Blake LaRiviere, high school baseball games in scotts valley california, scotts valley falcons, santa cruz county baseball games
Scotts Valley High senior Blake LaRiviere was lights out on the mound for the Falcons during the 2024 season. LaRiviere was named the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League's Most Valuable Player by coaches within the league. (Juan Reyes/Press Banner)

Blake LaRiviere had the initial plan of playing for both the Scotts Valley High football and baseball teams to close out his senior year with a bang. Instead, he decided to opt out of the football season so he could focus on baseball and develop physically.

It was a tough decision for LaRiviere, but ultimately it became the best one he ever made.

Following an exceptional season on the diamond, the Falcons star baseball player was recognized as the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League’s Most Valuable Player for the 2024 campaign.

“We just had a great season as a team and it means a lot to get that award, it’s just amazing,” he said.

The Falcons finished with a 17-8 overall record and were runner-up in the SCCAL with a 10-5 record in league play, closing out the regular season on a nine-game win streak. They earned the No. 4 seed in the Central Coast Section Division IV playoffs and advanced to the semifinals by beating No. 5 Willow Glen in the opening round.

LaRiviere was a stud on the mound, finishing with a 4-1 overall record in 10 appearances. He had a 2.36 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings pitched for the Falcons, according to statistics on the MaxPreps website.

Aptos High senior Jorden Espinoza took home the SCCAL’s Pitcher of the Year award following an outstanding season. He finished with a 6-2 overall record in 12 appearances, and had a 2.91 ERA with 106 strikeouts and 60 walks in 55 1/3 innings pitched.

Aptos coach Jason Biancardi said Espinoza was doing great in the beginning of the year, but he was also giving up a lot of walks and lasting just four or five innings per game. 

As the year progressed, so did Espinoza—a Texas Tech commit—who began taking off a little bit of his fastball and not just trying to throw strikes. 

The hard-throwing lefty had back-to-back solid starts beginning with a 15 strikeout, complete game performance in a 5-1 victory over Harbor High on April 30. Then he was one out away from a complete game in a 9-3 win against Santa Cruz High on May 7.  

That’s when Biancardi and his coaching staff saw Espinoza pitching at a peak performance. The Mariners went on to capture the SCCAL crown with a 10-4-1 record in league action this season. 

“[Espinoza] became more of a pitcher as the year went on, and instead of trying to strike everybody out he was working on throwing his off speed,” Biancardi said. “Not worrying so much about striking guys out, just trying to limit the pitches so he can go further in the game.” 

Apart from being Scotts Valley’s ace pitcher, LaRiviere also had stellar glove play as Scotts Valley’s first baseman. He accounted for 59 putouts and seven assists with just four errors in 70 total chances.

LaRiviere also solidified himself in the No. 6 spot in the batting lineup. He batted a .329 average (26-for-79) with two home runs, one triple, eight doubles, 19 runs scored, 17 RBIs and six stolen bases.

“[LaRiviere] was at the top, he was our leader,” Scotts Valley head coach Sean Coyne said. “He led with his arm and his bat.”

Coyne said it was a unanimous decision amongst the coaches and he was stoked for his star player, especially after all the hard work he put in during the 2023 summer.

Coyne was named the SCCAL’s Coach of the Year by his peers within the league. Biancardi nominated Coyne, which then became a unanimous vote by the rest of the roundtable of coaches. 

“He’s a good guy, he’s retiring and every game before the game, he never took it too seriously,” Biancardi said. “I’m like, ‘I think you deserve to get a nod just for your team being in the top-two in the league and just being a good dude.”

Coyne told the Pajaronian he was stepping down from his position following a 3-0 loss to Homestead on May 22, making this award that much more significant.

“It’s pretty special being that it’s my last year. I’m going out on top, we had a really good season,” Coyne said. “It’s pretty special being recognized by your peers.”

2024 All-SCCAL Baseball

Individual Awards

Player of the Year: Blake LaRiviere (Sr.), Scotts Valley

Pitcher of the Year: Jorden Espinoza (Sr.), Aptos

Coach of the Year: Sean Coyne, Scotts Valley

First Team

Matt Hood (Aptos), outfielder, Sr.

Isaiah Work (Aptos), infielder, Jr.

Cole McGillicuddy (Aptos), utility/designated hitter, Fr.

Carlos Cruz (Harbor), infielder, Sr.

Cole McCombs (Harbor), pitcher, Jr.

Jaden Shabry (San Lorenzo Valley), infielder, Jr.

Nick Bogomilsky (Santa Cruz), outfielder, Sr.

Kaden Smith (Santa Cruz), catcher, Sr.

Damos Deworken (Santa Cruz), infielder, Jr.

Morgan Toohey (Santa Cruz), pitcher, Jr.

Jack Sanders (Scotts Valley), outfielder, Sr.

Second Team

Edward Peters (Aptos), infielder, Sr.

Jake Fiorenza (Harbor), infielder, Sr.

Cam Fusari (Santa Cruz), outfielder, So.

Jake Abel (Scotts Valley), catcher, Sr.

Colin Melrose (Scotts Valley), pitcher, Sr.

Quinn Turowski (Scotts Valley), infielder, Sr.

Gabe Virgalito (Soquel), infielder, Jr.

Brady Downs (Soquel), outfielder, So.

Jake Escalante (Soquel), outfielder, So.

Dylan Hull (Soquel), pitcher, So.

Honorable Mention

Josiah McKenzie (Aptos), Sr.

Jack Reed (Aptos), Sr.

Colin Karwick (Harbor), Sr.

Ferris Vitali (Harbor), Sr.

Anthony Griffis (SLV), Sr. 

Cody Houston (SLV), Sr.

Emmet Desmond (Santa Cruz), Sr. 

Fernando Dacosta (Santa Cruz), Jr.

Corbin Giesen (Scotts Valley), Sr.

Kaleb Wing (Scotts Valley), Jr.

CJ Clayton (Soquel), Sr.

Cash Moren (Soquel), So.

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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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