ALL-CENTRAL COAST SECTION
Player of the Year
PATRICK WICKLANDER, VALLEY CHRISTIAN
On the biggest stage of the year, senior pitcher Patrick Wicklander did exactly he was asked to do over and over during the 2018 season, delivering on the mound for Valley Christian. In his final high school appearance, the Arkansas-bound hurler stymied Los Gatos in the Open Division title game, allowing just four hits and no earned runs, while striking out seven, and leaving the game with a two-run lead.
Before high school baseball instituted a 110-pitch count a couple years ago, Wicklander would have never left that game, according to Valley Christian coach John Diatte. The young left-hander agreed.
“In big games, I want that responsibility, and I love the atmosphere,” Wicklander said. “I tell my coach not to take me out of any situation, to just ride with me.”
The Warriors had no choice but to lift Wicklander after he had thrown 108 pitches in six innings against the Wildcats, so he was not the pitcher of record after Los Gatos tied the game in the top of the seventh. He did, however, get to walk off the field for the last time as a back-to-back section champion when the Warriors pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh to wear the crown, which met Wicklander’s ultimate standard for each start.
“My mindset does not vary much from start to start,” Wicklander said. “My whole goal is don’t give up runs, and just put my team in position to win the game.”
Wicklander’s dominance in the title game capped a year in which few opposing hitters enjoyed making contact against his pitches. For the season, he held opponents to a .123 batting average, and struck out a school-record 102 batters in 76 innings pitched. There were plenty of memorable performances along the way.
In early March, facing three-time defending SJS champion Elk Grove, Wicklander was at his best, striking out 12 in an eight-inning, no-hit performance, allowing just one walk. Less than a month later, Servite-Anaheim was the next team to go down without a hit against the elite lefty. Wicklander had to come out after five and two-thirds innings against the Friars, at the Hard 9 National Classic in Fullerton, but turned heads during his stint that day, striking out nine in the victory before he reached his pitch limit.
The real head-turner came eight days later, however, facing Riordan in the Warriors’ return to WCAL play. Wicklander put up one of the top performances all year in the CCS, in any sport, striking out a whopping 18 batters and walking just one in a dominant no-hit performance.
“You don’t expect that kind of performance until around the third or fourth inning, and it’s actually happening,” Wicklander recalled. “Elk Grove was a special one, because they are always so good and it’s a lot of fun to face them. Riordan was a must-win for us. We had just gotten back from Southern California, and Eddie (Park) gave us what we needed at the plate in the first inning, which let me just go out there and throw.”
Despite allowing just five earned runs combined and striking out 16 batters, Wicklander suffered a few blemishes on his overall won-loss record with two low-scoring games against Serra and another against Saint Francis, two of the losses coming by one run each. But he was not to be denied as the season progressed into the Open Division playoffs, where he delivered two phenomenal starts to cap an amazing four-year career.
In the quarterfinals against Sacred Heart Prep, in a matchup against Georgetown-bound Angelo Tonas, Wicklander was purely dominant and efficient, needing just 66 pitches in a seven-strikeout, one-hit performance, which carried the Warriors to an 8-0 victory. After that came the title game against Los Gatos, in which the only thing stopping him was a pitch limit.
For the year, Wicklander finished with a 7-3 record and 1.57 ERA. In seven different outings, opponents had one hit or fewer against the dominant left-hander. On three other occasions, he allowed just two hits. As a four-year starter for Valley Christian, he posted 26 wins, a career 1.34 ERA, and a staggering 350 strikeouts, in fewer than 300 innings pitched.
“(Patrick) is certainly at the top of guys who have had the best stuff here. On any given day, against any opponent, he can go out and throw a no-hitter,” Diatte added. “His body of work is the greatest we have ever had.”
For his efforts throughout the season, we are pleased to recognize Patrick Wicklander as the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Player of the Year.
Other players considered include Mitty’s Nick Yorke, Saint Francis’ Ryan Jeffries, Mitty’s Josh Seward, and Palo Alto’s Niko Lillios.
