Athlete of the Week: Oca a double-threat for Poway National Little League all-stars
By Michael Bower
Poway National Little Leaguer Connor Oca went 9-for-9 with a grand slam and was hit by a pitch twice over two all-star games last weekend. That means the 11-year-old reached base an amazing 11 times in 11 plate appearances.
But 10/11-year-old Poway National all-star coach Bryan Wood is more impressed with something else about Oca — his ability as a catcher.
“Nothing gets by him and he has a solid arm,” raved Wood. “I have been coaching for 13 years and he is probably the most-developed catcher at 11 years old that I have ever seen. He probably is the best Little League catcher in the county.”
Oca loves to hit, but he spends just as much time working on his catching as he does his hitting. For the last three years, he and some of his friends could often be found at the ballpark working on getting better.
“It takes a lot of work,” Oca said of what it takes to be a strong catcher. “You have to go out to the field almost every day and work on it. I have been doing it for about three years now with some friends.”
The extra work he has put in is paying off. Oca’s 9-for-9 effort helped the Poway National Little League All-Star team defeat Del Mar American 17-8 and Poway American 20-1 last week. He finished with eight RBIs, two doubles and the grand slam in the two games.
For his effort, Oca is the Rancho Arbolitos Swim and Tennis Club Athlete of the Week.
“I have had some good games, but never that good,” Oca said. “That was really something.”
Poway National won its pool and will play in the quarterfinals Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Rancho Bernardo Little League Fields. Oca, who was on the 9/10-year-old all-star team that was upset in an elimination game last season, thinks this year’s squad is more focused.
“Only two players on our team weren’t on our team last year,” he said. “I think we have bonded a little tighter and we all know how bad it felt to lose last year. We are all trying to get back for last year.”
Oca said his No. 1 passion is baseball.
“It is just really fun stepping on the field and just playing baseball,” he said. “It is free time away from other things. I just have a lot of fun out there.”
“The kid eats, breathes and sleeps baseball,” Wood said. “He is a funny, outgoing kid and a real pleasure to have on the team.”
- Little League All-Stars 10/11: Poway National explodes for combined 37 runs in two victories
- Athlete of the Week: Dwyer caps amazing game for Rancho Bernardo Little League with HR
- Little League All-Stars 9/10: Poway National clinches quarterfinals spot with win over Rancho Bernardo
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