Davis Cop named Foothill League Player of the Year, JD Callahan is Pitcher of the Year

Valencia's Davis Cop hits a double in the fourth inning against West Ranch earlier this season. Dan Watson/The Signal

Valencia’s Davis Cop and West Ranch’s JD Callahan have been playing against each other since their days in Pony baseball. As their playing careers go on, though, the similarities between the two are increasing.

Cop was named the Foothill League Player of the Year and Callahan the Foothill League Pitcher of the Year for the 2019 season. On top of that, they’re both headed to the University of California, Santa Barbara to continue their baseball careers.

“It’s going to be cool,” Cop said. “Being able to play against him for so long, you obviously get to see him play a lot. He’s really competitive, works hard on the mound, so I’m excited. Good guy to have on your team and not have on the other team.”

The two have reached a high level of baseball in different ways. Cop is a dual-sport athlete who carried lessons he learned in football to baseball and vice versa, while Callahan has been locked in on baseball, pitching particularly, since the Pinto level.

West Ranch senior pitcher JD Callahan fires home in a Foothill League matchup with Valencia at West Ranch High School earlier this season. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Now, Callahan has clocked an 89 mph pitch at Throwzone Academy and he says he’s gotten even more velocity in games.

“I started working with (Throwzone coach) Jim Wagner when I was eight or nine and went on from there. I developed into one of the better pitchers at my age, went through kind of a spell in seventh or eighth grade when I was super tall and my body was kind of weird and lanky, but going into high school, I threw pretty hard and I went up from there.”

In addition to playing third base for the Vikings, who claimed this year’s Foothill League title, Cop was also the starting quarterback. Cop, along with teammate Mitchell Torres and Cade Erickson, earned Foothill League honors in both football and baseball.

More than any physical skill, Cop says that competing in two sports has helped him develop the mental side of his game more than anything else.

“Dealing with the failure,” Cop said of what he’s learned. “Baseball is a game of failure more than football, but at quarterback, you’re going to have bad plays, bad passes and being able to bounce back and make adjustments is something that carried over. It’s really helped me a lot in both sports.”

Valencia’s Davis Cop slides safe under Saugus third baseman Anthony Ramirez as Cop steals third base against Saugus in a Foothill League game earlier this year. Dan Watson/The Signal

Torres, Tyler Robitaille and Brock Kleszcz represented Valencia on the All-Foothill League first team. Canyon’s Noah Blythe and Charles Harrison as well as Saugus’ Bobby Garcia, Hewitt Grissom and Nolan Kutcher all made First Team. For West Ranch, Garret Monheim, Cade Nicol and Nicholas Perez each made the cut.

West Ranch had three players on Second Team with Trent Bird, Jovan Camacho and Ryan Camacho. Kyle Barileau and Parker Simonian were on Second Team for Valencia and Pat Arman and David Holuby represented Hart. Saugus’ Jarrett Farmer and Tony Jacob were also on the list along with Golden Valley’s Bryson James and Canyon’s Tyler DeYoung.

Honorable mention included Conrad Meza (Canyon), Dylan Daszek (Golden Valley), Ryan Benz (Hart), Brandyn Cruz (Saugus), Erickson (Valencia) and Sam Callan (West Ranch).

As both Cop and Callahan intend to contribute to UCSB’s winning tradition (the Gauchos are currently 38-7 and on a seven-game win streak), they each know that Foothill League baseball has prepared them well for the next step.

“Always strive to be the best, it’s a really competitive valley, there’s six teams who can compete every single year and there’s a lot of people out there watching,” Callahan said of his advice to those entering the league. “Always take care of your business and try and lead your team to a league title.”

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