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Manteca’s Kyle Rachels signs with Simpson

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Manteca’s Kyle Rachels signs with Simpson

Manteca High senior Kyle Rachels, center right, is joined by his family — including parents Jim and Leslie Rachels and sister Allison — and Buffaloes head coach Neil MacDannald, second from right, ...


POSTED December 15, 2017 2:00 a.m.

Kyle Rachels was fresh off yet another big moment for the Manteca High Buffaloes.

He caught a pair of touchdown passes and had a tackle behind the line of scrimmage in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III football title game against rival Oakdale.

But it’s baseball that will be the focus of this three-sport athlete. Rachels, who is the son of Jim and Leslie Rachels, signed on Thursday to attend and play baseball for Simpson University in Redding.

The Red Hawks, who play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ California Pacific Conference, are coached by former Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Greg Cadaret.

“I know there’s a lot I can learn from (Cadaret),” said Rachels, who is a San Francisco Giants fan.

His father, Jim Rachels, indicated that Simpson offered up “a great academic and athletic package.”

Kyle Rachels plans to major in Business Accounting.

He began playing for the Buffaloes baseball program under coach Neil MacDannald as a freshman.

Back then, Rachels, who is a second baseman and pitcher, got asked to play varsity after a handful of games at the lower levels.

There were questions whether he could hit against the bigger and stronger players at that level. Jim Rachels, who coached the son in baseball since age 5, knew otherwise. 

“That was the best part of his game,” he said.

Kyle Rachels was a regular in MacDannald’s batting lineup, producing record-number home runs and RBIs in sophomore year while leading the Buffaloes to a section championship.

More importantly, he came up big during the big games, making a great defensive play on the field while hitting the ball with power — all with a badly sprained wrist, Jim Rachels recalled.

In two section title games in football, Kyle Rachels also played through an assortment of aches and pains only to come up big each time.

“He’s the first (MHS) varsity letterman to win five section championships,” said the older Rachels.

MacDannald still has Kyle Rachels for the upcoming baseball season.

“It’s been an honor to coach him,” he said. “We’re going to miss him.”

A few former and current products of Simpson University were in attendance at Rachels’ signing event held on campus. Included were Assistant Principal Troy Fast and Alex Gonzales, a Ripon High grad and the daughter of Principal Frank Gonzales — she’s there playing on the women’s golf team.

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