Tag Archives: Kyle Nicol

Kyle Nicol Prepares For Next Step At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

By Rick Assad


It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that baseball’s toughest position is being behind home plate.

A catcher’s job requires catlike quickness to step from the plate and throw the ball to second base on a steal attempt, blocking balls that are in the dirt, handling balls that are tipped off the bat, physical strength because you are squatting for nine innings, seeing the game as it develops and perhaps most important of all, the ability to call for the correct pitches and location.

The next most difficult position to master is shortstop, which also requires being quick-footed and quick-handed with a cannon-like throwing arm when the ball is hit deep into the hole and then being able to turn the double play, and ready for anything and everything that can possibly happen on a baseball field.

Not far behind those two is being relief pitcher, which asks a hurler to enter a contest with no one on base, one runner on base, two runners on and in the most dreaded situation, three runners on base.

This is truly living on the edge while walking on a tightrope. Some can handle the situation while others simply cannot.

Kyle Nicol throwing for Burroughs during his senior season. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Onetime Burroughs High pitcher Kyle Nicol was a reliever and then a starting pitcher during his senior season.

After playing one season at Cal State University Northridge, Nicol, who doesn’t throw hard and comes sidearm with an almost submarine-like motion, redshirted the next because of an injury.

Nicol then transferred to Glendale Community College where he was both a starting pitcher and a reliever.

Nicol will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo this fall, where he will continue his baseball career as a reliever.

What was the experience like playing for CSUN and then playing for the Vaqueros?

“There were a lot of factors that led to my transfer to Glendale,” said Nicol, who played four years for the Indians. “Part of the decision was based on academics and some had to do with the culture of the school and baseball team. I just felt that it was not a good fit for me personally.”

There had to be some positive that Nicol, who appeared in 17 games with eight starts and two saves for GCC in 2019, took away the lone season as a Matador?

“I learned lessons at CSUN that are invaluable,” he said. “It helped me learn to fight through adversity and deal with difficult situations, on and off the field.”

Kyle Nicol with his parents, Doug and Rose. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

It seems that the fit was much better at GCC for Nicol, who went 0-3 with a 4.23 earned-run average and 38 strikeouts with 16 walks across 38 and one-third innings, despite it being a junior college. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more of my experience at Glendale,” he said. “The program is run very well and the coaches do a lot for their players. Transferring to Glendale helped me get to Cal Poly and was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m extremely thankful for everyone over at GCC.”

Nicol said the surgery was necessary and though it ruined his second season at CSUN, he’s ready to move forward.

“The surgery was a setback, but I’ve fully recovered and I feel better than ever on the mound,” he said.

As a reliever, it’s critical that one doesn’t get rattled and out of sorts.

Nicol wasn’t when he pitched for Burroughs and has maintained that assuredness three years later.

What does Nicol feel is his best quality on the hill when he’s facing a tough batter in a tough situation? “I would say my best asset is my composure,” he said.

Nicol wasn’t a hard thrower at the prep level, but was still able to get batters out. Did Nicol have a secret weapon?

“I feel that my best pitch is the slider,” he said when asked what he likes to throw when it’s a tight situation.

Someone who knows Nicol, who started five games with eight appearances and one save while posting a 3.68 ERA in 22 frames in the Western State Conference, is longtime Burbank-area baseball coach Craig Sherwood, who was the head man for Burroughs during the time Nicol played there.

“When I first saw him throw I thought he would be a natural submarine type pitcher,” he said. “All I really did was give him an opportunity and he made it special.”

Kyle Nicol was a dominant starting pitcher who used a submarine style. (Photo by Dick Dornan)

What does Sherwood think made Nicol stand out in a crowd?

“One of the things that makes Kyle special is his competitiveness and the will to succeed,” he noted. “It is something that is inherent in all great players. He gets into a big situation and excels every time.”

The game that drew attention to Nicol, who fanned 17 and walked nine in WSC action, from Division I baseball coaches was the gem he threw at perennial power Harvard-Westlake in 2016 title game that clinched the prestigeous Easton Tournament.

