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Camarillo’s Lucas makes contact at plate

Andrew Lucas with a bat.
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Andrew Lucas is on his way to becoming the face of Camarillo High’s baseball program.

The outfielder and pitcher spent last season impressing coaches as one of three freshmen on a junior varsity squad that had a 12-11-1 record.

It’s only a matter of time until Lucas, who will be a sophomore this fall, roams the outfield for head coach John Gonzalez and the varsity team.

“He was a really strong player for the JV team,” Gonzalez said of Lucas’ freshman campaign. “He probably could have been on the varsity team talent-wise but we had some guys a bit ahead of him.”

Lucas, 15, is one of the best baseball players in his age group.

He’s one of 40 players in the nation named to the USA U-15 National Team Trials roster. The boys will duke it out for one of the 20 final roster spots on a team that will compete at the Pan American Baseball Confederation’s U-15 Pan American Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, which will take place Aug. 21 to 30.

The tryout for the squad is Aug. 9-15 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

“It’s a very big honor,” Lucas said of making the trials roster. “It’s a great opportunity for me to play against some great players and have some good experience on my own.

“It’ll be great knowing some of the coaches there because they are some of the best coaches in the country.”

The experience will surely benefit a youngster who flourished as a freshman standout.

Lucas hit .282 last year while scoring a team-high 24 runs. His patience at the dish translated into a team-best 12 walks and a .391 on-base percentage. He’s a nuisance for opposing pitchers once he reaches the base paths. The speedster swiped 12 bases in 12 attempts last season.

On the mound, Lucas made nine appearances, including five starts. He sported a 3.09 earnedrun average and a 3-2 record. He struck out 16 batters in 22 2/3 innings pitched but struggled with his control. He walked 25 batters his rookie season.

Gonzalez said he isn’t concerned about Lucas’ numbers at the JV level.

“He shows a lot of potential on the mound,” the skipper said. “I think he can be a really good pitcher.”

Lucas is putting in the extra work this summer to make sure he achieves his goals.

“I hope to be on varsity this year,” Lucas said. “I want to compete and stand out to show my coaches and everybody what I can do.”

He’s frequently in the gym lifting weights with teammates and friends. He’s also constantly on the field working on his swing and fielding mechanics.

Fellow Scorpion Gabe Baldovino said Lucas’ “heart and mind” make him a future star.

“He has a lot of love for the game, and he does everything to get better,” Baldovino said. “He’s been working hard to improve.

“I see big things in his future. He puts a lot of time and effort into what he loves to do.”

Lucas, who started playing baseball in the Camarillo Pony Baseball Association, said he loves the sport because it takes skill.

“There can be some really big guys that play, but it doesn’t mean they’re good,” he said. “It depends on who can play the game the best.”

The Scorpion’s three sisters are his biggest fans. His older sisters Jenna, a 2011 Newbury Park graduate, and Katie, a 2014 Camarillo grad, don’t play sports. His younger sister Krysta, a Monte Vista Middle School student, plays softball.

His father Andy Lucas played basketball and football at Canoga Park. His mom, Margie Lucas, was a cheerleader at the same high school.

Andrew Lucas, who sports a 3.3 GPA, would like to play baseball in college.

Gonzalez wants the youngster to improve in his time at Camarillo.

“He does a lot of things well,” Gonzalez said of Lucas. “He’s got a lot of potential. We hope he can be a contributor in the lineup and on the mound. We’re really excited to have him in the program.”

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