High School Sports

Prep mail bag: Nominations roll in for best in baseball; CV Combine soon

St. Mary’s runner Zachary D'Esposito steals second base ahead of the throw to Los Banos second baseman Trent Mallonee during the Windemuth Easter Baseball Tournament at Davis High School in Modesto, Calif., on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
St. Mary’s runner Zachary D'Esposito steals second base ahead of the throw to Los Banos second baseman Trent Mallonee during the Windemuth Easter Baseball Tournament at Davis High School in Modesto, Calif., on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. aalfaro@modbee.com

As expected, the baseball watch list I published last week raised some eye brows across the Stanislaus District.

No one openly disagreed with the selections, but a few readers took the time to write persuasive emails, asking me to consider their favorite players – Los Banos’ Trent Mallonee and Gregori’s Colton MacCaughtry – for the top sophomore and junior awards.

I’m glad they did.

MacCaughtry has enjoyed a breakout junior season, but the tall first baseman is often overshadowed by a deep senior class. A closer reveals he ranks among the team leaders in runs, hits, extra-base hits and RBIs.

Mallonee might be the best all-around talent in the Western Athletic Conference, but plays on the outer edge of the Stanislaus District. Little of the Tigers’ championship season has been reported to The Bee or MaxPreps, and the one time I watched Los Banos, the bats were silenced by Modesto. On that day, he was easy for me to miss, but not any longer.

As always, I appreciate the feedback and messages. Keep them coming!

Baseball watch list

Must-watch sophomore

“Not to take anything away from the great year all of those you mention are having, there is a sophomore at Los Banos High School that is again tearing it up for his team: Trent Mallonee. Because Los Banos does not share statistics on MaxPreps, it’s not well known how well Trent is doing again this year. As like last year (as a freshman on varsity) he starts and plays wherever he is needed (this year primarily second base and center field) and bats in the lead off spot. His batting average is .427 with 14 stolen bases, 21 runs scored, 18 RBIs, 9 extra base hits, OBP .500. It’s been 23 years (1994) since Los Banos won a baseball league championship, which they have accomplished this year.”

– Lucy and Don Mallonee

“After reading your high school baseball article on May 4, 2017, I would have to disagree with you on the Sophomore Player of the Year. After watching many Los Banos baseball games this year, there is with out a doubt one player that stood out the most and well above all. That player would be Trent Mallonee, perhaps the best player on a very good Los Banos team. He is an everyday player, most likely the best hitter on the team and maybe even the best hitter in the league. He most likely leads the league in stolen bases as well, his defense is untouchable and I really don’t understand how you could have overlooked this player, except maybe you never went out to watch him play would be a reasonable assumption. I usually don’t comment on these type of things but credit should be given where credit is due. I am not taking anything away from your choice, but Mallonee is the complete ball player.”

– Ron Scanlon

Must-watch junior

“James, I want to say that I appreciate all you do for high school sports in our area. Referring to the baseball article, I wanted to bring up to you that Colton MacCaughtry (.397 average, 28 RBI, 12 extra-base hits) should be considered for junior of the year. I definitely appreciate you selecting his brother (A.J. MacCaughtry) as pitcher of the year, but just thought you should look into Colton stats too. Obviously, I am being very biased in that I am their father. Thanks again for all you do and look forward to seeing you in the postseason.”

– Tony MacCaughtry

Best in Show

Bulldog ace leads section in Ks

The Ceres High softball team won its fourth straight Western Athletic Conference crown, competing the title defense with an 8-2 victory over crosstown rival Central Valley.

Senior pitcher Callie Nunes struck out 18 against just one walk, rounding out her regular season with 260 punchouts, the second best total in the state. Nunes is 19-2 with a 0.48 ERA.

The Concordia University-bound righty leads the section in strikeouts and ERA amongst pitchers with at least 100 innings.

The Bulldogs will likely be a top seed when the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III tournament begins May 16. Ceres won the D-III crown last season in large part because of Nunes, who beat Pioneer, Oakdale and Benicia in a 24-hour stretch.

She’s all that

Hughson’s Mitchell has brains and brawn

Abigayle Mitchell is set for a memorable final month of high school.

The Hughson High senior rocks a 4.30 GPA and will be recognized as valedictorian at graduation. She’s also a member of the school’s National Life of an Athlete program, and she and her peers have been selected to lead a workshop at a national conference in New York.

While there, Mitchell will have the opportunity to train at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. She is one of the fastest runners in school history. A three-time Sac-Joaquin Section Masters qualifier, Mitchell holds five school records and the meet record in the 300-meter hurdles at the Bret Harte Invitational.

Last spring, she qualified for Masters in three events: the 100 and 300 hurdles, and 4x100 relay.

Mitchell has been accepted at Saint Mary’s College, where she’ll run cross country and track for the Gaels. She’ll celebrate the commitment during a signing ceremony Wednesday at the high school.

Save the date

Central Valley Combine

The Turlock Quarterback Club is hosting the inaugural Central Valley Combine on June 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Joe Debely Stadium.

The combine will test an athlete’s ability in the 40-yard sprint, broad jump, vertical jump, shuttle run, medicine ball throw, “L” drill and bench press in front of scouts from nationally-recognized recruiting agencies.

The cost is $30. All athletes will receive breakfast. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

The NCSA and Football University will also present recruiting tips and information. Parents and spectators will be charged $5 entrance fee.

For more information, contact Turlock High football coach James Peterson at jpeterson@turlock.k12.ca.us.

James Burns: 209-578-2150, @jburns1980