The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Patch and is being reprinted with permission.
The college baseball season opened officially Friday and several local players will be among those who contribute to the six NCAA Division I programs in the Bay Area.
Serra High sent players to four of those schools while the College of San Mateo sent players to three of them. Pacifica, Menlo Park and Palo Alto are some of the other cities represented.
University of San Francisco coach Nino Giarratano has always recruited local athletes and this year he has two players each from Serra and CSM.
Justin Maffei, a Foster City resident, heads the list. He attended Serra and College of San Mateo. As a junior at USF last year, he finished first in the West Coast Conference in stolen bases with 24 in 29 attempts. He also ranked third in runs scored (46) and on-base percentage (.453), first in hit by pitch (19), and fourth in walks (34). He led the Dons with a .315 batting average.
“There are people who still don’t know San Francisco has a college; even people living in the city,” Maffei said. “Usually people think of San Francisco State and after a while that just gets on my nerves. But I know what we’ve got here and we can win in the WCC.”
Freshman left-hander Thomas Cox, a Belmont resident out of Serra, will also be counted on at USF, along with San Carlos resident Zach Turner, who transferred to USF from Pepperdine. Turner, a catcher, is another Serra product.
Also out of College of San Mateo is junior infielder Michael Kathan.
“You can’t rest on your laurels in the WCC,” Maffei said. “You have to come to play every day.
The USF baseball field is about to undergo a major reconstruction, which will bring into parity with other other stadiums. The idea is to turn the field around, which would protect players and fans from the weather conditions better.
Serra grads Andre Mercurio and Tim Quiery join CSM product Daniel Chavez at San Jose State. Quiery, a senior outfielder, has started 87 games and appeared in 131 for the Spartans. He’s the team’s most experienced player.
San Jose State competes in a newly structured Western Athletic Conference, where several Texas teams join the fold.
“We don’t know too much about those Texas teams yet,” Quiery said. “We know there are solid team and decent pitching, so the competition is legitimate.”
Dallas Baptist, one of the new members, reached the NCAA Super Regional recently.
Quiery and Maffei were both members of retired coach Pete Jensen’s final year at USF.
“That was a great experience,” Quiery said.
Mercurio is a returning starter for the Spartans. The sophomore outfielder hit .264 last season.
Chavez was 8-3 with a save and ERA of 1.21 for CSM last year. He pitched four complete games.
California is also undergoing some changes at Evans Diamond. Lights are being installed and are scheduled to debut on March 28. For CSM product Dylan Nelson and Serra grad Logan Scott it could mean their pitches will be that much harder to see.
Nelson was 6-0 with four saves and one complete game at CSM last year. Scott was 4-2 with seven saves for the Bears.
“We need a comeback from our pitching staff,” Cal coach David Esquer said.
Serra grad DonAndre Clark returns to the St. Mary’s outfield for his redshirt sophomore season, Palo Alto grad T.J. Braff is joined by Menlo Park resident Mike Couch and Pacifica’s Chris Heckert at Santa Clara and Stanford boosts of Menlo School grads Danny Diekroeger and Freddy Avis and Palo Alto resident Alex Blandino.