Five locals were recently named to the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League’s First Team by the baseball coaches from around the seven-team league.
Aptos High seniors Jake Keaschall and Tate Stone-Hinds and junior Forrest Hays joined St. Francis High juniors Chase Watkins and Derric Estrada-Haro on the 11-player First Team.
Keaschall, Stone-Hinds and Hays guided the Mariners back to the Central Coast Section playoffs for the second straight season. Aptos finished fourth in the SCCAL with a 5-7 league record.
According to the stats kept on MaxPreps, Keaschall, an athletic catcher and shortstop, led the Mariners in scored runs (29), doubles (12), triples (2) and stolen bases (24) — he was caught stealing only once — and was second in batting average (.429) and hits (33). His best outing of the season came in a 20-12 win over Harbor High in which he went 3-for-6 with a triple, a double, five RBIs and two scored runs.
Stone-Hinds, a speedy second baseman, hit .371, was second on the team in scored runs (25), stolen bases (15) and RBIs (18) and he also finished fourth in hits (26) while clubbing four doubles.
Hays, meanwhile, led the team in batting average (.500), hits (34) and RBIs (23), while hitting five doubles, a triple and a homer. The powerful outfielder also saw time on the mound, earning three wins in 11 appearances and holding a 2.77 earned run average over 30 1/3 innings pitched.
Watkins, a 6-foot-4 left-handed pitcher, and Estrada-Haro, a sure-handed catcher with a cannon, helped St. Francis finish the league season with a pair of wins, which qualified the Sharks for the CCS playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. St. Francis finished 14-14 overall and 6-6 in league play. The Sharks advanced to the CCS Division II semifinals.
San Lorenzo Valley High became the SCCAL’s first outright champion in five years by winning its last six games and the Cougars also swept the league’s major awards.
Shane Sutcliffe won Coach of the Year, senior Tanner Murray was named the Player of the Year and senior Matt Robustelli earned Pitcher of the Year honors.
St. Francis had two seniors make the league’s Second Team: pitcher Andrew Ciandro and first baseman Ruben Ibarra. Both four-year varsity players will play NCAA Division I baseball next season. Ciandro is heading to Cal State Bakersfield and Ibarra will stay close to home at San Jose State.
Four locals earned honorable mention: junior outfielder Brandon Moakler (St. Francis), junior infielder David Talavera (St. Francis), junior pitcher David Reckers and senior infielder Brian Sakoda.