By Jake Kaplan, OC Varsity
Coaches can often remember the moment they realized a player was special. Ask JSerra baseball coach Brett Kay when he identified Chase Strumpf as a can’t-miss talent and the answer comes easy.
“As soon as I saw him,” Kay said. “As soon as I saw him.”
It was the summer of 2010 when a 12-year-old Strumpf strolled into Kay’s youth baseball camp at JSerra Catholic High School. It was the first year Kay held the camp and only about 15 kids showed up. Kay says now that Strumpf really had no business being there. He was too advanced.
Two-and-a-half years later, Strumpf, of Ladera Ranch, plays for Kay here on JSerra’s St. Pierre varsity baseball field, smacking singles and doubles off pitchers several years older than him and fielding hard-hit groundballs at shortstop with the composure of an upperclassman.
Just a handful of games into his freshman season, Strumpf, who turned only 15 on Friday, is opening eyes at JSerra.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound shortstop entered the weekend a team-best 6 for 14 and has already showed his uncanny ability in the field.
“He doesn’t act like a freshman,” said Kay, who also coached him in travel ball. “He doesn’t perform like a freshman. You look at him and you think junior, senior, and he’s a freshman? It’s pretty cool to watch. … He’s special.”
Casey Worden hits out of the three-hole for JSerra, one spot behind Strumpf. Worden, a senior captain, lauded Strumpf’s fundamentals, which he described as “sound in every aspect.”
“I had heard about him before when he was coming in,” Worden said. “He lived up to every bit.”
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