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Author: Erik Wagle

Back in the Swing of Things

We are two weeks into the Fall semester and a week deep on workouts, and the march to our school’s first championship is officially on. It has been a very busy couple of weeks getting everyone settled, get classes and other academic issues taken care of, and getting our workouts started. Everyone is on track and ready to begin our long march to a title.

Our massive group of freshman, 14 of them, are starting to adjust to being on their own and getting used to the demands of a college schedule. It is much different than high school… they are expected to follow a strict schedule and be on time and ready to execute at all times. They are also learning that there are much higher standards for student-athletes at our university… they are given some special treatment as athletes, but with that, they are expected to represent our university and baseball team at all times. We are extremely confident that this group will continue to grow together and really be something special for this university.

Rounding out the 23 signee recruiting class are the junior college and Division I transfers. The transfers have already integrated seamlessly into our system and they look to have a huge impact on our fortunes.

The returners look like they took the summer very seriously. Our entire squad is in very good physical shape, which is an encouraging sign. Championship teams are always at work, and we are excited that our guys used the summer to work on their conditioning and are ready to come together to achieve our goals.

We continue with group work through September and then we will start full team practices. I’ll keep everyone updated on different events surrounding MB Baseball as they come up. We appreciate everyone’s support!

Quiet Days of Summer Soon to End

With the calendar getting ready to turn to August, we are excited that the long and quiet summer is about to end and we will be welcoming the 2012 squad back to campus soon. The players have been working extremely hard on their offseason strength and conditioning. The pitchers started their throwing program this week and everyone should be in great physical condition when school starts on August 22nd.

We have been busy this summer with a whole bunch of facility improvements. When the players get back, they will see that the turf field has been professionally cleaned and sanitized. New sideboards have been installed to keep debris off the turf as well. The landscaping around the field is also under construction. A new walkway up to the field has been installed with concrete pavers. The coaches are also working on approvals for a line of beautiful Monterey Cypress trees around the field. This will provide a windbreak for our fans and also provide a much needed visual barrier for our players on the field. The trees will enclose the field and will dramatically improve the aesthetics of our facility.

We have also started gathering names for this year’s recruiting class. There again appears to be a strong class of high school ballplayers out there, and many are interested in the champion we are building here at MB Baseball. It will be exciting as the junior colleges start up soon to work on another banner recruiting class.

There are a lot of big things happening around MB Baseball. We continue to work extremely hard to make sure we are providing the very best student-athlete experience for our players. This year will prove to be a very special one for us, as we look to take the next step with this program and become a truly elite college baseball program.

MB Baseball Finishes Recruiting Class

The CSUMB Baseball coaching staff has finished its first ever-recruiting class by signing 6 new players to Letters of Intent. This brings the total amount of signees to 22 for the new coaching staff that will be entering their second year of leading the baseball program. In his first year at the helm, Head Coach Walt White’s squad broke the school record for wins and ignited the momentum that has led to the new brand of expectations for MB Baseball.

“This recruiting class has been the culmination of an extreme amount of work by myself and our Recruiting Coordinator Erik Wagle,” stated Walt White. “We took this amazing challenge head-on and we really could not be happier on the way this class has ended up. We have a strong conviction that these young men will lead this university to national prominence. They are of the right character and they deeply believe in what we are building here. The Fall could not come soon enough so we can get to work on our first championship run.”

Dylan Auker – RHP – Virginia Commwealth University: Auker transfers to CSUMB after declaring a medical redshirt during his junior season at VCU. Before signing with VCU, Auker pitched at San Jose City College, leading the vaunted SJCC bullpen both seasons. During his 2 seasons at SJCC, Auker made 31 appearances while pitching 46 innings and struck out 41 batters while only walking 13. He also was the winning pitcher in both of SJCC’s Regional Championship games.

Coach White on Auker: “Dylan is an exciting addition to our pitching staff. He is well known as a clutch pitcher that brings some extreme intensity to the mound. He already knows our system that the pitchers follow and should step right in and be a leader of our staff. His fiery competiveness will be a great addition to our bullpen. He is very versatile and he has pitched in huge games. He is also a phenomenal athlete on the mound.”

David Garcia – IF – Mission College/San Jose City College: Garcia comes to Monterey Bay after a hugely successful junior college career. During his freshman year at SJCC, Garcia led the Jaguars to the Super Regionals with his explosive bat and stellar defense. In his JC career, Garcia hit over .300 with 8 homeruns, 36 RBI, and 59 walks. Garcia is also an advanced defender that will improve the MB defense with his range, arm strength, and knowledge of the game. He is also a professional prospect on the watch list of many Major League Baseball clubs.

