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Madera athletes take home championships

Courtesy of Adrian Wilson/La Sierra University Former Madera Coyotes outfielder Taylor Brooks earned All-CalPac first team honors after batting .407 in the conference and tying for the league lead with 12 steals.


Former Madera and Madera South baseball aces helped their respective teams to a league championship this season.

Former Madera Coyotes standout, who helped Madera win the 2013 Div. II Valley Championship, Alec Gamboa helped the Fresno City College Rams to the Central Valley Conference championship.

He was named the CVC Pitcher of the Year on May 7 by the conference after a 7-1 season with a save in 14 appearances. He finished the season with a 1.96 ERA, fifth in the conference, and struck out 88 batters in 55 innings.

He pitched eight innings and allowed two runs, one earned, with nine strikeouts in an 8-3 victory over Cabrillo in the CCCAA Baseball Regionals.

Overall, Gamboa was 8-1 with a save and a complete game in 15 appearances. He struck out 97 batters in 64 pitches with a 1.97 ERA.

Former Madera South ace Donovan Bertoncini was the winning pitcher for the University of Antelope Valley’s victory over British Columbia. The victory gave the Pioneers their fourth straight Cal Pac Championship after the 6-3 victory May 7.

Bertoncini tossed six inning and allowed three runs, one earned, while allowing four hits. He struck out one and walked two in a 91 pitch performance.

This season Bertoncini is 6-3 with a 4.46 ERA this season. He struck out 41 batters in 70 2/3 innings.

The Pioneers continued in the NAIA Opening Round in Santa Barbara on Tuesday.

Two former Madera South baseball players helped York College to the KCAC Championship game against Oklahoma Wesleyan University. York College lost the game, but advanced in the NAIA Opening Round in Louisiana after victories over Columbia College and Oklahoma City University.

Aaron Vallez is a sophomore on the team while Aaron Alvarez is a senior, continuing the Madera pipeline to the Nebraska school.

Alvarez got the win on the mound Wednesday when York defeated Columbia in an elimination game of the NAIA Opening Round. Although he allowed a run in his 2/3 inning of work, York College scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk off with a 9-8 victory and head to the Opening Round championship game.

After a dominating season in which she threw every inning but one for the College of the Sequoias-Visalia Giants, sophomore Arianna Guzman (Liberty) was named the CVC Pitcher of the Year.

Guzman pitched every inning for the 18-2 Giants in the CVC. She recorded a 1.44 ERA in 131 1/3 innings pitched. She allowed 95 hits, 27 earned runs with 89 strikeouts.

The PacWest Conference announced the 2019 postseason awards Tuesday and former Madera standout Tristen Alvarez was named to the second team. He committed just six errors while starting every game at shortstop.

Former Madera softball standout Taylor Brooks earned first team All-CalPac Conference recognition after batting over .400 in the conference while batting .374 overall. She tied for the team lead with 14 runs and led the team with 12 stolen bases.

Brooks tied for 10th in the conference with a .407 batting average. She also tied for the conference lead with 12 stolen bases, although she did hers in five less games than the two other players she tied with.

Hawks in minors

Former Liberty Hawks pitchers are enjoying success in baseball’s minor league circuit. Connor Brogdon, who attended Lewis and Clark State and graduated in 2017, was recently promoted to the Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Brogdon was a 10th round selection of the Phillies in 2017.

He went 3-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 16 games in short Single-A season in Williamsport. Last year, he spent the season at Single-A full season affiliate. He appeared in 31 games and logged 69 1/3 innings while compiling a 5-3 record with a 2.47 ERA. he struck out 79 batters and walked 16.

This year, Brogdon opened the season at Single-A advanced affiliate Clearwater. He recorded a 1.80 ERA in 10 games, all relief appearances. He logged 20 innings with a 2-0 record while striking out 23 batters and allowing just 11 hits.

On May 9, Brogdon was promoted to Double-A in Reading. He appeared in two games tossing 3 1/3 innings. He struck out six, but allowed three earned runs with an 8.10 ERA.

J.J. Santa Cruz, who finished his career at Fresno State last year, signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants and was assigned to the Arizona League. From there, Santa Cruz bounced between the Giants’ Single-A affiliates in Augusta and Salem-Keizer.

He went 0-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 11 games for Augusta. He pitched 16 2/3 innings with 16 strikeouts and two walks. For Salem-Keizer, he recorded a 1.88 ERA in six games. He had a save in 14 1/3 innings with 11 strikeouts and six walks. Overall, Santa Cruz had a 1.78 ERA in 20 games. He had 32 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings while holding opponents to a .223 batting average.

This year, Santa Cruz was assigned to Single-A Advanced in San Jose. He opened the season with a 3.32 ERA in 10 games. He struck out 14 in 19 innings.

However, Santa Cruz received a big promotion on May 5 when he was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento. He appeared in two games for the River Cats. He allowed two runs in two innings over two appearances with three strikeouts.

Three days later, Santa Cruz was sent to Single-A Augusta. He has appeared in two games, tossing three innings with six strikeouts.


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