ALL-NORTH COAST SECTION
Player of the Year
CULLEN KAFKA, DE LA SALLE
By NATE SMITH
To dethrone the defending Division I champions, someone was going to have to go through not only De La Salle, but ace pitcher Cullen Kafka. That didn’t happen, as Kafka dominated opposing hitters, and led the Spartans to back-to-back section titles.
The Oregon bound hurler displayed strong velocity, with an ability to pitch in the low 90’s and locate the fastball where he wanted, to go with an above-average slider that kept hitters on their toes all season. For the year, Kafka posted an 11-1 record with a 1.15 ERA, but those numbers are far from telling the entire story.
In the playoffs, De La Salle used its ace in three of its four playoff games, including both games during the second week of action. After allowing just three hits while striking out 12 in a first-round win over Granada – who had beaten the Spartans twice during the regular season – Kafka pitched the Spartans past both College Park and Monte Vista.
Due to a strong showing from the offense, the 6-foot-3 right-hander needed to throw just four innings in a 9-1 win over College Park, once again allowing just three hits while striking out six. Having thrown just 55 pitches, Kafka then came back again in the championship game against the Mustangs, throwing the first six innings before reaching his weekly limit. This time, he struck out eight and scattered six hits, leaving the Spartans in a position to capture the section championship.
“(Cullen) was a rock all year for us,” said De La Salle coach David Jeans. “Our guys knew they had a great chance to win a game with him on the mound.”
His performances late in the season came on the heels of a tremendous regular season, one which resulted in Kafka receiving MVP honors for the East Bay Athletic League. His early performances included a five-hit, eight-strikeout win over eventual Sac-Joaquin champion Elk Grove, a one-hit performance against Sac-Joaquin semifinalist St. Mary’s-Stockton, and a pair of dominant wins over San Ramon Valley, who won the EBAL tournament.
Kafka pitched two of his four complete games in the wins over San Ramon Valley, striking out 23 batters in the two games combined. For the season, he struck out an eye-popping 98 batters in 73 innings pitched, while issuing just 17 free passes. His control on the mound reflected his role on the team.
“He is probably the most polished pitcher that I have ever coached,” Jeans said. “But the best thing about Cullen is his steady personality. He never put himself above the team.”
For his performances on the mound, and leading his team to its second straight NCS Division I title, Cullen Kafka is our 2017 Prep2Prep Player of the Year.
Other players considered include Spencer Torkelson of Casa Grande and Nick Roth of Drake
Coach of the Year
ERIC ANDERSON, ARROYO
Eric Anderson is Prep2Prep's NCS Coach of the Year.
By NATE SMITH
Having built a perennial power among the WACC-Foothill Division teams, Eric Anderson took his Arroyo team to the next level this season, knocking off Casa Grande in the Division II title game for the program’s first-ever North Coast Section title.
After winning the regular season Foothill Division title for the third straight year, the Dons received the third seed in the Division II playoff bracket. From there, Arroyo rode the age-old adage of defense and pitching to the section title, shutting out Concord, Alameda, and Tamalpais to reach the championship game. There, the Dons handled the pressure of big stage, scoring six runs despite just five hits to prevail over the top-seeded Gauchos and hang the first banner in program history.
“This was a very experienced team, with eight seniors among our nine starters,” Anderson said. “We had three goals at the start of the season, to win the Elite Eight tournament, win the WACC-Foothill for the third straight year, and to win NCS.”
Having not advanced past the quarterfinals since an appearance in the 2008 3A East Bay title game, the Dons entered this season certainly among the favorites for another league title, but also off the radar among section title contenders. That changed after Arroyo erased a 0-2 start with a 1-0 win over last year’s Division II champion, Livermore. That win sparked a 12-game unbeaten streak, which included a pair of wins over Alameda and ended with a split against Berkeley.
Following the loss to Berkeley in the second game of the series, the Dons got themselves even higher on the section and region radar, winning the Elite Eight Tournament at Saint Francis, taking down eventual Sac-Joaquin Division I semifinalist St. Mary’s-Stockton in the title game.
After a surprising loss to Bishop O’Dowd, Arroyo showed its mettle with a four-game winning streak to secure the WACC-Foothill regular season title. The Dons did not capture the league tournament title, falling to Alameda for the first time in three games, but they won the bigger prize in the next meeting with Alameda a week later, taking down the Hornets for the third time in the year to advance to the section semifinals.
“We had a lot of confidence down the stretch, especially after beating St. Mary’s at the Elite Eight,” Anderson said. “We were really ready for that fourth game against Alameda, and the St. Mary’s game gave us a lot of confidence in the championship against Casa Grande.”
With a 22-6-1 overall record this year, Anderson is ready to hit another milestone, presumably early next season. He now has 191 wins as head coach for the Dons, in just 11 years at the helm. Arroyo has now reached the 20-win plateau three times during his tenure, and has posted winning records in 10 of his 11 seasons. But none of them had ended with the thrill of a dogpile on the mound in the final game, until this year.
