Villa Park’s Gavin Grahovac has ‘all the tools’ and hunger to win – Orange County Register

Villa Park junior Gavin Grahovac had a genetic head start when it came to baseball.

He grew up in the right environment for that too.

His father, Mike Grahovac, was an excellent catcher at Chapman University and played in the minor league system for the San Francisco Giants.

When Mike became a coach, including at Orange Lutheran and later at Concordia University in Irvine, where he led the team to an NAIA National Championship, Gavin was there.

  • Gavin Grahovac is a junior shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team in Villa Park on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gavin Grahovac is a junior shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team in Villa Park on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gavin Grahovac, a shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team at Villa Park, hits a pitch during practice Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gavin Grahovac, a shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team in Villa Park, throws a ball during practice Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gavin Grahovac, a shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team at Villa Park, throws the ball to home plate as he throws a fly ball during practice Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gavin Grahovac, a shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team at Villa Park, hits a pitch during practice Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gavin Grahovac is a junior shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team in Villa Park on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gavin Grahovac, a shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team at Villa Park, walks to second base during practice Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG )

  • Gavin Grahovac, a shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team at Villa Park, throws the ball to home plate as he throws a fly ball during practice Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gavin Grahovac, a shortstop for the Villa Park High School baseball team in Villa Park, throws a ball during practice Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“Gavin was always batting practice with us,” Mike said. “I was throwing a ball to him on the ground when he was 3 and he could field a ball on the ground.”

Gavin Grahovac, now 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, became an excellent high school baseball player.

Some baseball-focused websites have named California’s best junior player. Grahovac, who signed up to Texas A&M, is praised for his batting speed, power, overall athleticism and defensive versatility.

He spent most of his youth in baseball as a catcher before moving to shortstop at Villa Park.

“Ever since I was little I wanted to try every position,” Gavin said. “When I got to high school, I decided to play wherever they needed me to play.”

Villa Park coach Burt Call, an All-CIF baseball player at Capistrano Valley High before becoming a starting outfielder at BYU, said Grahovac is a versatile player.

“He’s got all the tools,” Call said. “Gavin can hit a good pitch and he can hit it hard. He is a complete player.

“What differentiates him from other players is his competitiveness. He likes to win.

Gravhovac was the Crestview League MVP last season when, in 28 games, he had 39 hits, six homers, 10 doubles, two triples and 24 RBIs. His batting average was .411.

Call and Mike Grahovac believe Gavin’s future in baseball will be as a third baseman. For now, the shortstop suits him well.

“I like being the guy in the middle of the pitch where you can see everything,” he said.

Grahovac made an unofficial visit to Texas A&M over Thanksgiving break and liked it enough to make it his college destination.

“The people there are amazing, as are the coaching staff,” he said. “It’s something I want to be a part of.”

Grahovac is, of course, an MLB draft prospect.

“We hear a lot of good things about it,” said Mike Grahovac. “He just has to keep doing what he’s doing.”

Gavin recognizes the challenges ahead.

“I’m going to see guys throwing the ball harder and hitting the ball harder,” he said. “I try to train every day, to do this job every day.”

He’s been doing this for a long time.

REMARKS

• The high school baseball season officially begins on Saturday. The PBR Preseason Invitational, presented by prepbaseballreport.com, will have pool games Saturday at multiple Southern California locations, including Capistrano Valley, Foothill, Huntington Beach and JSerra High Schools and at Hart Park in Orange, which is the Orange Lutheran ground.

• JSerra hosts a doubleheader against Huntington Beach on March 1 before opening Trinity League play with a three-game series against Orange Lutheran on March 8, 9 and 11.

• Huntington Beach, Orange Lutheran and Servite will play at the National High School Invitational in North Carolina in April. Orange Lutheran have won the tournament in three of the last four seasons in which it has been contested. Huntington Beach also won an NHSI title.

• The Southern California half of the Boras Classic will be held April 19-22 at JSerra and Mater Dei. The host schools and four other Orange County teams – Foothill, Huntington Beach, Servite and Villa Park – are part of this year’s event.

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