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Former MUSD stars vying for baseball title

Local players helped key Delta’s surprising run to state’s Final Four

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Former MUSD stars vying for baseball title

Delta College's Garrett Yrigoyen, from left, Andrew Gabriel, Vinnie Devencenzi and Trae Lopez will play for the community college state championship Saturday in Fresno.


POSTED May 22, 2009 2:36 a.m.
It’s been two years since Garrett Yrigoyen graduated from Sierra High and Vinnie Devencenzi said goodbye to Weston Ranch.

Last season, Trae Lopez pitched his final inning for East Union in Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game, while Andrew Gabriel’s final out at Sierra came at the hands of Lopez’s Lancers.

Saturday, starting at 6 p.m. at Fresno City College, all four former Manteca Unified baseball stars will join their Delta College teammates in trying to make history.

The last time Delta won a California State Community College championship was in 1959, when the school was known as Stockton College.
The Mustangs (32-17) beat Sierra, 9-6, Sunday to capture the Northern California Super Regional crown.

Delta will face off against Orange Coast College of Costa Mesa Saturday for a chance to play for the title Sunday.

“It’s been a great year,” Devencenzi said. “We’ve enjoyed it. Our team chemistry has been great and that’s what’s been carrying us so far. We’re looking forward to this weekend. We can’t wait to get out there Saturday night and show everybody that Delta can play.”

Devencenzi, Delta’s starting right fielder, hits out of the No. 2 spot for head coach Reed Peters and has racked at a .282 clip this season with five doubles, 24 RBIs and 23 runs scored.

Yrigoyen, who has started every game at third base, is hitting .278 with 25 RBIs and 26 runs scored from the six-hole.

Both Yrigoyen and Devencenzi have nothing but positive things to say about Peters, who in six years of community college head coaching experience, has never missed a postseason.

“We have a great coaching staff,” Devencenzi said. “Our head coach, all of our coaches, they work with us really well. They’re always on us, both with our school work and on the field. They’re doing what they need to do to keep us in line and move us on to the next level.”

Said Yrigoyen:  “We have a few guys going on to the next level. Our centerfielder is getting looks, places like New Mexico, definitely (Division I). Our first baseman’s going to Sac State, second baseman Stanislaus. One of our pitchers is going to Oral Roberts.”

Lopez and Gabriel are both first-year pitchers for the Mustangs and both have experienced ups and downs in their first season.

Gabriel has tossed 18.2 innings and struggled with his control early on.

“I got quite a few innings in the beginning of the year,” he said. “I just messed some things up, so I just have to keep on working.”

The southpaw Lopez has amassed a 4-1 record in 58.1 innings on the hill, turning in a 4.94 ERA.

“I was injured (earlier in the season),” Lopez said. “But I’ve been picking it up.”

Delta has won six straight contests and wasn’t even ranked in California’s Top 20 heading into the postseason.

But with four teams left vying for the title, Yrigoyen says the Mustangs just have to keep up their recent tear.

“Pitching, defense and hopefully our hitting comes through,” he said. “Our team is on fire right now as a whole. Everything we’ve worked on since the fall is coming together.”

Delta typically practices in four-hour sessions and makes time to hit the weight room at least three times a week.

The results have been undeniable.

“We’re just ready to win the state championship,” Devencenzi said. “We’re going to give it our all, and we’re hoping everyone comes out to watch us.”

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