Coach White on Garcia: “David signing with us is a huge step for this baseball program. He had plenty of other options, but chose us because he believes that this is the best place for him to get better and get to the next level. He is an explosive offensive player that has a great approach. He runs well and will hit for power. On defense he is a great infielder… he was maybe the best junior college second baseman in the state last year. With all of that, his best attributes are his attitude and personality. He is a winner through and through, and he will immediately be a model for what we want in this program.”

Zach Grotz – RHP – Burlingame High School: Grotz joins the Otters after a successful high school career that established him as one of the premier pitchers in Northern California. In his junior season Grotz notched the save in Burlingame’s CIF Central Coast Section championship game. During his senior season Grotz was 7-1 with 1 save, throwing 54 innings with a 1.16 ERA, a .190 Opponents Batting Average, and notching up 52 strikeouts. The athletic righty was named All San Mateo County first team and the Pitcher of the Year in the Peninsula Athletic League.

Coach White on Grotz: “Zach was someone we recruited for this entire year. From the first time I saw him, I knew he had the ability to be great. He is an extremely good athlete and has a loose arm. He has great movement on all his pitches and he has the ability to take over a game. As he gets into our program and gets bigger and stronger, Zach will mature into an elite pitcher. He has an aggressive personality on the mound and he will be able to take on the challenge of jumping to this level.”

Jason Merjano – IF – Sierra College: The versatile, left-handed hitting Merjano was the starting shortstop for Sierra College’s two State Playoff runs while he was in junior college. Merjano was widely considered one of the best infielders in Northern California. During his sophomore season, Merjano hit .322 (9th in Big 8) with 8 doubles, 2 home runs, and 20 RBI’s in the grueling Big 8 conference. He also flashed some advanced glovework, leading the Sierra College defense. Merjano was recruited by several Division I schools.

Coach White on Merjano: “I have known Jason for a few years now, and he continues to impress me as a young man and a baseball player. As a player, he is a very versatile offensive and defensive player. He can hit anywhere in the lineup and he can do it with some power, speed, and situational hitting. On defense he can play anywhere in the infield and be a great player at that spot. As a person he is going to immediately make us better with his attitude, intensity, and the way he approaches the game. He comes from one of the best JC programs in the state and knows how to do things the right way.”

Chris Neifert – LHP – Scappoose High School: The Oregon native comes to Monterey Bay after having a stellar high school career and establishing himself as one of the best left-handed pitching prospect to come out of Oregon in years. In his junior season Neifert was the winning pitcher in Scappoose’s first-ever state championship victory. Neifert backed up his impressive junior season with a stellar senior campaign. The athletic lefty went 10-3 with a 1.16 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings pitched. He was named All State first team and won the Cowapa League Cy Young award for best pitcher.

Coach White on Neifert: “Chris is a young man that caught our attention by some Northwest pro scouts late in the Fall. He is an extremely accomplished pitcher that is very excited about coming to California and being a part of what we are building here. He is a great athlete on the mound and he has swing and miss stuff. He has a loose arm with a low arm slot that creates an extreme amount of movement on all of his pitches. We feel he will be ready to compete right away. He is also a very hardworking young man that is an exceptional student.”

Jonas Noack – RHP – University of the Pacific: The Division I transfer Noack is a San Diego native that has a lot of upside to be an impact pitcher with the Otters. The tall and lanky righty hails from University City High School where he was a Western League first team selection after his senior season. In his sophomore year, he helped pitch the team to a CIF championship. While at University of the Pacific, Noack had 12 appearances over two seasons.

Coach White on Noack: “Jonas is an intriguing pitcher. He is 6’6” tall and is a good athlete for his height. He has a strong, loose arm that projects well to our level. We feel very strongly that once he gets immersed in our system he will thrive. He is pumped about the possibility of coming here and getting the opportunity to be a part of something special. We are excited about Jonas and the potential he represents.”

Late Sign Class Looking Good

SEASIDE, Calif. – The Cal State Monterey Bay coaching staff has started out the late signing period with a bang, signing seven student-athletes to play for the Otters in the 2012 season.

Combined with the nine early signees, the new staff’s first ever-recruiting class at CSUMB currently stands at 16 new players.

“This first wave of late sign recruits is an exciting bunch,” said head coach Walt White. “They are all extremely talented players that had plenty of other options to continue their baseball careers. They all chose MB Baseball because they deeply believe in what we are building here. Combined with the early signs, our recruiting class is as dynamic and talented as anyone’s out there. All of these players will be great college players and some will go on and play professionally.”