As a relief pitcher, does Nicol feel any additional pressure knowing that it’s generally late in the game and it’s a high-leverage situation when he’s called in?

“I try to treat every game the same,” he said. “As a reliever, I have to be ready every day, so a good throwing routine is important.”

As one gets older, and especially in sports, each level should get more difficult. Has Nicol noticed this to be the case as he’s progressed as a baseball player?

“The competition is definitely better as you climb the ladder,” he said. “Everyone is trying to make it to the next level.”

When someone begins playing baseball, many have desires of playing at the highest level. Is Nicol any different?

“It’s every ballplayer’s dream to play professional baseball,” he said. “When so many of your teammates or former teammates get drafted and sign pro contracts, it’s a huge motivator to try to reach that level as well. I just want to play for as long as the game allows me to.”

Nicol said that watching college teams on television and then actually playing against them was a thrill.

“Pitching against teams that I grew up watching at schools like UCLA and Vanderbilt is pretty cool,” he said.

Classes at Nicol’s third college begin soon and he’s looking forward to a new chapter in both his studies and baseball career.

“I’m excited to start at Cal Poly with a clean slate and see what the future holds,” he said.

Nicol Steps Down as Burroughs Softball Coach

Citing a need to take a break, Burroughs High softball coach Doug Nicol has announced he is stepping down after six seasons and four Pacific League titles.

“Burroughs has been really supportive,” Nicol said. “I’ve gotten 25 to 30 e-mails or texts from parents and past players saying thank you. It has been pretty overwhelming.”

Nicol said it has been a long time since he hasn’t coached.

“Since 1986 I haven’t had one year off,” Nicol said. “It’s as simple as I need a break and I want to support my kids. I need a break to stay healthy.”

Doug Nicol

Doug Nicol

Nicol’s son Kyle recently graduated from Burroughs and signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at Cal State Northridge.

His daughter Delaney will be entering her sophomore year at Hamilton College in New York, where she plays softball.

Nicol’s teams went 128-38-1 in his six seasons, reaching the semifinals of the Division 3 playoffs this past season, the best in school history.

The softball program was the second one Nicol had taken over at Burroughs. He took over the girls’ basketball program in the summer of 1993 and stayed with the program until 2004. He posted a 201-116 record in that stint.

“We built a really good program. We did some good things with the softball program,” Nicol said. “I always hoped we could do some good things with the softball program that we did with the basketball program and I think we were able to do that. We have a real sense of community and family and that’s been really cool.”

Nicol said stepping down was not easy to do.

“I always thought I’d come back after getting a few weeks off in the summer. This summer I just felt worn down and you have to make my decision now because they are going to have tryouts in August. The decision has to be made now so the new coach can come in a have their own stamp on it and have their own tryouts,” Nicol added.

With All-CIF pitcher Presley Miraglia returning for the next two seasons, Nicol is happy with where the program is.

“There’s a lot of talent at Burroughs,” he said. “One of the things I’m most proud of is that I’m not leaving when the cupboard is bare. The program is healthy and strong and they should be one of the favorite to win the league next year.

Five Indians Earn All-CIF Honors

The spring sports season was a memorable one for Burroughs High. The boys’ volleyball team reached the CIF Southern Section Division 2 final. The softball team went to the Division 3 semifinals. The baseball team earned a share of the Pacific League crown and pole vaulter Sarah Prystupa reached the state meet in track and field.

Thus it comes as no surprise that Burroughs was well represented in postseason awards.

Three senior volleyball players, Ryan Van Loo, Andrew D’Almada and Cameron Capili earned All-CIF honors.

“It’s just an incredible achievement to get three guys on the All-CIF team and all three of them deserve it for their excellent play throughout all of the CIF playoffs,” Burroughs volleyball coach Joel Brinton said. “They continually led us each and every night.”