“Playing in this program for the past four years was a challenge, because we don’t have days off. We put all our efforts into each practice to make sure we were prepared for each game,” said Arroyo catcher Bryan Rosario. “Coach Anderson reviewed each team with me and each hitter we were going to face, and always knew what needed to be called to keep us one step ahead. I will always remember playing with this awesome group of guys and being able to be coached by the best coaching staff possible.”
For ascending his program to the elite among the section, Eric Anderson is our 2017 Prep2Prep Coach of the Year.
Other coaches considered for this award include De La Salle’s David Jeans, Drake’s Will Mosley, Miramonte’s Vince Dell’Aquila, and Ferndale’s Justin Andersen.
FIRST TEAM ALL-NCS
James Biles, Clayton Valley
The top pitcher in the DAL-Foothill, Biles had a dominant senior season, going 11-0 with a 0.49 ERA for the Ugly Eagles. Nine of his 13 starts went the distance, including seven complete-game shutouts and a no-hitter against Tokay in March.
Ryan McLaughlin, Drake
Named the Most Valuable Pitcher in the MCAL, McLaughlin posted a sparkling 9-1 record with a 0.45 ERA for the Pirates, including a complete game eight-strikeout performance against Miramonte for the NCS Division III title. The one earned run he allowed against Miramonte was the only one in his last eight starts.
Chris Troye, Heritage
The first-team BVAL selection is headed to UC Santa Barbara next season, and is regarded as one of the top defensive catchers in the state. Troye did drive in 15 runs at the plate, and slugged a pair of mammoth home runs this season, including one that hit a school building in a playoff win over Amador Valley. But the Baseball Factory/Under Armour All-American is more known for his defensive prowess, and he had 15 assists this season behind the dish.
Casey Armusewicz, Marin Catholic
The MVP of the MCAL, Armusewicz hit .397 for the Wildcats while also turning seven doubles plays from his shortstop position. He also committed just one error in his last 23 games, including flawless handling of all 10 chances in a 19-inning marathon against Drake.
Osiris Johnson, Encinal
The Cal State Fullerton commit was named MVP of the WACC-Shoreline this year, leading the Jets with a .481 batting average with five home runs and 18 total extra-base hits. He also stole 20 bases, had 27 RBI, and 33 runs scored, while turning eight double plays.
Spencer Torkelson, Casa Grande
The Arizona State-bound Torkelson obliterated opposing pitching for the fourth straight year on the varsity level, batting .481 with seven home runs, 43 RBI, and 41 runs scored. The dual-sport standout also walked 27 times for an amazing .612 on-base percentage and 1.547 OPS.
The Stanford commit and co-MVP of the EBAL went 7-1 with a 1.38 ERA, striking out 76 batters in 61 innings pitched, and holding opposing hitters to a .197 batting average. He also hit .321 with 26 RBI, and did not commit an error in the games where he was playing first base.
Nick Roth, Drake
Roth earned first-team MCAL honors at two different positions, as both a pitcher and an infielder. On the mound, the senior went 9-3 with a 0.78 ERA, striking out 92 batters in 81 innings pitched, with seven complete games. At the plate, he hit .348 with 17 RBI and 13 stolen bases for the MCAL and NCS Division III champs.
SECOND TEAM ALL-NCS
Tim Tague, Miramonte
The co-MVP in the DAL-Valley, Tague is an all-section pick in football and baseball after leading the Matadors with a 13-0 record on the mound, sporting a 0.81 ERA, as Miramonte won its first 27 games and reached the Division III championship. He also hit .368 at the plate.
Brian Tan, Arroyo
Tan, a first-team WACC-Foothill selection, got it done on the mound and at the plate for Arroyo this season, but especially down the stretch. He did not allow an earned run in his last five appearances on the mound, including a complete game two-hit shutout over Tamalpais in the Division II semifinals. Tan finished the year 8-2 with a 1.01 ERA and 60 strikeouts. He also hit .365 with 16 RBI.
Antonio Triest-Escobar, Berkeley
Triest-Escobar was unbeatable on the mound for the Yellowjackets, compiling a 9-0 record with a 1.10 ERA, including a victory over Acalanes in the first round of the Division I playoffs. The first-team WACC-Foothill selection notched 57 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched.
Chris Rogan, Northgate
The first-team DAL-Foothill selection, who has been receiving interest from numerous Pac-12 schools, hit .405 with nine doubles and two home runs to lead the Broncos. That included 13 hits during a torrid six-game stretch late in the season.
Danny Marzo, Petaluma
The first-team SCL selection was a difficult out in every at-bat, hitting .479 with 44 total hits and 12 stolen bases. Even more impressive was the fact he struck out just twice all season long. For good measure, he posted a 2.53 ERA in 12 appearances on the mound, notching 41 strikeouts.
