Aptos High senior Gabe Gaeckle has been busy this summer, recently playing in Florida and Georgia with the Alpha Prime travel baseball team based out of California. (contributed)

APTOS—To say that Aptos High senior Gabe Gaeckle has been busy this summer is a real understatement. 

The Mariners’ baseball standout recently played in Florida and Georgia with the Alpha Prime travel baseball team based out of California. 

“The weather was a little different but it’s always fun playing out there,” he said. “It’s a lot of new competition, so that was always good.” 

This weekend the young ace pitcher will compete in the Area Code Games on the Oakland Athletics regional team at the University of San Diego on Aug. 6-11.

The 5-foot, 11-inch, 185-pound right-hander will get to showcase his skills in front of all 30 Major League Baseball teams and several NCAA coaches. 

“I did it last year at the underclassman game, so that was always fun,” he said. “You get to play against a lot of competition from all around the country. So that’ll be a good event and it’s a great one to get exposure.”

Aptos baseball coach Jason Biancardi said it’s great to see Gaeckle playing with some of the best players in the country. Biancardi said not only is Gaeckle holding himself pretty well, but he’s making a name for himself amongst all the college coaches and MLB scouts.

“It’s pretty cool to see his hard work paying off,” Biancardi said. “A lot of possibilities out there right now for Gabe.”

Biancardi said it’s also a great experience for Gaeckle to travel around the United States and see what the country has to offer. 

“He loves the game,” Biancardi said. “I feel like you have to love the game for it to take up your whole summer … it sounds like he’s having the time of his life.” 

Gaeckle was named Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League MVP after he shined at the plate and on the mound for the Mariners, who qualified for the Central Coast Section Division I playoffs. Gaeckle finished with a 4-0 record in 11 appearances—five starts—on the mound. He had a 1.03 earned run average, giving up 13 runs—six earned—on 21 hits while compiling 92 strikeouts in 40 and 2/3 innings pitched this season. 

He batted a .373 average (31-of-83) with a team-best five home runs, seven doubles, 24 RBI and scored 31 runs for the Mariners this season.

Impressively, he reached those heights one year after undergoing Tommy John surgery to fix a torn ligament in his elbow. It typically takes several years for the elbow to completely heal.

“It’s a big deal to have surgery and to see him put the work in and for it to pay off, and to not only come out of it the same but a better pitcher, it’s pretty exciting,” Biancardi said.

Gaeckle will continue to stay busy during the offseason after he was selected to compete in Perfect Game’s 20th All-American Classic in Phoenix on Aug. 28.

He said this particular game is significant because Perfect Game partners with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“That’ll be pretty special to be able to raise money and be able to interact with those kids down at the Phoenix hospital,” he said.

Gaeckle’s goal is to raise $5,000 to help grant wishes for children battling illness. Those interested in donating money can do so on his profile page on the Perfect Game’s website.

Gaeckle was also recently named to the 40-man 2022 18U National Team Training Camp roster.

The 18U National Team Training Camp will be held on Aug. 29-Sept. 2 at the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. 

According to USA Baseball’s website, the final 20-man 18U National Team roster will be named Sept. 2. They will then compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup on Sept. 9-18 in Bradenton and Sarasota, Fla.

These are also the first steps for him getting situated into either a collegiate or professional career.

Gaeckle, who recently de-committed from UCLA, said every event he participates in will benefit him, but it also depends how he performs. 

“I’ve been doing pretty good this summer, so it’s just kind of building the resume of getting all of these events done and trying to compete as best as I can,” he said. “I’ll let it play out. Obviously I’ll try to get drafted as high as possible but if that doesn’t work out then college will be the route and I’ll go from there.”

Gaeckle now has his eyes set on either the University of Arkansas or Texas A&M, which were two of eight teams that qualified for this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series.

He’s going to take the next couple of weeks to think about it and should have a decision soon. 

“Either place will be a great fit,” Gaeckle said.

Aptos High senior Gabe Gaeckle was recently named to the 40-man 2022 18U National Team Training Camp. The camp will be held on Aug. 29-Sept. 2 at the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. roster. (contributed)
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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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