Coach of the Year
JOHN DIATTE, VALLEY CHRISTIAN
Plenty has been said and written about the challenge of staying on top. After leading Valley Christian to a 22-win season and the CCS Open Division title in 2017, John Diatte understood there was a bulls-eye on his team’s back for the 2018 campaign. Despite that, the Warriors took on all comers, posted an astronomical 29 victories, and successfully defended their title from the previous season.
“We took the target and ran with it. It wasn’t easy. We knew that the more we won, the harder it was going to be,” Diatte said. “It’s a tough thing to play well every game, and we had to, because we were going to get everyone else’s best effort each time out.”
Diatte also made sure his team would be battle-tested heading into WCAL and CCS Open Division play. The early non-league schedule featured games against Los Gatos, Elk Grove, and Jesuit-Carmichael, late March showcased a game against eventual SCCAL champion Santa Cruz, and that was followed by a trip to the Hard 9 National Classic in Fullerton.
The four days in Southern California showcased the Warriors’ pitching depth, and ability to win close games against elite competition, as they swept Servite-Anaheim, Corona, Cypress, and Mission Viejo. All four teams would go on to win at least 19 games, playing in the rugged Southern Section. As a result of Valley Christian’s run through that tournament, the bulls-eye got only bigger, along with the internal and external expectations.
“Trying to win on talent alone is tough, but these guys were great teammates. Practices and games were so fun because of their approach,” Diatte said. “Repeating our title was their goal, and they held each other accountable to that goal.”
Of course, being considered the top team in the state, and in some cases the nation, did not make the Warriors immune to hiccups during the year. A pair of losses to Serra in league play meant that the Padres were considered the regular-season WCAL champions, which left Valley Christian in the position of needing to win the league tournament to earn the title. After dispatching Riordan and Saint Francis in the first two rounds, the Warriors earned their banner with a 6-1 win over Serra in the championship game.
Following the win over Serra, two dominant victories against Sacred Heart Prep and San Benito put Valley Christian back in the Open Division title game, where they had held on to beat Serra in dramatic fashion the previous year. There would be no rematch this time, after Los Gatos eliminated the Padres in the semifinals, but there was every bit as much drama.
In nine previous trips to a CCS title game, Valley Christian had won seven of those games. The Warriors made it eight out of 10 this year, but the Wildcats made them sweat. Los Gatos tied the game at three in the top of the seventh, but a bases-loaded at-bat for junior Steven Zobac resulted in a hit-by-pitch, allowing Coleman Brigman to walk home with the winning run, a first for Diatte, who had previously won a title game on a passed ball. It was the final milestone in a year full of them.
During the year, Diatte earned his 600th win as a head coach, in his 29th year at the helm. He was quick to deflect any credit about that particular achievement.
“The kids made (getting to 600) easy for me. I don’t know why God chose me to get a great group of players like this. I’m the same guy that was 16-15 a couple years ago,” Diatte remarked. “These players made this a 29-3 season, and they made this a nationally elite team.”
From the perspective of the players, however, the coaching staff was every bit as instrumental to the team’s success.
“It has been a huge plus playing for Coach Diatte and this staff,” commented ace pitcher Patrick Wicklander. “They focus on us being better people off the field, and our practices are faster-paced and harder than the games we play in. We’re lucky. They make game-day feel like an easy flow.”
When asked about his chances to reach 700 wins, Diatte did not give the usual response of a long-time coach who scoffs at the notion of grinding through those extra years. Instead, his response showed just how much he enjoys what he does, and how this run for the Warriors is far from over, especially while he still also has a number of years left in the classroom for Valley Christian, where he has taught since 1985.
“I’ve had so many great coaches with me over the last 29 years, and I have a great staff right now,” Diatte said. “As long as I have these guys, and these types of players, I could maybe do this forever.”
For his efforts throughout this season, we are pleased to recognize John Diatte as the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Coach of the Year.
