By John Philip Wyllie
Prior to the start of the current high school baseball season Eastlake High School’s Nick Romero was ranked 34th among the nation’s professional prospects. An entourage of Major League talent scouts have become a regular feature at his games. Articles have been written about him in various local and national publications and he has become the star attraction for the ninth ranked (21-7) Titans. Despite all the hype, Romero remains a down-to-earth, team player more focused on his team’s goals than those of his own.
“I try not to think about who is out there watching me when I play. We are all out here for the same goal and that is to win a CIF championship. Everybody is good on this team,” Romero said.
“Nick’s a great kid,” said Eastlake’s head coach Dave Gonzalez. “In the off-season, he worked as hard as anybody that I have ever coached. He’s also one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet. He’s got great skills and they are only going to get much, much better.” Gonzalez loves his work ethic and arm strength.
“You saw him throw that kid out at third base today from (deep) center field. And when he pitches they clock him at 90 and 91 (mph).” Not bad considering his primary position is neither center field nor pitcher.
“I love playing shortstop,” Romero states emphatically. “I feel at home out there.” That hasn’t stopped him from assuming multiple roles for the playoff-bound Titans, however. As a tune-up, Gonzalez had him pitch the final inning of Wednesday’s 14-2 blow-out over Bonita Vista High.
“We are expecting to use him quite a bit as our closer in the playoffs. This was probably only the fourth inning and fourth game that he has pitched for us this year, so he is fresh.”
Surprisingly, baseball has not always been Romero’s primary sport.
“My grandpa started me playing tennis when I was little. I played that for about five years. I think a lot of my footwork comes from having played tennis.” Later on, his father spent countless hours hitting him ground balls and helping him to improve his hitting.
“My Dad has always been there for me hitting me ground balls before and after practice.” He also set a fine example in developing Romero’s work ethic. He considers it the biggest key to his success.
It appears that coming from an athletic family has also played a role. His cousin (Christina Romero) has represented Mexico in international soccer over the last few years. While baseball has presented him no such opportunity, he did spend a summer playing in Tijuana a few years ago.
Romero’s future remains bright, albeit uncertain. He’s been offered a full-scholarship to attend SDSU in the fall to play for Tony Gwynn Aztecs, but he will also no doubt be drafted in June by one of the Major League clubs.
“We’ll see what happens when draft day comes,” Romero said. I just want to play ball. Either way, I am not going to be stressing about it.”