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LHS senior pitcher is ready for a strong and healthy season


Lawrence High senior Bryce Montes de Oca isn’t nervous about returning to the mound for the upcoming baseball season. Opposing hitters might be.

The 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher missed most of last year due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Montes de Oca missed the entire 2012 season after spraining a ligament in the same elbow in March. He expects to be healthy enough to return by mid-April.

Montes de Oca, a University of Missouri signee, has a fastball that can reach the mid-90s and he’s been rated as one of the top prep pitchers in the country when healthy. Baseball America, a top source for the sport’s high school news and projections, ranked him No. 62 among high school players with college commitments after college baseball’s early signing period in November.

Despite missing most of the past two seasons, Montes de Oca is confident he’ll have a healthy senior year.

“I’ve never had an issue trusting (my arm) because I know what I’ve done in the offseason during rehab,” Montes de Oca said. “I trust what I’m doing and I think the results will be good.”

He felt fine last season before he sprained the same ligament in his elbow and opted for surgery on April 11. He took a loss in his only decision, but struck out six over three innings against Olathe Northwest, a team that ended up in the Class 6A state tournament.

“It’s just frustrating the fact that all the work you put in during the offseason was for nothing,” Montes de Oca said. “You have to take another whole year off but everything starts equaling up in the end.”

Senior catcher Drew Green, who has caught some of Montes de Oca’s bullpen sessions, said he’s seen good things from the senior pitcher.

“He can be a major factor in our success,” Green said. “It takes some pressure of off us, and maybe get us to those games where he (pitches) a shutout. …It’s definitely exciting see him (healthy).”

The Lions will open the season on the road against Edmond Memorial High (Okla.) in the Edmond Festival at 7:30 p.m Friday.

Lawrence High catchers practice fielding pitches in the dirt during drills.

Lawrence High catchers practice fielding pitches in the dirt during drills. by Bobby Nightengale


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