By Jeremy Balan
In high school baseball, the most valuable players on any given team are those who are as effective on the mound as they are at the plate.
No other player exemplified that combination, at the highest level of play, like Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Chris Miguel. That’s why he’s the SanFranPreps.com Player of the Year.
Although his numbers were slightly deflated due to some late-season struggles, the 5-foot-9, 215-pound junior played the role of ace and slugger with equal effectiveness.
“He is clearly our most important player, because he’s not one-dimensional,” said Sacred Heart head coach Brian Morgan. “We set the whole season up around him, because he’s experienced and not intimidated by anyone. He’s a great player to build around, and that he’ll be around another year is just a bonus.”
On the mound, he had a 2.56 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 71 innings, many of which came in the cutthroat West Catholic Athletic League. Miguel had a 7-4 record, three saves and four complete games, and never went less than five innings in any start this season.
When he wasn’t pitching, Miguel manned first base and was a cornerstone in the middle of the Sacred Heart lineup, hitting .345 and leading the Irish in RBIs (26), extra-base hits (12), home runs (2), on-base percentage (.515) and slugging percentage (.592).
Miguel is not alone in this multidimensional respect. Five other players on the All-City first team had solid all-around years.
Academic Athletic Association Player of the Year Dane Vande Guchte from Washington received some consideration for our top honor, with a .427 batting average, 26 RBIs and five home runs to go along with a 1.94 ERA.
A pair of seniors from International also carried quite a load for the Jaguars. Ace Clay Bloszies may have been the best pitcher in the City this year, with a 1.34 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 68 innings, but he also hit .371. Not to be outdone, fellow International captain Brian Benavides hit .487 with a team-high 34 RBIs and a staggering 24 extra-base hits in just 26 games, to go along with a 1.94 ERA.
Stuart Hall’s Ben Carrasco, the only sophomore on the first team, was also a dominant force on the mound, tallying 93 strikeouts and a 1.68 ERA in 71 innings, to go along with a .403 batting average.
Those players were the dual-threat standouts all year, but there was a diamond in the rough of sorts on an Urban team in a down year. Senior Gabe Howden hit a staggering .581 and got on base in nearly two-thirds of his at bats for the Blues, and was also their top starting pitcher with a 3.73 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 35 innings.
Rounding out the first team are a group of highly talented WCAL players who just happen to focus on hitting or pitching, rather than both. St. Ignatius junior starting pitcher Collin Monsour completed a tough WCAL season with a 2.98 ERA, and senior outfielder Kevin Barker buoyed the Wildcats’ lineup with a .351 average and 18 stolen bases.
Riordan also earned two first-team selections in seniors Ramiro Alvarez (.352 average) and A.J. Santiago (.400 average), and Sacred Heart’s Dominic Defiesta (.431 average) rounds out the top selections.
Player of the Year
Chris Miguel, junior pitcher/first baseman, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Ramiro Alvarez, senior catcher, Riordan
Kevin Barker, senior outfielder, St. Ignatius
Brian Benavides, senior shortstop, International
Clay Bloszies, senior pitcher, International
Ben Carrasco, sophomore pitcher, Stuart Hall
Dominic Defiesta, senior second baseman, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Gabe Howden, senior outfielder, Urban
Collin Monsour, junior pitcher, St. Ignatius
A.J. Santiago, senior second baseman, Riordan
Dane Vande Guchte, junior pitcher/shortstop, Washington
Andy Glickfeld, sophomore outfielder, Lowell
Adam Goldstein, senior pitcher, St. Ignatius
Chris Hau, sophomore pitcher, Washington
Alex Kozakiewicz, senior catcher, Washington
Lucas Long, junior shortstop, Stuart Hall
Ismael Orozco, junior shortstop, Riordan
Christian Pulusian, senior outfielder, Balboa
Benny Sosnick, senior catcher, Jewish Community
T.J. Najera, senior pitcher, Stuart Hall
Nick Zatopa, junior catcher, Waldorf
Dustin Andrick, senior pitcher, Galileo
Alex Asadorian, junior ouftielder, Stuart Hall
Fletcher Bagden, senior outfielder, Jordan
Danny Baldocchi, senior first baseman, Lick-Wilmerding
Marcus Blacksher, senior first baseman, Marshall
Connor Bottom, senior catcher, Stuart Hall
Julius Cedeno, senior shortstop, Wallenberg
Nick Corson, junior pitcher, Lick-Wilmerding
Sean Donovan, junior pitcher, Riordan
Gabe Flores, senior shortstop, Drew
Maurice Fuller, senior outfielder, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Daniel Galvez, senior pitcher, Gateway
Remfel Ganal, junior outfielder, Lincoln
Jacob Gleason, senior pitcher/catcher, Lowell
Cristofer Gomez, sophomore shortstop, O’Connell
Tevin Goodwin, junior outfielder, Sacred Heart Cathedral
David Johnson, senior shortstop, Mission
Edward King, senior first baseman, Lowell
Jack Klein, sophomore outfielder, St. Ignatius
Matt Krook, sophomore infielder, St. Ignatius
Carlos Loeza, senior pitcher, Lincoln
Michael Li, junior catcher, Balboa
Jordan Malik, junior pitcher, International
Johnny Mrlik, senior pitcher, St. Ignatius
Lucas Peck, senior outfielder, Bay
Luke Pappas, senior second baseman, St. Ignatius
Javon Phillips, junior second baseman, Washington
Elijah Saunders, sophomore third baseman, Lowell
Evan Schwarzenbach, senior shortstop, Waldorf
Peter Schwarzenbach, senior pitcher, Waldorf
Eli Smoot, freshman third baseman, Balboa
Nick Tam, junior pitcher, Lowell
Avery Velasco, junior first baseman, Washington
C.J. Wong, senior infielder, Lincoln
Jeremy Wong, sophomore outfielder, Balboa
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