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Cougars lead baseball awards parade
by Aaron Retherford
May 30, 2009 | 725 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photos/John Byrne - Spanish Springs' Tyler Eaton (above) and Reed's Casey Yocom (below) were their teams' aces and earned first team all-league.
Tribune file photos/John Byrne - Spanish Springs' Tyler Eaton (above) and Reed's Casey Yocom (below) were their teams' aces and earned first team all-league.
Tribune file/John Byrne - Sparks senior Danny Monroe was one of two Railroaders to take home first team all-league honors.
Tribune file/John Byrne - Sparks senior Danny Monroe was one of two Railroaders to take home first team all-league honors.
It wasn't a surprise when the Spanish Springs softball team took home 11 all-league honors after this season. The Cougars softball program has been so loaded with talent that it has received double-digit selections for several years now.

But the baseball team pulled off the same feat this spring, having 11 players selected by High Desert League coaches to the all-league lists, despite finishing in fourth place in the league standings.

Junior Tyler Eaton, and sophomores Tanner Oates and Jake Bray led the way as first team selections. Eaton took on the role as the team's ace, going 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA.

Oates and Bray were solid in the middle infield. At second base, Oates hit at a .421 clip with four home runs and 30 RBIs. Bray, a shortstop, led the team with 31 RBIs and batted .386 with three homers.

"We had 11 kids receive all league recognition. One of the highest from any school in the North," SSHS coach Mike Bosco said. "Three of our four seniors were recognized for their accomplishments and the other eight are all position players and will be returning for 2010.

"This team is very similar to the 2005 team that won the Northern Region and went on to the State tournament. Our pitching is not nearly as deep on this team, but that is the only difference. This is a strong junior class and SSHS will be a hard team to beat next year."

The Reed Raiders weren't ignored by fellow HDL coaches.

Senior Casey Yocom, a four-year starter, capped his final season as the team's ace and one of its best hitters and was rewarded with a first team selection.

Yocom was 4-4 on the mound with a 4.09 ERA. He struck out 72 batters in 49 2-3 innings. In the batter's box, Yocom hit .443 and finished with 16 doubles and a team-high .693 slugging percentage.

Joining Yocom on the first team were teammates senior Sam Petrie (outfield) and junior Derek Garcia (third base). Petrie led the Raiders with five home runs and drove in 28 RBIs with a .378 batting average, while Garcia hit .361 on the year and knocked in 19 RBIs.

"Derek Garcia is currently a junior and is going to have to fill the shoes of the seniors that are leaving," Reed coach Nick Royle said. "He is going to be someone that we are going to have to count on and has to step up to lead this team if we want to make a return to the postseason."

The HDL's all-second team was flooded with Purple and Teal. Five Cougars made the second team: Brandon Mathis (outfield), Humberto Espinoza (third base), Adam Miller (catcher), Garrett Moore (utility) and Davis Murphy (designated hitter).

Despite missing the first part of the season, Espinoza put up big numbers with a .434 batting average, four homers and 18 RBIs. Moore also hit over the .400 plateau and drove in 18 RBIs.

Mathis somewhat quietly was one of the team's biggest power threats, blasting four home runs and plating 23 RBIs.

Miller finished his high school career with a .364 batting average, three homers and 18 RBIs.

Murphy will be back next year after batting .373 with 11 RBIs.

Reed got two players onto the second team list.

First baseman Duran DiQuarto was second in the league with a .464 batting average and hit .437 overall with 26 RBIs. Outfielder Chris Hawthorne was solid in the field and wreaked havoc on the basepaths, swiping 18 bases in 20 attempts.

For the Cougars, Justin Agliolo (first base), Anthony Vierra (outfield) and Beau Hodge (pitcher) rounded out their all-league honorees as honorable mentions.

Fabian Reza (second base) and Ryan Butler (outfield) were the Blue and Gold's honorable mentions. Butler is the first freshman to make Reed's varsity since Yocom did it four years ago. Butler started in 26 of Reed's 29 games this spring.

"Casey Yocom, Sam Petrie, Duran DiQuarto, Chris Hawthorne, Fabian Reza were a big part of your team and everyday lineup they were the leaders of the team," Royle said. "They were the ones that we were going to have to lean on throughout the entire season to carry this team. These five guys are going to be missed in 2010, they are a special group of guys."

•In the 3A, Sparks took home five all-league awards, led by first team shortstop Joe Puccinelli and first tem outfielder Danny Monroe.

Puccinelli paced the Railroaders with a .433 batting average and had a team-high six triples and a .767 slugging percentage.

Monroe hit .382 and scored 26 runs, but he also drove in 23 of his own.

"They both played big roles in us getting back to the playoffs," Sparks coach Greg Vasko said. "And they're both really good kids."

First baseman James Justice was voted onto the second team, while catcher Kent Orta and outfielder Andrew Garcia were honorable mentions.

Justice (.311 BA) and Orta (.329) both led the team with three home runs. Orta had 26 RBIs and Justice had 21.

Garcia was second on the team with a .393 batting average but led the Maroon and Gold with 33 hits. He also came home to score 24 runs.

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