The epilogue to Chase Farrell’s Valencia High baseball career held true to its overarching narrative.
“I think what I take away the most (from high school ball) is that you can’t give up,” Farrell said Tuesday. “You’ve got to grind. Even if you don’t think you’re in the spot you want to be, at the freshman or JV level, you have to use that as motivation to work your way up. And when you get to where you think is the top, that’s where you have to say, ‘That’s not it’ and keep working hard and pushing hard.”
Farrell didn’t blow people away as a freshman or sophomore.
Even his varsity debut as a junior was more solid than spectacular.
Still, Farrell put in the work and trusted the process, and the reward was a dominant senior season in which he posted a 1.43 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings en route to All-SCV Baseball Player of the Year honors.
But, like he said, this isn’t it.
He knows that at UCLA he’s once again the guy at the bottom, a whole lot of work standing between him and where he wants to be.
“I’ll never walk in as the best guy,” Farrell said. “I’ll have to earn that.”
In 2017, Farrell earned the respect not only of his league but of his section and, to an extent, the nation.
Farrell was named the Foothill League’s Pitcher of the Year after he struck out 50 batters in 50 league innings. He then went on to earn All-CIF Division 1 honors and second-team All-American honors, according to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
“He came in as a junior and he was good and he overpowered people at times,” said Valencia coach Mike Killinger. “Something switched over the course of the summer and the fall and instead of trying to pitch around people, he went after everyone and the results showed a great change.”
Last month, the Houston Astros selected Farrell in the 40th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
It was an honor, Farrell said, but he never really expected to be drafted high enough to forgo playing at UCLA.
“College is so much more important to me at this point in time,” Farrell said. “My dream is to play pro ball, be a big leaguer, but right now I still have work to do.”
Any worries that a poor showing at UCLA might mean not being drafted, again?
“Not at all,” Farrell said.
The way Farrell sees it, if in three years he isn’t good enough to be drafted, he wouldn’t have made it now anyway.
He’s confident, though, that if he continues to put in the work and trust the process, that won’t be a problem.
So, not wasting any time, he’s been lifting with his teammates-to-be at UCLA at 6:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday, along with taking sociology and geography classes.
The process begins anew.
All-SCV First Team
Jovan Camacho, West Ranch, sophomore
The sophomore sensation put up All-SCV Player of the Year type numbers. It’s hard to believe he won’t be in the mix for the award the next two years. Camacho hit .452 with an on-base percentage over .500. He stole 12 bases on 16 tries and scored 32 runs.
Brandyn Cruz, Saugus, sophomore
Cruz went 19 for his last 35 at the plate this season to end the year with an average of .422. He posted seven extra-base hits in all, with 22 RBIs. On the mound, the precocious lefty owned a 3.39 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings.
Trace Eldridge, Valencia, senior
After two strong seasons on the Vikings varsity team, Eldridge had a stellar finale at the plate as a senior. The shortstop hit .474 with 16 extra-base hits and 19 RBIs. He posted an on-base percentage of .571 and a slugging percentage of .736.
Ben Fariss, Valencia, senior
Arm soreness limited the 2016 All-SCV Player of the Year’s impact on the mound in 2017, but Fariss was still a two-way factor. He hit .368 with a team-high five home runs and 33 RBIs. He posted a 3.43 ERA in 32 2/3 innings, earning the win in Valencia’s Foothill-title sealing win over West Ranch on May 11.
Brendan Henry, Hart, senior
This is not by any measure a flashy pick. Henry was a grinder. But he was about as reliable a player as you’ll find. The senior hit .325 with 26 RBIs, and he owned a 2.71 ERA, according to MaxPreps, in 31 innings of side-arming work. He had four saves on the year.
Timmy Josten, West Ranch, senior
In three varsity seasons, Josten never posted an ERA over 2.80. He set a new personal best for strikeouts in 2017 with 70 in 71 innings. A master of control, he only walked 18 in that span. He went 8-4 overall with a 2.56 ERA.
Cole Roederer, Hart, junior
No one was better at doing an above average amount of everything in 2017. Roederer hit .353 with 28 RBIs, 31 runs scored and 26 steals. He hit four home runs and eight doubles while covering large swaths of grass in center field.
Christos Stefanos, West Ranch, junior
The Foothill League Player of the Year drove in a team-high 28 runs while rattling off 14 extra-base hits this season. Stefanos also made a seamless transition from third base to catcher for Foothill League runner-up West Ranch. We may even see him on the mound in 2018.
Lukas White, Valencia, junior
White flew under the radar to begin the year, but he became a major factor in the Vikings’ second-straight league title, both with his arm and his bat. White hit .344 with 22 RBIs, and he owned a 2.92 ERA in 36 innings.
All-SCV Second Team
Jake Biscailuz, Valencia, junior
The catcher who worked with the Foothill League Pitcher of the Year, Biscailuz also had an impact at the plate. The junior batted .337 with two home runs and 14 RBIs.
Alex Burge, West Ranch, junior
Burge quietly emerged as one of the Foothill League’s best arms this year. The lefty posted a 2.72 ERA in 56 2/3 innings. He also went 10-for-32 at the plate with two homers.
Ryan Camacho, West Ranch, sophomore
Jovan’s identical twin, Ryan is hardly “the other” Camacho. Ryan hit .354 with eight extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. He scored 21 runs and stole five of six bases.
Will Chambers, West Ranch, junior
If there was a 10th spot on the first team, it likely would have gone to Chambers, who nearly matched Stefanos step for step in the heart of the Wildcats’ lineup. Chambers hit .392 with 24 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .525.
Bryce Collins, Hart, junior
Coming off a back injury that cost him a portion of the 2016 season, Collins built steam as the season progressed. He ended 2017 with a 2.32 ERA in 57 1/3 innings, striking out 55.
Cody Jefferis, Hart, junior
As Jefferis went, so did Hart’s offense. And in 2017, that was a very good thing. Jefferis hit .381 and reached base more than 45 percent of the time. He stole 14 bases in 16 attempts.
Nolan Kutcher, Saugus, sophomore
The Centurions started the year slow offensively, but Kutcher was one of the guys who helped turn things in a better direction. He ended up with a .350 average and five extra-base hits.
Cody Minnis, Valencia, senior
Minnis came into his own during his second varsity season. The center fielder batted .371, scored 29 runs and stole 11 bases on 12 attempts.
Cody Turner, Hart, senior
Turner had far and away the best statistical season of his two-year varsity career in 2017. He owned a 1.93 ERA in 50 2/3 innings and went 6-3 on the year.
Canyon – Matt Serrano, senior
Golden Valley – Gio Chaidez, senior
Hart – Matt Elser, senior
Saugus – JC Choy, junior
Valencia – Tyler Erne, senior
West Ranch – Garrett Monheim, sophomore
Einstein – Sam Stulman, junior
SCCS – Noah Dent, senior
Trinity – Drew Pfeiffer, sophomore
SCVi – Vincent Leigsring