ALL-WSC awards go to Walker, SBCC baseball

Nearly all of SBCC’s starting lineup was honored on Monday when 11 Vaqueros were chosen for the All-WSC North baseball team.

Freshman shortstop Steven Reveles and sophomore first baseman Joey Epperson led six players on the first team. Reveles was No. 6 in batting average in conference at .357 and also drove in 14 runs. Epperson hit .323 with 17 RBIs and led the WSC North champions in stolen bases with 10.

Other first-team picks were outfielders Zach Zehner (.329, 3 HR, 18 RBIs, .548 slugging percentage) and Eli Michaels (.316, 7 SB), relief pitcher Lucas Benenati (3-0, 3 saves, 2.43 ERA) and starting pitcher Danny Nieves (2-2, 3.89 ERA).

Jeff Walker, in his first season as SBCC’s head coach, was named Coach of the Year. He shared the honor with Mario Porto of Moorpark.

“We were 14-17 two weeks ago and won our last five in must-win situations,” said Walker. “We’ve got a lot of confidence heading into the playoffs.”

Pitcher Brendon Shoemake (3-3, 4.27 ERA, 37 K in 40 innings) and infielder Joey Gonzalez (.297, 8 SB) were second-team choices. Outfielder Brandon Laubhan (18 RBI), pitcher Rich McCaffrey (2-1, 41 strikeouts) and catcher Jared Dinges (.241) were honorable mention.

The Vaqueros (19-17) won seven of their last eight to secure their second straight conference championship at 12-8. They shared the title with Cuesta and Moorpark. It’s the first time SBCC has won back-to-back WSC titles.

Santa Barbara was seeded 15th for the Southern Cal Regional and will host No. 18 Canyons in a single-elimination game on Tuesday at 2 p.m. The Vaqueros have won eight of their last 10 at Pershing Park.

Tuesday’s winner will advance to a best-of-3 series on Saturday and Sunday at No. 2 Rio Hondo.