Pirates' Moynihan gets back on track

Community College Baseball

Sophomore outfielder, the OEC Co-Player of the Year bound for Texas, is optimizing his opportunity at Orange Coast College.

May 04, 2011|By Barry Faulkner,
(Courtesy of OCC…)

For a guy whose speed allows him to beat out routine ground balls to shortstop, Matt Moynihan has, at times, been a little slow to come around.

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and with enough fast-twitch muscle fibers to make a professional baseball scout drool, the Orange Coast College sophomore admitted he sometimes relied on his athletic gifts to carry him to what had been fairly substantial heights.

In three varsity seasons at Cathedral Catholic High in San Diego, Moynihan amassed 142 hits, a .437 career batting average, 80 stolen bases and was an All-CIF and all-state performer. He was recruited by LSU, Arizona State, UCLA, Stanford, USC and San Diego State, before choosing the University of San Diego.

As a freshman outfielder with the Toreros, he hit .388 in 49 at-bats and was successful on all six of his stolen-base attempts.

But, displeased by his lack of playing time, Moynihan elected to transfer to a community college. He learned about Orange Coast from USD pitcher Calvin Drummond, a member of the Pirates' 2009 state championship team.


But despite his lofty credentials, Moynihan struggled in early workouts with the Pirates.

"He was pretty bad in the fall and my [assistant] coaches wanted to cut him," OCC Coach John Altobelli said. "If I didn't know about his past [success], as a highly recruited kid out of high school who was a Division I bounce-back, he would have been cut."

But knowing Moynihan's talent, Altobelli offered the 20-year-old prospect another chance.

"[Altobelli] said he didn't want to see me hit the fan and go off," Moynihan said of at least one heart-to-heart discussion in Altobelli's office. "He said he knew I had all the talent in the world and I could help this program. He told me straight, 'I'm tired of your [lack of focus]. You're going to have to get your head on straight or I'm going to have to cut you.'"

Altobelli was not the only voice in Moynihan's ear. His father Tim and mother Jody ordered their son to vacate the Costa Mesa apartment he shared with a high school friend to move home to San Diego. The move home, during the fall semester, forced Moynihan to commute from San Diego to OCC for classes and baseball practices.

The move also terminated the temptation of partaking in a night life that had, Moynihan admitted, become a distraction to his work on the diamond.

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