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Vetrovec has big league dreams

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Newport Harbor senior pitcher aspires to play in Major League Baseball. For now, he wants playoff appearance for Tars.

March 22, 2014|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Don Leach, Daily…)

Shaun Vetrovec's game ended on Friday, and he joined the rest of his Newport Harbor High teammates on the bus. They waited for their coach, Evan Chalmers, to wrap up interviews.

Unlike most of the Sailors, Vetrovec had a long weekend ahead of him, filled with more baseball.

Vetrovec planned to head out to Tempe, Ariz., with his father Bob later that night to catch a couple of spring training games. For the past seven years, Vetrovec and his dad have made the road trip to watch the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before the season starts.

There is a game on Saturday and Sunday the father and son will attend. In a couple of years, Bob might have to make the drive by himself. When he does, he might come to see his own son in spring training.

As a kid, Vetrovec always dreamed about making the big leagues. He is 17 now and one of the top high school seniors in Southern California.

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It is not that farfetched that his dream of becoming a pro can come true. Vetrovec is bound for UC Irvine after the season ends.

The 6-foot-2 right-hander made a start at Anteater Ballpark on Monday, for his high school team. He pitched the opener in the Battle of the Bay doubleheader against rival Corona del Mar.

The outing was not as dominant as the one he turned in at home five days earlier in a 3-0 win against La Habra during the Newport Elks Tournament. He threw a one-hitter and struck out a career-high 14 batters.

In the first inning against CdM, he gave up his first run of the season, and he walked two batters, as many as he had in his previous start. Thirty-four pitches are how many it took him to get out of the first.

Chalmers chalked up Vetrovec's inning to nerves pitching in UCI's yard. Vetrovec downplayed the jitters, saying he just needed to fix his release point.

At times, Vetrovec found it, allowing him to strike out eight and keep CdM at bay with only three singles. He ended up walking five and hitting two in five innings. Nevertheless, Vetrovec improved to 3-0, as the Sailors won, 7-3.

He contributed in the second game with his bat, going two for three with a run batted in and a walk. The Sailors prevailed, 9-8, sweeping the doubleheader against CdM for the first time in four seasons.

While the start to the nonleague schedule began with a 6-1 record, the Sailors' first test came on Friday. Vetrovec did not take the mound in a Sunset League opener at Huntington Beach, ranked No. 6 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll.

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