycox will be key in the heart of the Wilson lineup. Ornelas will be back in center field after he was second on the team with 20 runs scored and six doubles last season. He was named First-Team All-Moore League.

“Early on we’re going to throw those guys onto the fire,” Hall said. “Hopefully they cook and don’t burn.”

Joe McGrath, Sebastian Smith and Brett Abudayyeh are a few juniors who will contribute heavily, according to Hall. He also said that sophomore Charlie Royal will be back in the rotation and will play shortstop when Pettway pitches.

“Last year we kind of struggled with hitting and only had like three guys to bank on,” Pettway said. “But this year we’re trying to play more small ball and push runs across.”

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.