BASEBALL PREVIEW: Despite change in head coach midway through the school year, team’s goals remain the same


Sheila Neri

First-year baseball head coach Christopher Vogt (right) teaches his players how to properly throw a ball during an afterschool practice Monday, March 2.

Coaches: Christopher Vogt (head coach), Darius Durham (assistant coach), Aaron Pak (assistant coach)

Top Returning Players: Jack Bender (12), Bohdan Faulkner (12), Nolan Jackson (11)

Top Newcomers: Lex Hou (11), Cameron Loh (11), Rylan Morris (11)

Last Season: Under then-first-year head coach Ryan Bateman, the Lancers made history in becoming the first team in 23 years to win a Freeway League title for the school. After qualifying for CIF, the squad won its first round against Citrus Hill before bowing out in the second.

Outlook: Bateman started this school year as the team’s head coach, implementing a new workout routine with Dance Production during sixth period from mid-September through mid-October. But he unexpectedly left the team after his long-term substitute position on campus ended, leaving school officials to scramble to find a new head coach.

Athletic director Paul Jones eventually tapped first-year social science teacher Vogt, who has coached at the varsity level while teaching at Ayala High School in Chino Hills, as the team’s new leader.

“I was surprised because usually, [hiring a new coach] doesn’t happen mid-year,” he said. “Mr. [Craig] Weinreich and coach Jones asked if I was interested in taking this job, and I told them I would be more than happy to help.”

 Vogt said he aims to keep the team’s goals the same as when Bateman was around: winning another Freeway League championship and making a deeper CIF playoff run. 

“I’m so excited to get going with them and make a run,” he said. “I just think that getting them to understand the work ethic it takes to be successful is what I hope to accomplish the most.”

As a 15-year veteran coach, Vogt said he also hopes to learn from his players as they do from him.

Right outfielder Morris believes that steadiness as a team will also be a main goal to work on throughout the season.

“I want to improve on consistency when hitting and being able to help the team when I need to be there for them,” he said.

Likewise, center fielder Faulkner said he expects the team to win as many games as possible and reach its potential by focusing and staying attentive throughout practices.

“We need to work on focusing especially because we slack off more toward the end of the game,” Faulkner said. “If we can focus throughout the whole game, I definitely think that we will be able to win a lot of games throughout the season.”

One motto that the new head coach has introduced to his players centers on building on their work habits on the field: “Anything worth doing is overdoing.”

“What I try to do is practice, teach the kids how to play, institute a game plan and let them play during a game,” Vogt said. “I like to give the kids freedom because I don’t want to control everything they do in a game — they should know what to do.”

After ending preseason play with a 4-3 record, the Lancers will work toward building on that win column starting with their first Freeway League game at home against rival Fullerton Union High School (8-4) Friday, March 31 at 3:15 p.m.