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MHS outfielders snag top awards in VOL
All-VOL baseball
Rex Watson follows through after making contact in Manteca’s Valley Oak League opener against Kimball. - photo by Wayne Thallander

Manteca’s outfield tandem of Alex Murrieta and Rex Watson are among the top awardees on the All-Valley Oak League Team.

Sac-Joaquin Section and NorCal Division III champion Central Catholic (12-3 VOL, 24-8 overall) also had multiple major award winners in MVP Braxton Thomas and Pitcher of the Year Tyler Wentworth. Oakdale’s Alex Jones is Co-Offensive Player of the Year with Watson.

All-VOL baseball
Manteca’s Alex Murrietta tracks down a flyball in the gap at East Union. - photo by Wayne Thallander
Murrietta was an all-around contributor in his third varsity season for the Buffaloes (7-8, 15-11), who narrowly missed a postseason berth. The two-time all-league selection was named Defensive Player of the Year, seeing time in the outfield, infield and pitcher. He committed just one error and finished with a .958 fielding percentage while playing all 15 league games.

Murrietta was also Manteca’s pitching ace, going 2-2 in league with a 3.15 ERA, 36 strikeouts and 31 hits and 10 walks allowed in 33 1/3 innings.  In the league opener against Kimball, he twirled a mercy-shortened one-hitter, striking out seven

Murrietta and Watson posted mirroring .488 batting averages with 21 hits apiece, both team-highs. Murrietta also had four homers and 25 RBIs, much of which he got during his monster effort — 3 for 3, five runs, two homers, eight RBIs — in a 15-3 win over league champ Central Catholic.

An early commit to University of San Diego, Watson — a third-year junior — made it back to the all-league team after leading the Buffs with eight doubles, two triples and 25 runs in league play. In the three-game set with rival Sierra, Watson went 7 for 10 with three doubles and four runs.

Seven Manteca Unified athletes were named to the All-VOL first team.

Third-place Sierra (9-6, 12-13) is represented by senior pitcher Tyler Looney (3-2, 1.26 ERA, 28 strikeouts, 33 1/3 innings), junior infielder Angel Valdez (.311, four doubles, 13 RBIs) and junior outfielder Troy Morrow (.375, 19 runs, eight RBIs, five doubles).

Multi-sport star Dylan Lee completes a remarkable career with East Union (7-8, 13-11), as he made the all-league first team in football, basketball and baseball for a second straight year. The versatile infielder hit .325 with three homers, 12 RBIs and 14 runs.

Senior outfielder Ace Avelar (.412, 15 runs, 19 steals) also represents the playoff-qualifying Lancers on the first team.

Manteca senior third baseman Landon Chamberlain (.311, 16 runs, 17 RBIs) and sophomore outfielder Chris Chavez (.311, six doubles) round out local first-team selections.

Included on the All-VOL second team are Sierra pitcher Jack Cunial, East Union pitcher Ashton Heath, East Union catcher Carson Sanders, Sierra infielder Andruw Navarro, East Union infielder A.J Vasquez, Manteca infielder Colton Murillo and Sierra outfielder Mitch Van Zwaluwenburg.

East Union’s Blake Mount, Manteca’s Jayson Ingraca and Sierra’s Joshua Seals earned honorable mention.