Seth Salter, Freedom
The BVAL MVP, Salter led the Falcons on the mound and at the plate, hitting .383 and leading the team in hits, RBI, and extra-base hits. He also stole nine bases, and on the mound went 7-3 with a 1.14 ERA, including a win over Foothill in the first round of the Division I playoffs.
THIRD TEAM ALL-NCS
Carson Snyder (Sonoma Valley), Logan Barrick (Kelseyville), Devin Kirby (Ukiah), Chris Joaquim (Casa Grande), Josh Candau (Acalanes), Clark Eder (California), Alex Williams (Redwood Christian)
Marc Goulart (Moreau Catholic), Jared Wilson (Amador Valley), Jason Moran (Cardinal Newman)
AJ Miller (Casa Grande), Bryan Woo (Alameda), Boston Hubbard (Monte Vista), Logan Cole (Livermore), Keaton Bates (Analy), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (College Park), Bill Ralston (Clayton Valley), Jake Cosgrove (Heritage)
John Green (Casa Grande), Anthony Gaskins (Berkeley), Nikoh Mitchell (Hayward), Jared Hirigoyen (Terra Linda), Tyler Chesney (St. Patrick-St. Vincent), London Penland (Castro Valley)
Hunter Hennigh (St. Joseph Notre Dame), Garrison Finck (St. Bernard’s), Ethan Fischel (Eureka), Sam Liang (Miramonte), Dalton Bowling (Kennedy-Fremont), Bubba Gomez (Fremont Christian), Will Blackburn (Monte Vista)
Daniel Kim, Nick Berry, Tyler Ewing
Josh Meadows, Max Nyrop, Sam Wettergren
Cody Sim, Owen Cooper
Cole Gifford, Jordyn Eglite
Mitch Benson, Nick Proctor, George Briggs
Mason Snodgrass, Jeff Pearson
Koby Williams, RJ McDowell
Adrian Padilla, Josh Romero
Michael Dixon, Max Burdock
Cody Nisbet, Zach Chalmers
CALIFORNIA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF:
Michael Hooper, Matt Mead
Beau Barrington, Vinny Tosti
Max Cerini, Hance Smith
Joe Carvalho, Cole Coffey
Doug Bermudez, Matt Freeman, Justin Roper
Braeden Gowdy, Kellen Kozlowski, Ian MacIver
Ryan Parisi, Ryan Babin, Josh Gutierrez
DE LA SALLE:
Gio Mijares, Gabe Giosso, Austin Elder
Matt Jew, Jesse Barron
Jensen Yamane, Owen Hamilton, Eamonn Lance
Zach Rivera, Sam Gilliam
Mychael Jamison, Sawyer Whitney, Ricky Salas
Henry Canalin, Sandeep Mahl
Malachi Pratton, Aiden Morris
Nate Hansen, Landon Gomes
Jeremy Lea, Adam Jue
Kyle Wise, Neko Capsiliaris, Kevin Lonergan
Chris Roessler, Anthony Lemas
Aaron Pischke, Jr.
Tyler Stultz, AJ McMillan, Cameron Geyer
Moises Gomez, Raymond Davis
Walker Brinkman, Gio Diaz
Cal Bridges, Tim Stevenson, Tristan Hess
Jeffrey Elizarrey, Christian Horton
Josh Shifflett, Keith Hale
Clayton Westrope, Ben Kerling
LIVERMORE VALLEY CHARTER:
Alexander Gow, Timmy Stabler
Raymond Rabago, Dominic Riggio, Patrick Gavin
Taylor Bentley, Jack Harris
Casey McGonigle, Nick Foster, Nolan Brown
Turner Olson, Josh White, Andrew Howard
Alex Pham, Jacob George
Miguel Delfin, Arnold Hernandez
Nico Zeglin, Kevin Clancy, Nick Krauth
Logan Douglas, Danny Marzo, Kempton Brandis
Carson Gerhardy, Matthias Haggerty
Dominic Pipkin, Daniel Sanchez, Robert Swanson
Christian Blevins, Trey Turner
Dane Goodman, Nicolas Belgum
RINCON VALLEY CHRISTIAN:
Miles Williams, Spencer Helvig
Jerick Romer, Aaron Johnson
SAN RAMON VALLEY:
Jack Watson, Michael Theisen, Jake Bennett
Colton Mertens, Shane O’Malley
ST. JOSEPH NOTRE DAME:
Breyden Casucci, Lane Thrap
ST. PATRICK-ST. VINCENT:
Fred Seto, Tavian Henderson
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL:
Ethan Rapoport, Michael Davis
Owen Hackel, Achilles Arnold
Zach Parella, Mikey Thompkins
Ryan Leake, Nick Kennison, Will Muir
Joe Brazil, Karter Koch
Charley Moore, Max Fisher
Taghi Amundson, Alex Hoskins-Frame
Jake Serpa, Sam Braun
Patrick Tappin, Tanner Kane