JB volley1


D’Almada, who earned All-CIF honors for a second straight season, thanked his teammates for helping him.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get it without everyone on the team,” D’Almada said. “:This season has been an amazing experience. The hard work every single one of these guys put in from August up until May 28 during the state championship (was amazing).”

In softball, sophomore pitcher Presley Miraglia was selected to the All-CIF team.

Baseball player Kyle Nicol was selected to All-CIF second team, a list that wasn’t officially released by the CIF Southern Section.

“I think he deserves to be on the first team,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “He had a tremendous year. I’m happy for him and I’m proud of him.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Van Loo, a 6-foot-3 setter who is headed on a scholarship to Lewis University, was named to the All-CIF team for a second straight year.

Also the Pacific League Player of the Year, Van Loo had 1,125 assists, 108 kills and 21 serving aces.

D’Almada, a 6-5 outside hitter, also was named to the All-CIF team for a second straight season.

He had 492 kills, 142 digs and 42 ½ blocks for the season.

Cameron Capili, also an outside hitter, made the team. The 6-foot-1 senior had 353 kills, 239 digs and 47 aces.

The trio helped Burroughs put together a 31-6 record, losing in the CIF title match to Oak Park. The Indians redeemed themselves in the Southern California state playoffs by defeating Oak Park in a rematch.

Miraglia posted a 20-4 record in leading the Indians to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Grand Terrace High.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

She had 183 strikeouts in 158 1/3 innings and had a 1.50 earned run average.

“She’s a great player,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “I think she’s on pace to be one of the best athletes ever to come out of Burroughs. She’s one of the best pitchers in Southern California and we’re lucky to have her.”

Nicol, who signed with Cal State Northridge, posted a 7-2 record in 56 2/3 innings. He had 66 strikeouts and just 14 walks, posting a 1.48 ERA in leading the Indians to a share of the Pacific League crown.

His biggest game was arguably in the final of the Easton Tournament, when he pitched a two-hit shutout and struck out 14 Harvard-Westlake batters in helping his team to a 1-0 victory.



Nicol Makes It Official by Signing With CSUN

Winning the prestigious Easton Tournament last month won Burroughs a coveted title. It also won pitcher Kyle Nicol lots of recognition, which led to a scholarship.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Nicol, who struck out 14 in even strong innings in the title game against Harvard-Westlake, started hearing from a number of colleges shortly thereafter.

California State University, Northridge was the first to offer a scholarship. After talking with the Matadors and a few other schools, he elected to stay in the San Fernando Valley by signing a national letter of intent with CSUN Wednesday.

“They said they’re going to give me the opportunity to start next year,” Nicol said. “I was talking to UCLA and Santa Barbara, but they didn’t offer.  They said there would be a walk-on spot available, but not a scholarship offer. “

Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said his pitching motion is what has made the 5-foot-8 pitcher attractive as a college prospect.

The signing was held on top of the mound on the Burroughs baseball field (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“He has perfected the submarine sidearm motion so that the batter becomes secondary and the multi-pitch selection that he has is able to be thrown for a strike at any time,” Sherwood said. “That along with the natural movement associated with the pitch becomes frustrating for a hitter who very little experience with that arm angle.”

Nicol is the son of Burroughs softball coach Doug Nicol and younger brother of Delaney Nicol, who is a freshman softball player at Hamilton College in New York.

Kyle said he enjoys the idea of staying close to home.

Nicol with his parents, Doug and Rose (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Nicol with his parents, Doug and Rose (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“It is only a 20-minute drive,” Nicol said. “It feels good to stay around here. My dad loves watching me play and I know he’s going to love watching me play in college.”

Sherwood said he thinks CSUN coach Greg Moore is a good person to help Nicol develop further.

“CSUN is a Division I school with a head coach who is known for his work with pitchers,” Sherwood said. “ He loves the arm angle and what Kyle brings to the plate not only with his maturity, but also he is very strong on academics which is a key for successful college programs.”



