May 24, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Empire League coaches honor top baseball players from an abbreviated season

Brett Wozniak of Cypress fires a pitch in the CIF Division 1 finals in 2019. Cypress took the title with a 2-0 victory over Harvard Westlake. (File photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Baseball coaches in the Empire League on Monday announced the all-league team for 2020. Teams were in their first week of play when the season was cancelled.

“Under the circumstance we came to agreement as a league that we would recognize those seniors that have not only excelled on the field but in the classroom and are also great representatives for each of our respective schools,” said Tustin Coach Charles Chatman.

TUSTIN

Matt Olivares SS: “Matt is a three-year varsity starter at shortstop,” said Coach Chatman. “Matt has been a leader for us since he stepped on the field and this year he was one of our four captains. Matt is still undecided on where he will attend college next year. He has started every game at shortstop for us the past two seasons and in our nine games Matt was batting .333 with six runs scored and a .400 batting average with runners in scoring position.” 

Roger Vasquez, 3B: “Roger has been a varsity starter since he stepped on campus his freshman year,” said Coach Chatman. “He is as pure a hitter as we have had at Tustin High School. Roger is a dominating force in the middle of the lineup and makes everyone around him better. He is currently undecided on a college but will be an asset to wherever he chooses. In just seven games this season Roger was batting .455 with five runs, six RBI’s, three doubles and a home run.” 

Jeremy Haugh P: “Jeremy has been a mainstay at the top of our rotation for the past two seasons,” said Coach Chatman.”He was a first team all-league selection last year as a junior and this year he picked up right where he left off in 2019. In three games Jeremy had only given up one earned run and struck out 10 with an ERA of .700 and one save.”

Parker Cadacio P: “Parker has been in the rotation since his freshman year and at the top of it for the past two,” Coach Chatman said. “His command and ability to dominate both side of the plate has been the key to his success. Along with being a dominant force on the mound, he has also exceled in the classroom earning a partial baseball and academic scholarship to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Parker was off to another great start with two wins, 16 strikeouts and closed his senior year in dramatic fashion combining for a no-hitter in our last game vs. Valencia, throwing a four inning eight strikeout gem.” 

PACIFICA

Brennan Horne P: “Brennan has been a starting pitcher the past two years and has logged many solid innings,” said Pacifica Coach Michael Caira.  “He is a team captain and the emotional leader of the team, as well as a great leader on the mound.  Brennan has committed to play at Arizona Christian University.  He currently had started three games with five appearances, 17.1 innings pitched, 12 strikeouts, with two wins and a save.”

Jimi Welsher P/OF: “Jimi has been a 2-year dual-position starter in center field and as a pitcher,” Caira said. “Welsher brings many tools to the game with his fast running, lefty swing, as well as his ability to throw several pitches for strikes and his tough as nails mentality.  Jimi currently had started four games on the mound, with six appearances and a complete game, 20 innings pitched, eight strikeouts, no walks with two wins and two saves.  He also started the other five games in center field flashing the leather with 13 putouts. He had four hits, three walks, three runs and five stolen bases.”

Justin Santoyo 3B: “Justin has been a starter the past three years playing third base and was an all league selection his sophomore year,” Caira said. “He has the strongest arm on the infield and plays an outstanding third base. Santoyo was also having a fantastic year at the dish. He was currently hitting .379 with 11 hits, four doubles, eight RBI, and four stolen bases.”

Matthew Ortiz SS: “Matt has been a 4-year starter for Pacifica and team captain the past two years,” Coach Caira said. “He has started all four years at shortstop and has batted in the top of the order. He has been an annual all-league selection and has committed to play at Washington State University. Ortiz was currently hitting .387 with 12 hits, three doubles, five RBIs, and two stolen bases.  He was also errorless through the first 10 games in 28 opportunities.”

Matthew Sagmit P: “Matt has been a 2-year pitcher and has started many big games,” Coach Caira said. “He is one of the leaders among the pitchers and has a tremendous work ethic. He has committed to play at Hope University. Matt currently had started three games on the hill, with six appearances, 17 2/3 IP, six strikeouts and four earned runs.”

Nathan Petrutis 1B: “Nate has been a 4-year starter for Pacifica and also a team captain the past two years,” said Coach Caira. “He has started at first base as well as DH and has been our 3-4 hitter driving in runs. He has been an all-league selection every year leading the team annually in most offensive categories.  Nate was currently hitting .286 with eight hits, three doubles, five walks and scoring seven runs.”