Other coaches considered include Serra’s Chris Houle, Los Gatos’ Nate Anderson, Palo Alto’s Pete Fukuhara, San Benito’s Billy Aviles, Willow Glen’s Sam Piraro, King’s Academy’s Greg Mugg, and Soledad’s Damien Ryan.
FIRST TEAM ALL-CCS
Patrick Wicklander, Valley Christian
Wicklander capped what was one of the most dominant four-year pitching careers in the section, striking out a whopping 102 batters in 76 innings pitched, a new record at Valley Christian. His regular season performances including an eight-inning no-hit, 12-strikeout performance against SJS powerhouse Elk Grove and an 18-strikeout no-hitter against Riordan. And the Arkansas commit was sparkling in the post-season, shutting out Sacred Heart Prep on one hit, and exiting the title game against Los Gatos having allowed just four hits and no earned runs in six innings.
Josh Seward, Archbishop Mitty
The WCAL Pitcher of the Year was unbeaten through the regular season, and finished the year with 10 wins and an ERA below 1.00. Seward went the distance on five different occasions, including a four-hit shutout against Serra and a remarkable eight-inning, 10-strikeout shutout against Westmont in the first round of the Division II playoffs.
Kevin Pence, Valley Christian
Likely the best ‘pitch-to-contact’ hurler in the section, Pence compiled a perfect 9-0 record on the mound with a 0.89 ERA, and the Warriors won every game he appeared in. That included a no-hitter against Mitty in early March, a four-hit performance in the WCAL title game victory over Serra, and a three-hit shutout performance against San Benito in the Open Division semifinals.
Nathan Peng, Saratoga
The SCVAL-El Camino MVP did everything for the Falcons this season, slugging 12 home runs with a .524 batting average and 40 RBIs, while also stealing 14 bases. Defensively, the UC Davis-bound Peng was either the rock behind the plate or on the mound, where he had a 7-1 record with a 1.88 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched
Ricky Martinez, Saint Francis
The Baylor commit hit .394 for the Lancers, with two home runs and five doubles, and struck out just three times all season, while walking 11 times for a .471 on-base percentage. During the team’s run to the section title, Martinez had five hits, three RBIs, and scored three times in the playoffs, and played error-free defense over the last 11 games of the year.
Max Jung-Goldberg, Palo Alto
The six-foot shortstop, who is headed to the University of San Diego next year was the heart of the Vikings’ defense, and also hit .356 with a whopping 13 doubles, 31 runs scored, and 25 RBIs. The senior also notched 12 stolen bases and turned 11 double plays.
Nick Yorke, Mitty
It was a phenomenal sophomore season for the WCAL Player of the Year, who batted .494 with a whopping 18 doubles and 30 runs scored. Throw in his 13 walks at the plate, and Yorke compiled a .590 on-base percentage with a 1.387 OPS for the year.
Coleman Brigman, Valley Christian
The first-team All-WCAL selection and verbal commit to Santa Clara hit .376 for the Warriors with two home runs, two triples, eight doubles, and a team-high 31 runs scored. The speedy outfielder also notched 15 stolen bases, and added a pair of assists from the outfield.
Carson Yates, Leland
One of the top all-around rising sophomores in the section, Yates hit .451 for the Chargers, hitting safely in the final 18 games of the season. The 6-foot-3 dual-sport standout (football) added three home runs, 10 stolen bases, and 22 RBIs, while committing just two errors all year.
Niko Lillios, Palo Alto
The MVP of the SCVAL-De Anza, Lillios hit .386 with two home runs, nine doubles, and 25 stolen bases for the Vikings, while also posting a 5-2 record with a 2.71 ERA on the mound, throwing four complete games. His only losses came to Serra and SJS powerhouse Davis.
Ryan Jeffries, Saint Francis
The first-team All-WCAL selection hit .435 with two home runs, eight doubles, and 17 RBI, while also excelling from the left side on the mound. He was 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA, including a win over Pioneer in the Division II quarterfinals and a victorious nine-strikeout performance against Soledad in the CCS title game. Jeffries will play at Santa Clara next year.
