ON THE DIAMOND: The Central California Conference was loaded with individual talent this year, but Daulton Jefferies stood out as the lone player who could carry his team both offensively and as a pitcher and was named the league's MVP. He hit .423 with 15 extra-base hits and walked 22 times. On the mound, he went 10-2 with a 0.92 ERA, had 10 complete games in 11 starts and struck out 141 batters in 83º innings.
On top of the numbers, Jefferies stood out as a team leader, guiding the young Thunder to a 10-5 CCC record and a deep run into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs.
"Our team wasn't projected to be in the playoffs," Jefferies said. "We were young and lost all the talented seniors from the year before. But we dedicated ourselves to winning this year and I'm proud of what we did."
"He's definitely a leader by example," said Buhach Colony coach Greg Wakefield. "He did a lot for us on the field and had a work ethic at practice that rubbed off on his teammates. He made everybody around him better, not only on game day but by being able to practice with him."
OFF THE DIAMOND: Jefferies played only baseball in high school, choosing to specialize in the family sport. Big brother Jake Jefferies is a catcher in the Marlins organization with Triple-A New Orleans and an uncle, Blas Minor, pitched in the major leagues for six seasons. He's named after former Phillies and Marlins catcher Darren Daulton because his mom went to a game and thought Daulton was cute.
"I played football and basketball until by freshman year," Jefferies said. "I can't gain a pound to save my life so I didn't want to get hurt. All those football guys are bigger than me. Even if I wanted to play those sports there was no time for football or basketball."
Jefferies graduated with a 3.87 GPA and earned advanced placement certificates in five subjects.
LOOKING AHEAD: Jefferies committed last summer to accept a baseball scholarship from the University of California. He wanted a program that would allow him to both pitch and play infield, and the Bears agreed to allow him to work at those spots.
He's already playing in a summer college league, which runs through Aug. 12, then leaves for Berkeley on Aug. 29.
QUOTABLE: "In his case, I don't think it mattered that he didn't play other sports. You look at some guys and see how playing other sports help them. But his competitiveness in baseball was there every day, and he got better every day he played and practiced, both physically and mentally." Greg Wakefield, Buhach Colony coach.
For a photo gallery of all The Bee's spring All-District Athletes of the Year, go to modbee.com/photos