Santiago Cantu has been named the Western Athletic Conference MVP for a second straight year.
The senior shortstop/pitcher earned the league’s top individual award despite a considerable drop in production from his junior season.
Cantu was The Bee’s All-District Player of the Year in 2016, when he was the most dynamic player in the Stanislaus District. He ranked among the area’s leaders in hitting (.562, four home runs) and pitching (9-0. 0.39, four complete games).
This season, Cantu cooled off, but WAC coaches still saw the value in the San Jose State recruit.
Cantu hit .373 in 26 games with 24 runs and nine doubles for the Tigers, who missed the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason. The Tigers lost to Livingston on the regular season’s final day, affording the conference’s No. 3 seed to the Wolves.
Cantu, who struck out a season-high 10 in that game, was also 1-3 in 12 appearances with a 1.62 ERA and one save.
Kody Cardoza was the Pitcher of the Year and Pat Fuentes Coach of the Year after guiding Los Banos to its first league title in 23 years. The Tigers finished 13-2 and were the No. 1 seed in the Division IV playoffs.
Ceres senior Ricky Lopez was the Offensive Player of the Year. Lopez hit .462 with 24 runs, 42 hits, 30 RBI and 12 doubles. He ranked among the league leaders in average (second), slugging percentage (first), RBI (second), runs (fifth) and on-base percentage (second).
The all-WAC first team included: Ceres pitcher Adrian Magdaleno, junior; Ceres catcher Blane Abeyta, senior; Los Banos second baseman Trent Mallonee, sophomore; Livingston shortstop Cesar Avila, sophomore; Ceres third baseman Dalton Durossette, freshman; Patterson infielder Alonzo Rios, senior; Los Banos utility Josh Gomes, senior; Ceres outfielder Ismael Ontiveros, senior; Patterson outfielder Carlos Martel, senior.
Members of the second team include: Pacheco pitcher Steven Domanski, senior; Los Banos catcher Michael Chavarria, senior; Patterson first baseman Jacob Ferreira, senior; Ceres second baseman Zach Kommavong, senior; Central Valley shortstop Alex Solis, sophomore; Ceres utility Brock DeWitt, sophomore; Pacheco utility Diego Reynoso, senior; Los Banos outfielder Trey Augustine, junior; Livingston outfielder Sergio Torres, junior; Pacheco outfielder Aric Barton, junior.
Softball title to signing party: It doesn’t get much better than this for Ripon Christian’s Katie O’Leary, who will follow a Sac-Joaquin Section championship with a signing celebration.
O’Leary led the Ripon Christian softball team to the Division VII section title on Wednesday. The top-seeded Knights defeated Stone Ridge Christian, 13-3.
On Friday, O’Leary will join two classmates during a signing celebration in the school gymnasium.
O’Leary is signing with Brown University.
Carly Eastham and Hannabeth Magnussen will sign with Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Eastham will play volleyball for the Knights, while Magnussen will pursue diving.
Another Hawk takes flight: Central Valley soccer player Angel Lopez has committed to Cal State Bernandino. He signed his letter of intent during a celebration in the school gymnasium on Tuesday.