MANTECA BULLETIN ALL-AREA BASEBALL TEAM
• C Wade Morten, East Union senior: Bulletin’s 2008 Player of the Year batted a robust .448 with 27 RBIs for area highs. Also tied for the area lead with six home runs with impressive .557 on-base and .818 slugging percentages.
• 2B Matt Unruh, Ripon Christian senior: Fresno Pacific-bound infielder was named the Trans Valley League’s Defensive Player of the Year with a solid .931 fielding percentage and wasn’t too shabby on offense. Hit for a .339 average with six home runs while stealing an area-best 24 bases on 25 attempts.
• Dylan DeBrouwer, Sierra sophomore: Quietly had a good rookie season for the Timberwolves in relief with a few spot starts, going 3-1 with a save and a tidy 1.48 ERA.
• Jordan Louie, Sierra senior: Caught seven runners stealing while boasting a .960 fielding percentage. Also held a .347 batting average with three jacks and 22 RBIs as the Timberwolves’ clean-up hitter.
• 2B/SS Jacob Angelo, Sierra senior: Mr. Reliable for the T’Wolves with the glove and his ability to reach base from the leadoff spot. Led the area with 22 walks to go with 25 hits for a .495 on-base percentage (.342 average), and had a .935 fielding percentage from the middle of the infield.
• 3B Garret Fisher, East Union senior: Protected Morten from the clean-up spot in the area’s most dangerous lineup, finishing the season with six homers and 26 RBIs and a .317 average.
• 3B Chris Fleckenstein, Weston Ranch senior: Younger brother of former East Union standout Ryan Fleckenstein was a rock for the Cougars, hitting .377, four doubles, three triples and driving in 11 runs.
• 2B/3B Francisco Gustin, Ripon senior: Second among area players with a .438 average, Gustin wrapped up a productive career for the Indians with 28 hits, 10 of which went for an area-high 10 doubles.
• Steven Weddington, East Union senior: Broke out as a senior and effectively set the table from the top of the Lancers’ order, where he hit .413, 31 hits, eight doubles and a homer. Had just one error with a .972 fielding percentage at center field.
• Kyle Wagner, Ripon senior: Indians’ top player led area’s only playoff-qualifying club with five home runs and 24 RBIs while hitting .397. Unusually tall for a centerfielder, he showed deceptive speed and range while recording a .967 fielding percentage.
• Sam Jorgensen, Manteca senior: As dangerous with the bat as he was on the base paths, Jorgensen hit .372 and plated 24 runs while making spectacular grabs in center field.
• SS/P Marshall Swift, East Union senior: Had a down year from the mound compared to last (4.45 ERA, 53 strikeouts in 44 innings), but was still effective at shortstop and from the batter’s box where he hit .375 and scored 23 runs.
• SS/P Ricky Acosta, Manteca senior: Three-year varsity starter led the area with 34 hits, capping his sterling career with a .391 average and 16 RBIs. Also sported a 3.94 ERA and fired 10 strikeouts in a 3-2 upset of East Union.
But he didn’t get to showcase what he believes to be his true talent as a pitcher until 2009.
The Bulletin’s All-Area Baseball Player of the Year excelled in all facets during his senior year.
Scott batted .342 with 27 hits, 29 runs, 20 driven in, four homers and led area players with 14 multiple-base hits. On the mound, his ERA shrunk down to 3.29 after a rough preseason start and was 3-4 with 71 strikeouts in 49 innings.
Sierra finished 9-5 for a third-place finish in the Valley Oak League, and 15-9 overall.
“I was a little disappointed with my season,” Scott said. “I wanted to come out and deliver more for my team. I had a solid year, but it took me a while to get my consistency back on the mound coming off of surgery last year. But overall it wasn’t a bad way to go out.”
Youth and depth at the pitcher position kept him from logging starter-type innings during his freshman and sophomore years, and surgery from a torn labrum and shredded bicep tendon derailed any hope of him seeing action on the mound as a junior.
Scott consequently had rust to shake off during the preseason this year, and it was immediately evident that the kinks still had to be worked out after giving up seven earned runs in losses to Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff qualifiers Elk Grove and West of Tracy.
“I started pitching when I was 8, and I was throwing a slider when I was 9,” Scott said. “I consider myself a pitcher. I was always a dominant pitcher, so it was a little discouraging coming back on the mound and not being like my old self.”
The injuries delayed his collegiate prospects, as prep athletes are typically given hard looks during their junior years.
But Scott piqued the interest of college and major league scouts following Sierra’s epic battle with now-defending three-time Valley Oak League champion Oakdale on April 23.
Scott went toe-to-toe with Cal commit Justin Jones, selected by the Chicago White Sox with the 223rd overall pick (seventh round) during the first-year amateur baseball draft earlier this month.
Sierra threw the first blow in the fourth inning to notch the first earned run that Jones had given up all season.
The tables turned in the sixth after Oakdale was the beneficiary of a blown call. Sierra catcher Jordan Louie picked off a runner at first base, and it should have been the third out. The Mustangs took the gift and went on a three-run rally, ending up on top, 4-1.
The loss still stings Scott and the rest of the Timberwolves, but it’s a memory he’ll take with him moving forward. Scott had a two-hitter going into the sixth and finished with 13 strikeouts. Jones fanned 16 in a two-hitter.
“I’ve known Justin Jones for a longtime,” Scott said. “Just to watch him grow up and mature along with me, then to go toe-to-toe like that with a buddy who is one of the top pitchers in California was awesome.”
And scouts took notice. The following weekend, Louie was at San Jose State for a workout and told Scott he overheard big-league scouts talking about “this Scott kid” and what he did during the Oakdale game.
Yet, the amateur baseball draft came and went June 9-10 without Scott’s name being called. He was both hopeful and realistic about getting selected, but a post-graduation trip to Costa Rica helped guard him from disappointment.
Scott has had plenty of interest from Division-I and -II level universities, some of which offered scholarships that he turned down. He will continue to weigh his options, one being to stay home and play for Delta College in Stockton, while playing for a top-caliber travel ball team out of the Bay Area.
Wherever his path leads, and he hopes it’s one that will allow him to play the infield and pitch, he is confident that his experience at Sierra has him prepared to take his next step.
“In the four years I spent at Sierra, I did a lot of maturing as a person and as a baseball player,” Scott said. “I give a lot of that credit to coach (Jack) Thomson. The things that I learned from him will help me at the next level.”