Friday, June 22, 2012
San Diegans clean up as players of the year
By Mark Tennis & Paul Muyskens
Of the others who’ve been named by Cal-Hi Sports as a top state player in baseball, four are from the CIF San Diego Section.
In addition to Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year Ty Moore, congratulations also go out to our other state players of the year for juniors, sophomores, freshmen, medium schools and small schools.
Brett Seeburger (Vista)
A finalist for our overall Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year award, Seeburger earns the honor of junior of the year in a close race against Ryan Tellez of Elk Grove and Stephen Gonsalves of nearby Cathedral Catholic of San Diego.
In the CIF San Diego Section Division I final, Seeburger allowed just one hit in a win against Rancho Buena Vista that enabled the Panthers to finish as the top-ranked team in the state. On the year, he went 9-1 with two saves and had a 0.71 ERA. He also struck out 97 batters in 78.2 innings. At the plate, Seeburger was among the team leaders with a .355 batting average. He also had 16 RBis. He has committed to Oregon.
The last San Diego player to be State Junior of the Year was Sean O’Sullivan from Valhalla of El Cajon in 2004.
Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego)
Last year's State Freshman of the Year defended his title – and then some -- as the top Class of 2014 player. Jackson also was the only sophomore to earn all-San Diego Section first team honors after hitting a reported state-best 17 home runs this season.
On the year, Jackson also hit .400 with 36 runs batted in while scoring 37 times. His power at the plate also saw him get pitched inside and 11 times he earned a trip down to first after being hit by the pitch.
With Jackson’s selection, Rancho Bernardo coach Sam Blalock has now had the State Sophomore of the Year five times. His first was Billy Beane in 1978 when he was at Mt. Carmel of San Diego. Beane, the current general manager of the Oakland Athletics, was followed by three from Rancho Bernardo: Jaime Jones (1993), Tom Caple (1997) and John Drennen (2003).
Jagger Rusconi (West Ranch, Valencia)
After hitting a team-best .415, Rusconi was named West Ranch’s Offensive Player of the Year. It was a team that won the title in the rugged Foothill League, too, and in the playoffs reached the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals.
Rusconi had an important two-run double when West Ranch beat Lutheran of Orange 5-4 in the quarterfinals. At the time, Orange Lutheran had a shot to be No. 1 in the state and nation.
The first-team all-league pick also drove in 27 runs for the season, scored 34 times and stole 19 bases. In his best game of the season, Rusconi went 4-for-5 with a home run and five runs batted in during a 14-2 win over Golden Valley.
In 2008, crosstown rival Valencia had the state freshman of the year, Christian Lopes, who later played at Edison of Huntington Beach.
Troy Conyers (El Capitan, Lakeside)
Conyers was edged out as the medium schools and junior player of the year for 2011 by Bishop Amat’s Rio Ruiz. A blood clot ended the season early for Ruiz, but Conyers was already in the midst of an outstanding senior season.
Although Ty Moore of Mater Dei and Luke Eubank of Newbury Park were the primary two finalists for Mr. Baseball, Conyers was not far behind. He was named the CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year for a second straight season after leading El Capitan to the Division III title game. Conyers batted .394 with five homers and 26 RBIs. He also went 9-2 on the mound with a 1.02 ERA and whiffed 131 batters in 82 innings.
In his prep career, Conyers was a four-year pitching ace, broke a school record with 313 strikeouts and played on two Team USA summer squads that won gold medals in international competition.
The last medium schools’ player of the year from San Diego was Ryan Wilkins of Cathedral Catholic in 2009.
Nolan Gannon (Santa Fe Christian, Solana Beach)
Opponents had a tough time putting the ball in play against this talented right-handed pitcher as the Eagles captured the CIF San Diego Section Division IV championship. They also finished 28-5 and were No. 2 in the final Division IV state rankings.
On the mound, Gannon went 9-1 with a 0.82 ERA and struck out 127 batters in 77 innings while recording at least 13 strikeouts in each of his final three starts. At the plate, he hit .301 with five home runs and 26 RBIs.
Gannon has already signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after being selected in the fourth round of the MLB Draft. He earned this honor in a close call over Freddy Avis from Menlo School of Atherton and John Davis from Woodcrest Christian of Riverside.
There have been only four State Small Schools Player of the Year picks from the San Diego Section since 1960, but all four are somewhat recent. The other three are Nick Noonan of Francis Parker (2007), Brian Schroeder of El Cajon Christian (2003) and Ben Cordova from Marian Catholic (1998).
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