Victoria West's Corey Willemin fields the ball and makes the play at first during a game versus St. Joseph's High School at Riverside Park.
As of Thursday, March 14, 2013
Victoria West vs. Victoria East
: Friday, 7 p.m.
: Riverside Stadium
: Warriors 8-7-1, Titans 9-8-1
For most people, playing a team from a school in the same town as you would make the game a huge rivalry, with the atmosphere similar to a Texas-Texas A&M football game.
While the atmosphere will still be that of a great rivalry game, one player doesn't feel that way.
"Really, it's just another game," Victoria West senior Cory Willemin said. "It is a huge game because I've been playing with these guys for a long time. So, it's a pretty big game for me."
Getting another district win is more important, however, than the Warriors (8-7-1) defeating Victoria East (9-8-1) Friday night at Riverside Stadium.
"It's important to get the victory," West head coach Manuel Alvarado said. "You can get bragging rights in the summer with your friends. But district wins are what get you into the playoffs."
A win in the district standings isn't the only thing on the line Friday night. The Warriors enter the game on a 17-game district win streak and a three-game win streak over the Titans.
Willemin didn't get much playing time during last season, but he did have one critical hit that drove in a run against East in West's 7-5 win.
This year, however, he figures to play a much larger role.
So far this season, Willemin has compiled a .500 batting average, which is the highest of the Warriors with 30 or more at-bats. He has driven in eight runs while scoring seven on his own. He's also recorded two home runs in his first full season as a starter.
"His offensive play is really a big asset. Whenever he hits the ball, he hits it hard," Alvarado said. "This is his first time playing third, and he's still learning the position. He's doing a great job and getting better at it. That's one of the things we like about him."
Another thing to like about Willemin is his versatility.
Willemin has done an effective job on the mound for West this season, earning a 1-1 record in 12 innings of work. He's built a 1.75 ERA and has allowed just three earned runs with 14 strikeouts and only three walks.
"He's doing a good job for us on the mound," Alvarado said. "Every game he's out there he gives us a chance to win."
Willemin isn't a flashy player that sets complex goals. All he wants to do is to hit for a high average and field consistently.
He's already got the hitting down, and he has yet to commit an error at third base this season.
"I just want to play the best I can," Willemin said. "I just have to play the best I can and do my job."
"He's one of those kids every coach wishes he had on their team," Alvarado said. "He's a great kid that comes out and works hard every day. He's not afraid to do what it takes to be a winner."
West on rivalry with East
Victoria West's senior Cory Willemin and head coach Manuel Alvarado talk about the Warriors' rivalry with Victoria East.