Burroughs’ Kyle Nicol Serves Granada Hills A Baker’s Dozen

By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor

A large part of Burroughs’ success this past spring was the sturdy pitching by All-CIF pitchers Thomas Wilson and Danny Bustos. They were simply the best duo in the surrounding area.

With the summer VIBL season winding down, two pitchers have emerged for the Indians with several strong performances. But none like Friday night’s VIBL playoff opener against Granada Hills.

Senior Kyle Nicol absolutely dominated the Highlanders in a complete game effort as Burroughs advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-0 victory. The Indians (14-7) will play at No. 4 Saugus on Monday at 5 p.m.

“I was happy with their demeanor and attitude. We came out real strong,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “We got comfortable once we got going but with Kyle Nicol dealing on the mound he was lights out.”

Kyle Nicol dominated from beginning to end for the Indians (Photo by Dick Dornan)

Kyle Nicol dominated from beginning to end for the Indians (Photo by Dick Dornan)

The right handed submariner baffled Granada Hills (4-11) from the outset as he threw a three-hitter, allowing only one walk while striking out 13 batters.

“I was feeling really good out there. From the first pitch I had a lot of energy so I knew I was going to last the whole game,” Nicol said. “Everything was working today. Both sliders and my fastball. I was able to locate everything especially inside. That was definitely my best performance on varsity.”

Nicol, who improved to 4-0 and lowered his earned run average to 1.08, was a spot reliever during the Indians league championship run. Now he is taking full advantage of his opportunity to impress the coaching staff with his desire to be the team’s ace.

Nicol’s mixture of two different sliders, changeup and fastball had the Granada Hills players’ heads spinning and bats whiffing. He struck out two batters in five different innings and ended the game throwing 90 pitches including 63 for strikes.

Nicol threw 17 first-pitch strikes to 25 batters as his pitches dipped, dived and dissected home plate.

“Kyle was focused,” Sherwood said. “He knew what he wanted to do from the very start. He had the eye of the tiger the whole game. Every pitch he threw was fantastic. He was on.”

Nicol and senior Jesse Galindo (2-1) have had an excellent summer thus far. Galindo leads the team with a miniscule 0.33 era. Both are parlaying their junior seasons into productive summer auditions for their senior campaigns.

Burroughs, seeded No. 5 in the playoff field, jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead after the first inning and coasted the rest of the way. Junior Alec Saavedra broke the game open with a bases-clearing double to left center giving JBHS a 4-0 lead. Randy Catlett followed with a double to right center scoring Saavedra.

Alec Saavedra scores for Burroughs after doubling in three runs (Photo by Dick Dornan)

Alec Saavedra scores for Burroughs after doubling in three runs (Photo by Dick Dornan)

“I’ve been swinging at high pitches so I knew to stop and it was low so I just tried putting the bat on the ball and it worked,” Saavedra said. “It felt good when I got to second. I was happy everyone scored and I got those three RBIs.”

“This team comes out hot with the bats. Everybody is just swinging,” said Nicol. “Everybody has a good attitude. We are a good team right now.”

Like many others, Saavedra is taking full advantage of his spot starts and his recent performances have been reflective of it. In his last two games, Saavedra went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored against Campbell Hall and 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored versus Granada Hills.

“These guys know their jobs are on the line right now,” said Sherwood. “He gets a chance to play and comes through. I want to see somebody who gets a chance to make the best of it.”

Tanner Whitlock and Justin Palafox added two hits apiece as the Indians won their 14th game of the summer. A year ago, Burroughs went 16-7 during the summer and used that as a springboard to a 24-5 season. Last year’s Tribe went 65-22 overall during their 11 month journey together.

This summer’s edition has seen young players such as Palafox and his brother Nathan, Sage Del Castillo, Matthew Rudas and Mitch Lefevre step up in their first varsity action while returners in Whitlock, Catlett, Omar Tejeda and Jason Whaley continue their stellar play for what is shaping up to be another promising season for the boys at Burroughs.