The numbers RJ Cordeiro put up this season for the Bishop Diego baseball team are impressive: .435 batting average, 8 home runs, 26 RBI, .603 on-base percentage, 1.130 slugging percentage.
But there’s more than stats that make Cordeiro a special player. There’s his maturity, strong work ethic and willingness to help his younger teammates get better.
Bishop Diego coach Dan Yokubaitis said Cordeiro always has been confident in his abilities as a ballplayer, even when he was a freshman on the varsity. “There’s never been any fear in him in his four years here,” he said. “He’d be the first guy who wanted to be up at the plate with the bases loaded.”
What impressed the Cardinals coach this season was Cordeiro’s personal growth. He took it upon himself to help the younger players on the team improve at their positions and gain confidence.
“Next year, we’ll probably be a better team because of him, because of his attitude,” Yokubaitis said. “He set a good example. I enjoyed that with him. A lot of that comes from his folks. His dad is that way, a no-nonsense guy. RJ is a no-nonsense guy himself.”
At the plate, Cordeiro was one tough out.
“As a coach, he was a dream player,” Yokubaitis said. “I don’t have to sit here and make an adjustment on his swing, just let him play. He gets it enough to make his own adjustments.”
The coach noted the hard work Cordeiro put in to make himself stronger in order to take his game to the next level — he has a scholarship to Fresno State.
“Physically, he’s got a great baseball build – he’s long and he’s strong,” Yokubaitis said. “He looks like a baseball player. He put in the time and energy to develop physically to where he’s extremely strong and very athletic.”
Yokubaitis recalled Cordeiro requesting a meeting to talk about his goals for the season.
“I asked him, ‘What are your expectations this year?’ And he hit it right on the nose,” the coach said. “He said, ‘I want to play shortstop and work on my defense, improve my footwork and my throws to first. Offensively, I’d like to hit .350 and 7 to 8 home runs.’ He had these goals set up before we started the season. I thought that was pretty mature of him.”
As for playing at the Division 1 level, Yokubaitis said Cordeiro is prepared.
“If I had a crystal ball, I’d say the thing RJ will pull over everybody is perseverance. He won’t give up.”
Yokubaitis said Cordeiro’s drive to succeed in baseball reminds him of former Dos Pueblos star James McCann, who is now catching for the Detroit Tigers.
“My sons were friends with James, they were in high school together,” he said. “You just knew that guy was going to stay on it until he got there. I feel a lot of times that’s how RJ is. He’s got blinders on and he’s going to go for it.”
Based upon on-court performance and team leadership, the All-City All-Star Teams are selected by Presidio Sports to recognize the top high school student-athletes competing on the South Coast in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria. Each All-City selection will receive a special award certificate and be recognized in a pre-game ceremony at a Santa Barbara Foresters baseball game on Tuesday, June 23.
The 2015 Presidio Sports All-City Baseball Team:
MVP — RJ Cordeiro
Javier Jasso, Carpinteria, Sr.— The Warriors’ second baseman and lead-off hitter batted .367, with 12 RBI, 15 runs and eight stolen bases. On defense, he committed only one error. He led the team down the stretch, helping the Warriors win 5 of 7, including two wins over Malibu to earn a CIF playoff berth.
Sal Delgado, Carpinteria, Soph. — He threw back-to-back one-hitters (against Villanova and Hueneme) and also tossed a two-hitter against Bishop Diego. “He was completely trustworthy on the mound as he took his assignment of starting one game every single week of the season,” said coach Pat Cooney. Delgado batted third in the lineup and hit .302.
Luke Coffey, Dos Pueblos, Sr. — The Chargers captain was a solid performer anywhere he played on the field. He batted .354, with an on-base percentage of .405. Defensively, he posted a .908 fielding percentage. Voted the Channel League MVP, Coffey was especially big for DP down the stretch, helping the Chargers win a fourth straight league title. “When he goes, we go,” said coach Nick Katzenstein. Coffey is headed to Westmont.
Dustin Demeter, Dos Pueblos, Jr. — He led the Chargers in hits with 32, including 10 doubles, and drove in 20 runs. Demeter batted .333 and had a slugging percentage of .495. “He is a clutch hitter and helps lead the offense with his cousin, Luke,” said coach Katzenstein.
Darby Naughton, Dos Pueblos, Soph. — “Our ace on the mound,” Katzenstein said. “He has great composure for a sophomore and his desire to do well and compete is like none other. Naughton was especially tough with runners on base. He stranded 62 runners in 57 innings pitched. His record was 5-2 with a 2.08 ERA.
Gio Macias, Dos Pueblos, Jr. — The DP lead-off hitter had 29 hits, drew nine walks, scored 24 runs and batted .333. “He was our lead-off man and always got things started for us,” said Katzenstein.
Sean Nakano West, San Marcos, Sr. — A steady performer for the Royals all season. As a starting pitcher, he posted an ERA of 1.13 through 43.1 innings. At the plate, he batted .278. Nakano West will continue his career at Cal Lutheran. “He was the glue for our team on offense and defense,” coach Jacob Pepper said. “He pitched amazing all season long, gave us an opportunity to win every game he pitched in.”
Kevin Gowdy, Santa Barbara, Jr. — One of top pitchers in the area, Gowdy drew the scouts to Dons games. He struck out 72, walked only 13, posted an ERA of 1.54 and went 5-1 for the season. “As a junior this year, Kevin steadily improved throughout the season,” pitching coach Mike Cooney said of the UCLA commit. “With a bit more run support, he could have been 10-0. The Channel League coaches agreed that he was one of the league’s best pitchers.We look forward to an even more successful senior year.”
Trevor Moropoulos, Santa Barbara, Sr. — The first baseman/pitcher had a tremendous season. He led the Dons with a .354 batting average, with 22 RBI and 16 hits with runners in scoring position. He also turned in some solid pitching performances. “Trevor was unanimously voted the Dons’ MVP by his coaches, not only for his team-leading hitting and fielding but for his increased contribution as the No. 2 starting pitcher,” Cooney said. “By season’s end, Trevor was hitting with power to all fields and pitching into the late innings of every start.”
Bryce Morison, Santa Barbara, Sr. — The leader of the Dons infield, the shortstop made several outstanding plays with his glove. His fielding average was .910. “His quiet leadership at shortstop was his greatest contribution to the Dons’ exceptional defense, diving for grounders, leaping for line drives and ranging well into the outfield for pop flies,” Cooney said. “He is well-positioned to succeed at the college level, but will be difficult for us to replace.”