CCS Sophomore of the Year
NICK YORKE, SANTA CRUZ
Coming off a strong freshman campaign in which Nick Yorke had hit .370 and made an immediate impact as a top-notch middle infielder, there were certainly expectations for him to meet or surpass last year’s production. What he did was not only surpass his 2017 totals, but blow them out of the water, becoming one of the toughest outs in the Central Coast Section all season, and doing so consistently from day one until the Monarchs’ season was over.
The Mitty sophomore opened the year by hitting safely in his first four games, which included a home run and four doubles, and made clear the fact that he had added some pop to his already high average.
“An extra year of physicality to (Nick) made a huge difference,” said Mitty coach Brian Yocke. “He has tremendous knowledge of the game, more than a sophomore should have, but it’s his work ethic which is amazing. He got more muscular, and changed his physique.”
As play shifted into the WCAL, Yorke really started to make an impact. In an early close win against Riordan, the sophomore went 4-for-4 with a double and scored two of the Monarchs’ runs in a 3-2 win. During back-to-back wins over Bellarmine and Serra in March, he went a combined 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs, two runs scored, and reached base five times. But all of that was nothing compared to a five-game stretch in April where Yorke went 10-for-16 with six doubles, 11 RBIs, and 10 runs scored.
Even against teams where Yorke did not have as high a level of success, he still impressed the opposition.
“(Nick) was a guy we did not want to face with anyone on base,” said Valley Christian coach John Diatte, whose team won both the Hard 9 National Classic and the CCS Open Division. “He was one of the toughest outs we faced all year.”
After the outstanding production throughout the regular season, Yorke was honored as the West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year. But he had still a couple shining moments yet to come in the playoffs.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, facing Westmont in the first round of the Division II playoffs, the sophomore sparked the Monarchs with a double to get in scoring position, and then scored the game-winning run when his brother, junior Joe Yorke, singled to drive him home. In the quarterfinals against Burlingame, Nick went 2-for-3 with a run scored as Mitty downed the Panthers, 3-2.
All of it added up to a phenomenal line by the time the year was over. His numbers included a final batting average of .494, a whopping 18 doubles, 30 runs scored, and 22 RBIs. His final OPS of 1.387 was .472 better than his freshman year, when he had already begun to turn heads.
“It would have been easy for him to relax a bit after a great freshman year, but (Nick) took the same approach as his first year, and worked extremely hard to be a consistent factor,” Yocke said. “He has an unbelievable skill set, but he has also put so much dedication into his everyday work. He truly just loves this game.”
For his efforts throughout the season, we are pleased to recognize Nick Yorke as the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Sophomore of the Year.
Other players considered include Los Gatos’ Tommy Troy, Valley Christian’s Eddie Park, Leland’s Carson Yates, Saint Francis’ Gianluca Shinn, Soledad’s Ben Pajas, and Hillsdale’s Drew Aspillera.