CYPRESS

Brett Wozniak P/1B: “Brett is a three-year starter on the mound and at first base for the Centurions,” said Coach John Weber. “Woz won 17 games in his career with a career ERA of 1.65.  His games won is good for seventh all time, and ERA is fifth in the Centurion record books.  Brett was All-Orange County first team in 2019 and was Empire League co-pitcher of the year in 2019.  He is also a career .337 hitter over the course of three seasons, racking up 62 hits.  Woz was named the Cypress HIgh School Male Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2020, as he carries a 3.94 cumulative GPA.  Brett will continue his playing career at Kansas State University.”

Jackson Ronningen P: “Jackson is a two year letterman for the Centurions as a pitcher,” said Coach Weber. “In his 19 (plus) innings of work over the two seasons, he gave up just one earned run for a career ERA of 0.36.  Jackson will continue pitching in college at one of the top Liberal Arts Schools in America, Williams College in Massachusetts.  He is an excellent student, having taken 11 Honors or AP courses and carries a cumulative GPA of 4.09.”

Patrick Shanahan P: “Patrick is a three year letterman as a pitcher for Cypress,” Coach Weber said. “Over the course of his varsity tenure, Patrick had a 1.65 ERA in 17 innings of work. As a senior before the season was disrupted, he had worked 6 1/3 innings and hadn’t given up a run in his four appearances.  While Patrick will not be playing baseball in college, he will continue his studies at Long Beach State.  Patrick is a 3.67 GPA student and has carried straight A’s as a senior.”

Jason Blood P: “Jason earned his first letter as a baseball player his senior year,” Coach Weber said. “He grinded it out on the lower levels and his perseverance allowed him to make his varsity debut this year.  He became the No. 2 starter for the Centurions this season.  He earned one victory before the season was ended early and worked 14 innings, the second most on the team.  Jason is a 3.3 GPA student and will continue playing baseball at Golden West College next year.”

CREAN LUTHERAN

Brett Aguirre, 1B-P: “Our top two-way player, Brett hit .419 this season with a home run and eight RBI,” said Coach Jake Haney. “He also led our team in innings pitched and wins.”

Solomon Yi OF: “Solomon was hitting .285 with three stolen bases when the season ended,” Coach Haney said.”He was also an elite outfielder for us.”

Chase Kanegae IF: “Chase was hitting .378 when the season ended,” Coach Haney said. “He made the most consistent loud contact and really solidified the middle infield.”

Drew Barragan SS-P: “Drew hit .375 with five doubles,” Coach Haney said. “He was as hot as anybody when the season ended.”

Liam Gallagher P: “Liam led our team with seven appearances in 11 games,” Coach Haney said. “He had a 2.76 ERA with a win and a save.”

VALENCIA

Shaun McHale SS-P: He was a four year varsity player and first team all-league as a junior. “He 305 with 80 hits, 20 extra base hits, along with 25 stolen bases for his varsity career when we left,” said Coach Joe Secoda. “He was on pace to have over 100 varsity hits. ‘Leader’ would be the first word you think of when talking about Shaun.”

Kyle Chrysler utility-P: “As a junior, he had 23 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched,” said Coach Secoda. “This year, he was was hitting .310 with 13 RBI along with four doubles in 10 games to start senior year.  He also started three games on the mound and played multiple positions defensively to do what was best for the team.  Selfless is a great term to describe Kyle.”

Carlos Leos utility-P: “On the mound, he had 16 strikeouts in 16 innings as a junior,” said Coach Secoda. “He made the decision to put off surgery and rehabbed his shoulder to play his senior year. He was just cleared from the doctor to play the week before we were sent home. Dedication and character are words that come to mind to describe Carlos.”

KENNEDY

Wyatt Johnson P/OF: In 2019, he was an All-Empire League player and co-pitcher of the year and the CIF Division 4 player of the year leading the Fighting Irish to the CIF title. He was also All-CIF and a three-year starter.

Chase Leonard SS: In 2019, he was a first team All-Empire League selection and earned All-CIF honors. He was a three-year varsity starter.

Sam Moctezuma P: He was an All-Empire League player in 2017 and 2019 and wound up with 18 career wins. Moctezuma was a four-year varsity player.

Sebastian McSherry C: He was a 2019 All-Empire League player and led the team in home runs and RBI. McSherry was a three-year starter. 

Tyler Beckler 3B: Beckler, a three-year varsity starter, was an All-Empire League player in 2019.

Source: Empire League baseball coaches

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