SECOND TEAM ALL-CCS
Sam Stoutenborough, Palma
The first-team MBL-Gabilan selection and Cal commit should have had a better overall record than his 4-3 mark, especially with a 1.00 ERA. He struck out 86 batters in 63 innings pitched, and twice went eight innings without allowing an earned run, only to receive a no-decision in both outings.
Mitchell Scott, Serra
Scott compiled a 7-1 record with a 1.57 ERA for the Padres, and it was what he did against top competition which was especially impressive. Valley Christian lost just three games all year, and Scott was on the mound for two of those losses, allowing just seven hits in those two starts, including a four-hit, nine-strikeout shutout performance in the second meeting. He also blanked Palo Alto early in the year, and pitched Serra past Bellarmine in the WCAL semifinals, striking out nine in a 2-1 victory, and also stymied Willow Glen in the Open Division quarterfinals.
Davis Miller, Willow Glen
The MVP of the BVAL-Mt. Hamilton, Miller led the Rams with his quality performances on the mound, where he finished the year with a 9-2 record and a 1.74 ERA, including a hard-fought loss to Serra in the Open Division quarterfinals. The Puget Sound commit struck out 62 batters, while walking just 11, and for good measure hit .342 with 21 RBIs and did not commit an error in the field.
Albert Hsiao, Leland
Hsiao missed nearly two months after tearing his PCL, and battled the injury throughout the year, but the Washington-bound catcher still managed to hit .409 with a home run, five doubles, and 14 RBIs, in just 18 games played.
Cameron Barstad, Serra
The sixth-round draft pick of the Marlins was surely on pace for a phenomenal season, and a first-team selection, before his year ended early due to injury, cut short in mid-April. Prior to that, Barstad was hitting .422 with two home runs, five doubles, and 19 RBIs – season-long totals for most players. And he did not commit an error during the year.
Javier Felix, Santa Cruz
The SCCAL Player of the Year hit .410 with three home runs, six doubles, seven stolen bases, and 26 runs scored for the league champion Cardinals. Felix also hit safely in six of the final seven games, and committed just two errors all year in the field.
Tyler Williams, Los Gatos
The first-team SCVAL-De Anza selection hit .358 with six doubles and 23 RBIs for the Wildcats, including back-to-back multi-hit performances in Open Division playoff wins over Palo Alto and Serra. He also went 7-2 with a 1.61 ERA, throwing four complete games.
Michael Carnazzo, Monterey
The first-team MBL-Gabilan selection hit .447 for the Toreadores with two home runs, two triples, and 31 runs scored. Carnazzo also walked 15 times for a .539 on-base percentage, and had 12 stolen bases, while turning six double plays in the middle infield.
Mason Marquez, San Benito
The speedy shortstop was named the MVP of the MBL-Gabilan after leading the Balers to a league title before advancing to the Open Division semifinals. Marquez had a whopping 24 hits in the last 14 games, including multi-hit games in both playoff outings.
Eddie Park, Valley Christian
The first-team All-WCAL selection continued on his path as a rising star for the Warriors, hitting .376 with five doubles and 17 RBIs, while playing error-free baseball all season. Park also drew 21 walks to finish with a .500 on-base percentage, and had 11 stolen bases. For good measure, he went 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA on the mound.
Alex Reelfs, Los Altos
The 6-foot-6 four-year standout was a hard-luck loser on the mound in five straight starts during the season, which explains his 9-6 overall record, but his 2.23 ERA, six complete games, and 79 strikeouts speak volumes, as does the fact that the Santa Clara-bound Reelfs won his last three starts over Alisal, Mountain View, and Bellarmine – all in the post-season – to lead the Eagles to the Division I championship. The first-team SCVAL-De Anza selection also hit .343 with six doubles and 15 RBIs.
Jaxon Skidmore, Hillsdale
The PAL-Bay Player of the Year hit .406 with eight doubles, 17 RBIs, and 12 walks, which gave him a .500 on-base percentage. Skidmore also struck out just four times all season, and posted a 5-1 record on the mound, with a 1.62 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched.
