Redondo Beach (Calif.) Redondo Union and Danny Zimmerman were in the same situation as last season. After missing out on an opportunity to lock up the Bay League on the home field of rival Mira Costa (Calif.) last season, the Sea Hawks had a shot at redemption.
With 6-foot-8 senior right-hander Sean Reynolds on the mound, Redondo Union felt comfortable with their pitching, but Reynolds needed some run support. Zimmerman helped provide that, blasting a solo home run over the right-center field fence.
“I was just looking to drive the ball,” Zimmerman said. “The first pitch was a curveball. I swung right over the top of it. I was ready for the fastball. I got a fastball right over the plate and just went with it.”
It was nothing new for the 6-foot-5, 245-pound junior two-way stud. It was his third straight game iwht a home run. Zimmerman leads Redondo Union with 10 homers and 36 RBIs. But even when he doesn’t hit the ball out of the park, Zimmerman still gets on base more than half the time.
He is hitting .446 on the season and he walked twice against Mira Costa to take over the team lead for base on balls with 15, giving him an impressive .548 on-base percentage.
Zimmerman is also a force on the mound where he is approaching the 90-mph mark with his fastball. Much as he did last season, Zimmerman began the season in the bullpen, but has moved into a starting role for the stretch run.
When on the mound, Zimmerman has a narrow and direct focus.
“Just get two pitches right. Just throw both for a strike — fastball, curveball. Throw it over the plate and let my guys help me out a little bit.”
It’s a strategy that helped him produce one of the best starts of his career two weeks ago. He struck out 15 in a complete game, two-hit effort against Rolling Hills Estate (Calif.) Peninsula. For the season, he is 4-1 with a save and a 1.84 ERA in seven appearances.
“We haven’t really talked that much, but I think two-way is what we came to agree upon," Zimmerman said. "If one starts to go then I'll just pick one and work on that one.”
Along with his pitching duties, he expects to play first base and outfield and maybe even some third base. Ann Arbor is a long way from the cozy coastal town of Redondo Beach, but Zimmerman says the distance is no issue because he couldn’t pass up being a Wolverine.
“I just liked everything out there — coaches, people. It just felt right.”
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