By Ryan Menzie
For The Signal
Foothill League baseball came to a close with the West Ranch Wildcats and Hart Indians leading the list of young athletes to make the all-league team. The Indians also are the only team in the Foothill League to have players make the All-CIF Division 3 Southern Section team.
The Indians finished with three players on the All-CIF team and six players on the all-league first team. Seniors Massimo Vega and Malachi Soqui and junior Matt Quintanar made the team under head coach Jim Ozella.
Ozella said he was proud of the hard work the boys have put in all season, and he looks forward to next year’s team being provided with leadership from the returning players. including Quintanar taking home Player of the Year Honors and Vega taking home co-Pitcher of the Year honors on the All-League team.
“It’s a very exciting thing to be a part of and all three were deserving of their nominations,” said Ozella. “‘All three had an outstanding season. I’m proud of those guys. It’s based on their hard work despite the challenging year and season. They stepped up throughout the year and I’m really proud of them.”
Quintanar, along with making the All-CIF team, took home Player of the Year honors in the Foothill League. Quintanar was honored to make the list but wishes he and the team could have gone further in the CIF playoffs.
“It’s an honor to make the team. I worked pretty hard and showed out,” said Quintanar. “I want to win and bring home another league championship next season. Hopefully, CIF, as well, and keep working on being the best teammate possible.”
Like Quintanar, Vega also brought home honors for the Foothill League, winning co-Pitcher of the Year for the Indians. Vega plans to continue with his collegiate career at Metropolitan State University, Denver.
“I was pretty pumped to make the (All-Foothill League) team. I didn’t know if I had a shot at getting it because it’s just a variety of great players,” said Vega. “I really worked hard this last summer, I wanted to go out with a bang out of high school. If there is one message I could give to my team, it would be to never quit.”
The Wildcats finished the season with four players on the all-league first team, including senior Scott Bauman, a Tyler Skaggs all-star game nominee, who finished with Co-Pitcher of the Year honors. The first team also includes juniors Jake Callahan and Blake Schroeder and senior Trey Topping, another Tyler Skaggs all-star game nominee.
Wildcats head coach Ryan Lindgreen expressed much joy knowing the amount of work his team put in this season and had their efforts shown for it on the team. Lindgreen held little back when mentioning all his players who made both all-league teams.
“Starting with Scott. What a remarkable year he’s had. Every big moment we’ve had he came through for us, beginning to end. Trey was the heart and soul of the team from catchphrases and low line drives. He turned in an amazing year,” said Lindgreen. “Jake anchored shortstop for us and was amazing at the plate. Jake went the entire league season without a strikeout. Blake hit .500 on the entire season. Whenever we needed a big hit, he was there to spray the ball all over the field. All were difference-makers from beginning to the end.”
Bauman attributes his success to all the hard work he put into the gym this season and focusing on his mechanics a lot more with the help of his coach, Jim Wagner.
“It was an amazing feeling to find out to make the all-league team and be co-pitcher of the year. It was a big honor,” said Bauman. “I worked really hard to get to where I am right now. I can finally be proud of myself for all the stuff I’ve achieved so far. I hope to get better as time goes on.”
The Valencia Vikings had two players make all the all-league first team. Senior Kaden Brennan and junior Scotty Pieper led the Vikings for head coach Mike Killinger. Brennan plans to play next season at Cal Lutheran University while Pieper will look to run it back next season for the Vikings in hope of the league title and a deep run in the CIF playoffs. Killinger is proud of his boys’ accomplishments and values the experience the team got going into next season.
“Every year, we go into the season hoping players get recognized in the end. Kaden had 21 stolen bases, which is one away from the school record, and Scotty was the leader in the outfield,” said Killinger. “This season was very difficult. We graduated a majority of the team during the first COVID season. It was super important for the kids to get the experience they got. The players having the varsity system under their belt was very important and, hopefully, they can show the up and comers what varsity baseball is all about.”
The Saugus Centurions finish off the list of first-team all-league players with one player, junior Colin Yeaman, making the team. Head coach Carl Grissom understands the sky’s the limit for Yeaman and hopes the team seeing players make it to the all-league teams is motivating for the hard work they can put in next season.
“It really is all on the players. I just try to put them in the position where they are successful,” said Grissom. “There is nothing I can do to make them great. They are usually the first ones here and the last ones to leave. If you put in the work you’re going to be rewarded.”
Yeaman feels the hard work paid off seeing his name on the final list of players. Yeaman also attributes his success on the field to his teammates for pushing him to work as hard as possible.
“I think all the progress I made this offseason was to get experience in clutch situations,” said Yeaman. “I want to be more aggressive but not too aggressive. Coach wants us to push each other next season and for us to work hard together. It felt good being on the team and I can’t thank my coaches and teammates enough for pushing me.”