In the most important game of the year for the baseball teams from Santa Barbara High and Dos Pueblos, the respective coaching staffs turned to Gabe Speier and Jeff Paschke. With the Channel League title up for grabs, these two players led their teams into battle.
It was for good reason as Speier and Paschke dominated their league seasons during senior years before they continue on to play at Division 1 NCAA schools. Speier is headed to UCSB on scholarship and Paschke is an invited walk-on at USC.
Dos Pueblos won the game 8-2 to clinch the Channel League title outright from the second-place Dons. The Chargers loved having an ace like Speier to turn to in the big games.
“Having Gabe on the bump for us today was big,” said Chargers head coach Nick Katzenstein that day. “We didn’t want the ball to be in anybody else’s hands but a senior like that. He pitched exceptionally well today.”
Speier finished the season with 87 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings, winning five games and recording a save. The lefty’s fastball was routinely clocked in the low-to-mid 90s, an ability that attracted pro scouts to many of his starts this season. The Boston Red Sox made them their 19th-round draft pick last week.
While at the plate, Speier was equally dangerous with a .412 batting average.
Paschke pitched 44 innings for the Dons this season but made his presence felt most at the plate. The 6’4” right-handed hitter led the Dons with 41 hits, 28 RBI, and a slugging percentage of .606.
“He’s carrying us right now, I’ll tell ya,” Dons head coach Fred Warrecker said late in the league season.
Warrecker described Paschke as fearless at the plate, but it wasn’t without discipline as he didn’t strike out in Channel League games until the 12th and final contest.
“All year my approach is the same – very aggressive,” Paschke said. “Pretty much swing at anything in the strike zone. I’m just looking for anything to drive.”
Paschke finished the season with a .436 batting average and 60 assists playing mostly third base. His ERA stood at 2.39 as a pitcher.
The two All-City MVPs are joined by nine other All-City All-Stars selected from high school teams playing on the South Coast. The All-City Team will be honored on the field prior to Thursday’s Santa Barbara Foresters game, as well as in the Santa Barbara Sentinel that hits newspaper racks on Friday, June 21.
ALL-CITY BASEBALL TEAM
Pitcher of the Year – Gabe Speier, Dos Pueblos
Field Player of the Year – Jeff Paschke, 3B, Santa Barbara High
Nolan Soto, Senior, Utility, Dos Pueblos – Soto only played nine games this season because of injury but his presence was felt in all 28 games for the Chargers. The team captain was on the bench for every game he missed and tore the cover off the ball when he did return, batting .519 with 14 RBI. “(Nolan) wasn’t expected to make it back this year but was vigorous about PT and made it back which was huge for the team success. Nolan was an exceptional leader when he was on the DL for the 21 games he missed,” Katzenstein said.
Ben York, Senior, Shortstop, Dos Pueblos – York was a key piece to Dos Pueblos winning their second-straight league title as a co-captain, leadoff hitter, and starting shortstop. The Channel League First-Teamer batted .343 and stole 10 bases. At shortstop, York turned in a solid fielding percentage of .920.
Josh Tedeschi, Junior, Pitcher, Dos Pueblos – Tedeschi won 10 of 11 decisions this season and came through for the Chargers with an ERA of 1.14 in 61 2/3 innings on the mound. Tedeschi doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but proved more than effective by keeping his opponents off balance and demonstrating steely ability to pitch out of jams. The righty made the Channel League’s First Team and was placed on the Division-2 All-CIF Second Team.
Johnny Brontsema, Senior, Shortstop, Santa Barbara – The senior captain turned in a stellar season for the Dons, leading the team in runs scored and defensive assists while batting .379. He was second on the team in stolen bases and total bases, and even took on the role as the team’s closer, recording four saves. Brontsema has committed to play at UC Irvine.
Connor McManigal, Senior, Outfielder, Santa Barbara – McManigal did a little bit of everything for the Dons. The First-Team All-Channel League selection hit for power, ran the bases well, and pitched 25 innings in 11 appearances. McManigal was among the team leaders in just about every offensive category, including home runs, RBI, runs scored and stolen bases. A two-sport athlete, Connor was also named the school’s CIF Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Marcus Hutchinson, Senior, Pitcher/Shortstop, Carpinteria – This senior captain covered two of the most important positions for the Warriors this season, filling the role of No. 1 starting pitcher, shortstop and leadoff batter. Hutchinson won five games with an ERA of 2.22 over a team-high 63 innings pitched. At the plate, Hutchinson batted .346, scored 22 runs, and knocked home 15 runs. “We were really fortunate to have him leading our teams at CHS. Despite his skill and success, he is so soft spoken and humble. It is really easy for coaches and players to respect him,” said Warriors head coach Pat Cooney. Hutchinson plans to walk-on at Cal State Bakersfield.
Jack Gregson, Senior, Pitcher/Infielder, Bishop Diego – The senior captain won 10 games on the mound and batted .333 in 22 games. “This year, we saw Jack step up for the team in both roles, as a pitcher and a hitter while also providing a great example for his teammates with his work ethic and dedication to making himself better,” said Cardinals assistant coach Kai Solin. “The innings he provided on the mound with a few of our other pitchers unable to pitch due to injury were invaluable to our team’s success this year.”
Zach Ell, Junior, Catcher, Cate – The junior was behind the plate for each of Cate’s 18 games this season. But Ell’s impact on the Rams, who reached the Division 7 CIF quarterfinals, came with the bat in his hands. Ell totaled an incredible 48 RBIs and seven home runs in 18 games. “Zach is just a hitting machine, who came to us from Saudi (Arabia), with the rep that he hit a home run in the Little League World Series that was shown on ESPN,” said Rams head coach Ben Soto.
John Salda, Senior, Catcher, Bishop Diego – A first-team All-Tri-Valley League selection, Salda was Bishop Diego’s defensive leader behind the plate. Salda is a rare high school catcher who calls his own pitches. “He was always ready to work in practice and was very good at reading situations to help the teams attitude. If a player needed some positive encouragement, he was always the guy to speak up. He could lighten the mood or reel the rest of the guys back in depending on what the situation dictated. As a coach, it is imperative to have a player like this on your team,” Solin said.