THIRD TEAM ALL-CCS
Angelo Tonas (Sacred Heart Prep), Michael Mitchell (Bellarmine), Luke Short (Los Gatos), Andru Holguin (Soledad), Clayton Ray (Santa Cruz), Erik Peterson (King’s Academy), Ryan Platero (San Benito), Austin Tremelling (Westmont)
Ryan Belluomini (Valley Christian), Michael Dixson (Homestead)
Nick Marinconz (Valley Christian), Nathan Martorella (Salinas), Connor Henriques (Bellarmine), Ryan Higgins (Saint Francis), Ben Pajas (Soledad), Tristan Silveira (Mountain View), Joey Costantino (Willow Glen)
Keshawn Ogans (Sacred Heart Cathedral), Jonah Advincula (Mitty), Garret Laine (Monte Vista Christian), Jake De Fiore (Westmont), Robbie Hamchuk (Leigh)
Mason Mooney (Pioneer), Jordan Brandenburg (Carlmont), Nick Lopez (Serra), Chase Watkins (St. Francis-Watsonville), Adam Henriques (Lincoln)
Sal Lopez, Josiah Ramos
ALMA HEIGHTS CHRISTIAN:
Angel Rodriguez, Javier Rodriguez
Elliot Biagini, Samir Hussain
Miguel Cebedo, Jared Reupert
Michael Altman, Matthew Calhoun
Wes Harper, Josh Mollerus, Joe Ammirato
Emilio Flores, Carlo Lopiccolo
Leo Espinoza, Max Stines
Mitchell Plane, Trey Zahursky, David Bedrosian
Dylan Houpt, Kevin Cook
Jonathan Newman, Sean Straub
CRYSTAL SPRINGS UPLAND:
Justin Johnson, Owen Hugill
Norman Leon, Saul Alva
Alex Benavides, Sergio Sanchez
HALF MOON BAY:
Alex Smith, Dawson Campbell
Will Garratt, Thomas Karpishin
Curran Ozawa-Burns, Max Soria
Justin Silva, Tristan Almeida
Rudy Rivera, Luke Mar
Clay Barbree, Cedrick Perez
Tyler Mead, Mitch Dowd
Trevor Johannes, Justin Kuhns
Enzo Filangeri, Gus Murphy
Zach Fuchs, Ryan Baum
Trevor Allen, Thomas Moore
Martin Thurman, Johnson Ku
Austin Brown, Kobe Fowler
Chris Anderson, Josh Huang
Tyler Woo, Jared Norris
NORTH MONTEREY COUNTY:
Jacob Ngo, James Stuart
Justin Heyn, Hunter Hanes
Dominic Scattini, Vince Flores
Josh Kasevich, Nathan Willis, James Roake
Josh Beck, Nathan Gomes
Bo Fick, Jackson Haun
Jonathan Teschner, Ian Torpey
Kam Dulay, Isaiah Tilton
SACRED HEART CATHEDREAL:
Frank Marcon, Matt Palomino, Erik Ochoa
SACRED HEART PREP:
Josh Pakola, Gianluca Shinn
Ryan Jameson, Jordan Yager
SAN LORENZO VALLEY:
Anthony Karagiannopoulos, Miles Houser, GJ Hill
Matt Jacobs, Robert Scott
Jack Damelio, Drew Dowd
Eddie Verzosa, Edward Leglu
Christopher Villarreal, Aaron Rodriguez
Ryan Murtha, Nate Werdmuller
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO:
Ryan De La Fuente
ST. FRANCIS SCP:
Derric Estrada-Haro, CJ Gomez
Jack Dyke, Jack Thomson
Daniel Garrett, Ben Mudd
Nate Gordon, Cole Sowryda
THE KING'S ACADEMY:
Tyler Farnham, Chris Boccignone
Xavier Selway, Justin Corr
Dawson Brigman, Steven Zobac
Gio Gonzalez, Ryan Rivera
Jarrett Chapman, Asahi Sato
Sal Munoz, AJ Santamaria
Max Moreno, Owen Crevelt