Joe Potulny calls himself a "high school schmuck."
Even after 16 years of coaching at Carmichael Jesuit, the longtime skipper is still just a fan at heart.
That's why Potulny is so excited about this week's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship series against Buhach Colony.
The best-of-three series starts at the University of the Pacific's Klein Family Field on Friday at 7 p.m.
Saturday's action begins at noon, with a deciding third game to follow -- if necessary.
The Jesuit coach has a dugout seat to watch enough talent on the field to fill out a Division I college lineup.
"It's fun as a coach to watch how our guys will do," said Potulny, who's steered Jesuit to section titles in 1994, 1996 and 2001.
"It's going to be interesting to see our early-sign guys -- who are going to play at that next level -- compete against guys that they'll probably see at that next level sometime down the road."
Fans in this area are aware of the talent at Sac-Joaquin South champ Buhach Colony (27-5).
Pitcher Brett Mooneyham is headed to Stanford. Right-hander Justin Koehler is off to Cal State Fullerton.
Catcher Joe Medeiros has committed to U.C. Davis and shortstop Markus Melgosa's next stop is St. Mary's.
That list doesn't include junior Dylan Floro, who many consider the ace of the staff.
Last week, Potulny saw first-hand what his team is up against when he watched BC's 9-7 win over Beyer.
"I've seen Floro and Koehler and I love what I saw," Potulny said. "I haven't seen Mooneyham, but from what I've heard, his ceiling is projected higher than the whole group."
Potulny isn't exactly tossing out a lineup of stiffs.
Jesuit (25-6) has won 22 straight games.
It's a young team that features three juniors who have already verbally committed to Pac 10 schools.
Catcher Andrew Susac and shortstop Dan Hayes have already committed to defending national champion Oregon State.
Right fielder Jimmy Bosco will head to Cal in two years.
Senior left-hander Justin Parker will pitch for Loyola Marymount next year.
Want to see some great baseball?
Head to Klein Family Field on Friday and Saturday.
"You might as well call it an all-star game if you get right down to it," Buhach Colony coach Wayne Fitzgerald said.
"I don't know if they've seen guys that have committed like ours, but they look like a spitting image of us. Without seeing them, I'd say there were a lot of similarities."
Jesuit averages over 10 runs per game.
Bosco hit .523 and led the team with 46 runs -- and then there's Hayes, who hit .416 with a team-high 32 RBIs.
All Susac did was hit .474, added five homers and threw out just about every base runner in sight.
"We've had two catchers go on to play D-I and Andrew is definitely doing things as a junior I've never seen a Jesuit player do," Potulny said.
"He's had about 15 or 18 guys try to run on him and he's thrown out two-thirds of them. We've never had anyone else do that.
"He's got the best bat speed of anyone on the club and he's not one dimensional where he's just looking to turn on a fastball. He hit a home run to right-center field the other day."
As a fan, Potulny can't wait to see his young guns go up against BC's big arms.
"Sure, I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'll be watching. Baseball isn't like basketball where you have to worry about the other team in transition.
"It's not like football where they run the Wing-T and you have to try to defend it.
"In baseball, you prepare the best you can and than he pitches it and you hit it.
"Without getting lost in the matchups, I'll be watching. I'm a baseball junkie. I love this stuff."
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.