Matt Whitney rules dancefloor, baseball diamond

Matt Whitney is catching the ball.
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There’s no stopping Matt Whitney once he gets going.

His Camarillo High baseball teammates say he hardly sits still.

“He’s a dancer,” senior Ramon Gomez said of Whitney.

A third-year varsity standout, Whitney has no shame busting a move.

“I like to dance,” Whitney said. “I listen to everything from country music to classic rock to hip-hop to mariachi and Reggaeton. My favorite thing to get me going is either hip-hop or Reggaeton because it gets me moving.”

Tracks by Kendrick Lamar and Wisin y Yandel get the senior in a groove. Whitney, the Scorpions’ starting shortstop and leadoff hitter, gets things going for the Camarillo offense.

“He does a good job being a leadoff man for us,” head coach John Gonzalez said. “He’s gotten better every year. That’s something you always look for in a veteran.”

Whitney, 18, played an instrumental role in helping Camarillo (22-4 overall, 11-1 in the Coastal Canyon League) claim the league’s inaugural crown. The No. 7 Scorpions earned a spot in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. Camarillo faces Trabuco Hills in the first round at 3:15 p.m. today at home.

Whitney bolsters the top of the lineup by hitting .338 with 27 hits, 21 runs and 17 RBI. He also earned a team-high 14 walks to up his onbase percentage to .459 this spring.

“He gets on base and he’s fast,” Gomez said of Whitney. “He gets it going for us. He’s explosive and exciting to watch. I think we feed off of that.”

Whitney said he worked on his speed during the summer by running on the beach every day. He brought his time in the 60-yard dash down to 6.6 seconds from the 7.2 he ran his junior season.

Teammates appreciate the work he puts in on the field. Gonzalez appreciates the work he does off of it.

“He’s kind of an anchor,” Gonzalez said. “He’s a team leader. He goes about his business the right way, and I think the younger players learn from him.”

Whitney also sees action on the mound as Camarillo’s closer.

“He throws strikes,” the skipper said of Whitney. “It’s a little bit of a different look from the guys throwing before him. He just competes. It really exemplifies our team.”

The senior’s baseball journey started like most kids—in T-ball. He first played for the Angels at El Rio Little League and remembers having a different mindset to go after every grounder and fly ball.

“I was always that kid who, if a ball was hit to right field and I was playing shortstop, I would go chasing after it,” Whitney said.

The star shortstop will roam the infield at the University of San Diego next season. His only goals in college are to help the team pile up victories and make a run to the College World Series.

Whitney’s family members are his biggest supporters.

His parents, Eileen and Roger, and younger sister, Victoria, are also athletes. Eileen Whitney played softball at Santa Clara High. Roger Whitney played football at Oxnard High. Victoria Whitney, an eighth-grader at University Charter Middle School, will play volleyball at Rio Mesa next year.

Matt Whitney also played basketball for nine years as a youngster. He was faced with a tough decision before enrolling in high school.

“I chose baseball over basketball,” he said. “I love everything about baseball. I also thought I could go farther with baseball.”

Whitney’s personality and work ethic also helped him gain lifelong friends.

“He laughs a lot and he has a great sense of humor,” Gomez said of Whitney. “When he gets on the field, he’s all work. He’s always looking to get better.”

With his final year at Camarillo coming to a close and his college days on the horizon, Whitney’s still focused on his ultimate goal.

“I want to be able to say I made it to the bigs,” he said.

Get to know the Scorpion

Matt Whitney, 18, is a three-year starting shortstop for the Camarillo High baseball team. He helped the Scorpions win the inaugural Coastal Canyon League title and reach the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. He’ll take his talents to the University of San Diego next season.

• Food: Mexican
• Athlete: Derek Jeter
• TV channel: MLB Network
• Movie: “The Sandlot”
• App: Pandora
• Vacation spot: Florida

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