Academy Barons: Vertigan, Hatcher, & Boras Leading With the Bats
The Academy Barons were on a 4 game slide that dropped them into 3rd place in the California Collegiate League. But even on gloomy days when the grey skies appear unable to shine, the almighty sun has moments where it burns through sections of depressing clouds. So is the case with the Academy Barons who were for a short time tied for 1st place, then crashed in four consecutive games, but not without some positive signs of life from key players. Emitting some life force for the Barons is centerfielder Brett Vertigan, who’s now the leadoff hitter since Alfredo Lopez was drafted this June. During the losing streak, Vertigan went 6 for 18, with 3 RBI’s, and 4 runs scored. As a Baron this summer, Vertigan has amassed the most at bats (68), and has sustained a respectable batting average of .309, and the most hits on the team (21).
This past spring he spent time at Saddleback Community College as a sophomore outfielder where he led the team with a .421 batting average in 145 at bats playing in all 35 games. Vertigan led the team in five other categories; 47 runs, 61 hits, 8 triples, 27 walks, and 12 stolen bases. His on base percentage and slugging were also the teams best .522/.614. To top it off, Vertigan had 5 assist from the outfield. Vertigan plays hard, and watching him for a few games made for some honest and exciting baseball whether he got a hit or not. Another Baron showing some great potential and improvement this summer is Caleb Hatcher. The freshman was almost non-existent at Cypress Community College this past spring; he had 8 at bats and only registered a single base hit. Flash forward to the present time, and you would think your looking at a different ball player. I watched him play in the first couple of games of the season and thought Hatcher was nervous and turning his head as he swung. These days Hatcher is putting together a decent summer that should spell more opportunities at Cypress next spring. During the 4 games that the Barons couldn’t even spell W-I-N, Hatcher had a game against The San Luis Obispo Blues where he went 3 for 3 with 2 runs, and an RBI.
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Hatcher’s numbers are looking more interesting as time goes on and as he shakes off the freshman adrenalin, after 42 at bats he’s hitting .333, with 2 homeruns, 6 RBI’s, and his slugging percentage is the highest on the team (.524). Time should be a motivating factor in a summer designed strictly to prepare players for the next school season. The learning curve has a sharp edge at times and it’s very evident in the play of infielder Shane Boras. He was a sophomore this past season at USC where he only saw 13 at bats. He struggled in his limited action batting .077 and striking out 5 times. Well, this spring Boras wasted no time getting acquainted with some positive licks at a ball he must make contact with if he expects to be an everyday player next year as junior at USC. This summer as a Baron, Boras is hitting .366 after 41 at bats and is getting on base 44% of the time. This is positive news for Boras and the Barons as they attempt to keep a winning season within reach. With the All Star game only a week away, summer baseball is reaching the halfway point to its inevitable end. So let’s enjoy what we have in front of us rooting, and hollering for the Barons.
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer