In an era when many coaches deal with the media by trotting out the usual cliches to address preseason expectations, Cathedral Catholic coach Gary Remiker is a breath of fresh air.
"As a head coach, my goal is to finish the season as the overall No. 1 team in the nation," the 12-year coach said. "Might as well dream big!"
Remiker and his Dons will get the chance to stake their claim as the nation's No. 1 team. They will travel to Cary, N.C., in late March to participate in the National High School Invitational. Winning the event requires a team to have a deep pitching staff, and Cathedral Catholic fits the bill.
Cathedral Catholic begins the season ranked No. 3 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Preseason National Baseball Rankings. MaxPreps is counting down the top 10 teams in the country with the rest of the Xcellent 25 set for publication Feb. 19.
"We have a very good pitching staff," said Remiker. "We return all 30 wins from last year's team that went 30-5 and won the San Diego Section Division III championship."
Five Cathedral Catholic pitchers and two position players have either signed or committed to Division I schools. Stephen Gonsalves
tops the list. Considered a first round Major League Baseball Draft prospect, Gonsalves has signed with the University of San Diego. He posted a 9-0 record with a 1.91 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched last year.Michael Martin
, meanwhile, is set to go to UC Irvine. He posted a 7-2 overall record with 72 strikeouts and a 0.90 ERA in 62 innings pitched. He also walked just eight batters on the season.
Then there is junior pitcher Brady Aiken
. One of the top junior prospects in the country, Aiken went 6-1 on the mound with a 1.32 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched. He has committed to play at UCLA.
Also signing Division I scholarships are pitcher Alex Schick
(Cal-Berkeley), and Andrew Wright
(Pepperdine). Meanwhile position player Hayden Grant
signed with Purdue and junior Sean Bouchard has committed to UCLA.
Despite the tremendous talent and the pitching depth, Remiker is wary of the pitfalls that await his team. Instead of playing at the Division III level this year, Cathedral Catholic has been realigned to Division I for the postseason.
"San Diego has so many good teams and so many good players," he said. "Every team on our schedule could beat us if we don't play a solid game."
Most of the pitchers will also play in the field. Gonsalves can play first base or in the outfield while Martin plays at the corner infield positions. Wright and Aiken will also see time in the outfield. Grant, Bouchard and newcomer Giovanni Garbella, who played for Team Italy last summer, will fill in at the middle infield positions and third base.