Left-handed pitchers provide gold-like worth for prime faculties

“Lefties rule this world.”

So says left-handed pitcher Brandon Luu of Villa Park High.

“We stick together,” Luu mentioned.

High college coaches are giddy once they uncover a left-handed pitcher strolling round campus. There’s a motive some mother and father tie their younger son’s proper arm behind his again, hoping he’ll be taught to be left-handed.

Every group desires and desires left-handed pitchers. They don’t need to throw onerous. Sometimes hitters who see left-handers on the mound all of a sudden can’t hit.

“They’re important because it gives hitters a different look,” Villa Park coach Burt Call mentioned. “The ball comes from a different side and different angle. There’s a bit of unfamiliarity.”

Left-hander Brandon Luu of Villa Park has given up solely two hits in 9 innings this season.

(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Luu, a UC Irvine commit, has given up solely two hits in 9 innings this season.

“He competes,” Call mentioned. “His fastball moves quite a bit and he’s not afraid to throw inside. He’s developed a very good slider. “

And, of course, Luu’s personality is that of a free spirit, something lefties always seem to have.

“You always say lefties have a bit of goofiness to them,” Call mentioned.

Left-handed pitchers Nathan Huy, left, and Garvey Rumary

Nathan Huy, left, and Garvey Rumary are two of the 4 left-handed pitchers at El Dorado High.

(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Placentia El Dorado could be floor zero for left-handed pitchers with 4 contributors this season: Nathan Huy, Garvey Rumary, Austin Kirkwood and Jack Fishel.

The finest returning pitcher within the City Section is left-hander Oscar Lopez of Woodland Hills El Camino Real. He doesn’t throw onerous, however his capability to maneuver the ball across the plate and throw a nasty curveball makes him very efficient. And should you occur to achieve first base, good luck attempting to get to second. He picked off 10 runners final season and has picked off two this season.

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The pickoff transfer from a left-hander is one other “unfair” benefit. It might be devastating. While mother and father scream “Balk!” from the stands, their sons are left embarrassed on the basepaths, both in a rundown or tagged out.

“He’s got one of the best I’ve seen from a lefty,” Birmingham coach Matt Mowry mentioned of Lopez.

Said Lopez: “I’ve been developing it since I was in travel ball. It’s been working. I’m sure the word is getting around, especially in our league. I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints from coaches. I’ve been doing something right since I haven’t been called for a balk.”

Mowry is a type of coaches feeling ignored. He has no left-handed pitchers in his program.

“It’s a great commodity,” he mentioned. “I go around classrooms seeing who’s writing left-handed to get them to try out for baseball.”

Left-hander Oscar Lopez of El Camino Real works from the stretch.

Left-hander Oscar Lopez of El Camino Real has among the finest pickoff strikes, with 10 baserunners picked off final season.

(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The final time Birmingham had a left-handed pitcher was 2019, and Sebastian Cueva was closing out the sport at Dodger Stadium, a 9-5 win for the City championship.

The finest left-hander in Southern California may very well be UCLA commit Ethan Schiefelbein, a junior from Corona who has 10 strikeouts in 5 scoreless innings this season.

“The sky is the limit,” Corona coach Andy Wise mentioned.

Schiefelbein has a aggressive character that Wise should contemplate every time he’s on the mound.

“He challenges me with his thoughts and ideas,” Wise mentioned.

Eight-time City champion El Camino Real additionally has a sophomore left-hander in Christian Gastelum and has a historical past of manufacturing nice left-handers, from Randy Wolf to Kurt Birkins to Jeremy Polon.

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“I think it’s a big advantage in that there’s not many right-handers who are used to left-handers,” Lopez mentioned. “It’s unique seeing a left-hander come out. I don’t throw very hard. Just the fact you don’t see very many lefties has been able to help me. A slider or curveball are very good pitches to use.”

Lopez agrees that lefties are in control of the world.

“It’s fun being a lefty,” he mentioned. “It’s a different pitch arsenal.”