Some people will remember this team for what it didn’t achieve. Coach Greene touted this group as one of Carlsbad’s best ever teams but it missed out on playing in the North County Tournament championship game on a strength of schedule ruling. Although in first place going into the final game, they didn’t win the school’s first league title in 19 years due to an embarrassing loss to last place El Camino. And, they ended their season with a loss in the semi final game, one win shy of the D1 CIF championship game at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
However students of the game will recognize this team as being everything Greene said it was. They won 24 games; only the 1976 Carlsbad team has more wins with 26. They ended up being rated by MaxPreps as the 20th best team in the state, 7th best in the county and 2nd best among San Diego County Division 1 teams. They were the only team to beat Vista, the eventual D1 champions in the CIF playoffs. Vista was later ranked as the #1 team in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and Max Preps.
This Carlsbad team went up against all 4 teams that played for the 2012 D1 and D2 CIF titles a total of 9 times and won 5 of those games. Throughout the year they had winning streaks of 6, 5 and 4 and never lost more than 2 in a row. In the CIF playoffs, including the play-in game, they won 4 of 5 playoff elimination games.
This group of Lancers had a Team Batting Average of .302 which is 10 points higher than any other Carlsbad team over the last 5 years in spite of this year’s full implementation of the BBCOR bat rule. They had 50 more hits and 60 more runs scored than any other team over the last 5 years. Only Jon Tally’s 2007 team had as many home runs (15 – 13 of which were Jon’s) and more extra base hits (2012 – 66, 2007 – 68). Nick Anderson set a school record with 33 hits this season surpassing the previous 32 hit record he shared with Callan Dawson (2010). Among regular starters, Addison Domingo had the highest batting average at .361 and Silver Bat award winner Matt Wezniak led the team in home runs (5) and RBI (28). The Lancer offense was not shut out in any game this year.
In spite of their impressive offensive numbers, this team should be remembered most for its pitching and defense. The pitching staff had a Team ERA of 2.42, lower than any other team over the past 5 years. The staff struck out 271 batters in 249 innings and yielded a stingy 1.31 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched). With the help of their defense, they won 11 games by less than 2 runs. Collectively Lancer pitchers had 7 shutouts, 3 were one run victories.
Fielders were consistent and reliable averaging less than an error a game which was a significant improvement from prior years that averaged more than 2 errors per game. Shortstop Kyle Mendenhall and pitcher Thomas Eshelman helped to provide stability behind the plate; Mendy threw out 9 of 14 attempted steals. Rangy Tanner Wrisley won the Gold Glove award for his errorless play in center field but he had plenty of help in the corners. Domingo threw runners out at first base, third and home from right field; Cory Bice had a memorable catch at Torrey while running into the fence; Chris Lutz made a web-gem catch in Vista that was the KUSI defensive play of the week; and one of the best outfielder’s, Ryan Black couldn’t break back into the lineup after his bat cooled off mid season. Regular infielder’s included Chase Blaker, Wezniak, Anderson, Efrain Medina, Austin Avan, Nathan Mann and Mendenhall. Thank you boys, it’s a pleasure to watch a team that doesn’t boot the ball around.
Highlight games started with Slater Lee’s 71 pitch, no hitter against Mission Hills. Less than a week later it was ‘knock-knock Blalock’; a coming out party 5 to 4 win at Rancho Bernardo with Matt Wezniack providing the game winning home run and closing out the game on the bump for his first pitching victory of the year. Next was the opening game in the prestigious Orange County Hard 9 Classic tournament; the overlooked Lancers beat nationally ranked Bishop Almeny on the arm of pitcher Thomas Eshelman (15 K’s) and a Nick Anderson home run for the only run of the game. The Lancers played an epic 3 game set against the empire of La Costa Canyon. The Lancers won the first game that matched aces and long time friends Eshelman against Jake Schulz with the only run of the game coming on a wild pitch. LCC won the middle game in 9 innings and then Carlsbad bounced back for a dramatic, come from behind, 11 inning marathon victory to take the set. In the final game Eshelman silenced the LCC crowd with a game tying home run in the 6th, Wezniak batted in the go ahead run and pitched the final 5 innings to collect his second win.
With CIF playoff victories the Lancers ended seasons for Otay Ranch in the play in game, and Poway and Torrey Pines in elimination games. Domingo was the starting pitcher against Otay on the Tuesday play in game and at Torrey on Saturday; he pitched 10 innings that week without allowing a run. Wezniak came on in relief in the Torrey game, drove in the eventual winning run and collected his third such victory on the year. Slater Lee pitched a gem against Poway and Eshelman dominated previously undefeated Vista in the quarter final game.
In the semi final game against #1 seed Vista, the Lancers were game but fell victim to a bad call at second and the accumulation of little things that didn’t go their way. Little things aren’t so little. They concluded their season with a record of 24-11, no championship titles, no extra letterman jacket patches and no trophies. They did however win the hearts of those that followed them near and far, and they won the respect of all they played. They were a very good team.
Big Joe is proud of you guys.
Special thanks to all of the fans that packed venues and supported this team; according to the players, your presence made a difference.
Most Outstanding Player: Thomas Eshelman - 1st Team All CIF & Avocado West Player of the Year
Pitcher of the Year: Addison Domingo – 2nd Team All Avocado West
Silver Bat: Matt Wezniak – 1st Team All Avocado West
Gold Glove: Tanner Wrisley – Honorable Mention All Avocado West
Most Inspirational: Chase Blaker
Coaches Stiffler Award: Austin Paterson
Nick Anderson made 2nd Team All Avocado West.
Austin Avan and Slater Lee made Honorable Mention All Avocado West.
2011 Scholar Athletes (3.5 or Better GPA)
Nick Anderson, Austin Avan, Ryan Black, Addison Domingo, Thomas Eshelman, Max Gough, Christiaan Hellmers, Jacob Kendra, Slater Lee, Austin Paterson and Tanner Wrisley.
2011 Graduating Seniors
Austin Avan, Jake Baccay, Cory Bice, Ryan Black, Chase Blaker, Addison Domingo, Thomas Eshelman, Matt Holmes-Rodriguez, Kevin Menker, Austin Paterson and Tanner Wrisley.
Announcer Sam Eshelman brought a professional element to home games this year with his ‘Lancer Baseball Experience’ production. His work on the public address microphone, music and sound effects were talked about by friends and foes. Four year stalwart Gerald Bice will be missed around the field and in booster meetings. Thanks to booster president James Mendenhall; he’ll tell you he didn’t do much but he’s a silent rudder beneath the water’s surface that kept the ship on course. His implementation of Fund the Future program was critical to this year’s financial success. Thanks to Dan Grant and Kathy Schoen for their leadership roles in boosters. Thanks to Lisa Phal for organizing Satchels Snack Shack and to Rosemary Eshelman for her work with spirit wear and another outstanding Banquet night. Thanks to all those that showed up for field beautification days to pull weeds, paint or build stuff. Thanks to those who volunteered their precious time for the Home Run Derby and Alumni Game. Thanks to Faelynn Paterson for all the pictures. Thanks to all the sponsors (and to those who solicited them) for putting some money where your heart is.
As for me, thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this team, this family. My son is graduating and it’s time for me to move on but being part of this Lancer family is special. I pass the baton to you. No matter what you do as an individual, you will not find true happiness in this world until you are part of something bigger than yourself. The more you give, the more you will receive, I promise!