White made it very clear that the recruiting class is not yet complete.

“There is an extremely high level of interest in our baseball program right now,” White said. “There are several junior college and high school players that we still want to join us. We will finish this off right in the early summer. We expect this class of young men to lead us to a championship next year. Our staff has done an unbelievable job identifying and recruiting these players.”

Sean Borboa – RHP – Hanford West High School: A big righty, Sean Borboa currently sports a 5-2 record in 30 innings pitched with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched). Borboa has struck out 29 batters and only walked nine. He has also been a force at the plate, hitting .369 with a team-leading 18 RBI.

Coach White on Borboa: “Sean is a big, strong right-handed pitcher. He has an advanced feel for pitching for a high school player. He can throw three pitches for strikes and understands how to get people out. We feel he can project into a good college pitcher and we know he has the work ethic to enhance his skills and be great for us.”

Andres Coll – IF – Arleta High School: The Mustang second baseman, Andres Coll leads Arleta in hitting and is a defensive specialist. Coll is currently supporting a .418 batting average with 25 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. Coll also leads a strong Arleta defense and that is a big reason the Mustangs sit atop their league.

Coach White on Coll: “Andres is going to be a lot of fun for everyone here at CSUMB to watch play. He has a lively and upbeat personality that is really going to keep things loose for our squad. On top of his personality, he is a very good young baseball player. He can really run and is going to be a good college hitter. He can play multiple positions and is extremely coachable.”

Ryan Cruz – RHP – Kennedy High School: Right-handed pitcher Ryan Cruz is
one of the most accomplished pitchers in the Los Angeles area. A three-year varsity ace and 2010 All-City performer, Cruz currently holds a 7-1 record with six complete games, one shut out, and a 1.21 ERA. Cruz was also a Los Angeles Times preseason “Player to Watch.”

Coach White on Cruz: “Ryan Cruz was one of our primary targets from the start of our recruiting this year. He is an exciting young pitcher that really understands what it takes to get people out. He is very polished for a high school arm and should be able to contribute from Day 1. All he does is win and we expect him to lead us to a lot of championships in the future. He has the right attitude and mindset for the kind of players we want here.”

Brian Haggett – 1B – Sacramento State: Transferring to CSUMB from Sacramento State is local star Brian Haggett. The San Benito High School grad transfers after a successful junior college career at West Valley College. While with the Vikings, Haggett hit .401 with 26 RBI’s and 2 homeruns in his sophomore season. Haggett was a two-time All Golden Gate Conference selection in junior college.

Coach White on Haggett: “Brian fills a huge need for us as a left-handed hitting first baseman. We expect him to come in and contribute immediately and hit in the middle of our lineup. He is a good athlete and has an advanced feel for the game. He is also a very good student and has a championship demeanor. He is exactly what we are looking for in our student-athletes.”

Brett Hammond – LHP – El Toro High School: A big, athletic lefty, Brett Hammond has served in a variety of roles for El Toro. In 2010, Hammond led the Sea View league with a 1.47 ERA and also sported a 5:1 K/BB ratio and held opponents to a .221 on base percentage. Hammond has been a part of two El Toro League Championships and looks to add a third at the conclusion of this season.

Coach White on Hammond: “Brett is an exciting young pitcher. He will have immediate value to us because he is so versatile on the mound. He can pitch in situations, close, and start for us. He comes from one of the best programs in Southern California and has been coached at a high level versus great competition. On the mound he has great sink on his fastball and change-up and has a developing breaking ball. He is a very good athlete and is a high energy pitcher.”

Javy Lopez – RHP/IF – Arleta High School: Javy Lopez is well known in Southern California for his supreme athleticism and rocket right arm. Lopez was an All-City pitcher in 2010 and was also on the USA Baseball Developmental team. Currently, Lopez is one of the most feared players in the Los Angeles area, sporting a 2.02 ERA to go along with his 4-1 record and 43 strikeouts. On offense, Lopez leads the team with three home runs and is hitting .375.

Coach White on Lopez: “Javy might be the biggest recruit that CSUMB has ever signed. He turned down a lot of big schools because he has a deep belief in what we are building here and the kind of experience that we provide our players. He is an immensely talented athlete that will be a handful for our opponents to deal with. To go along with his obvious physical skills, he is a very special person. He is everything we look for in a player and we can’t wait to get him in Blue and Gold.”

Ty Morris – IF – North Monterey County: Ty Morris is a dynamic switch-hitting infielder that flashes an advanced offensive approach with his great athleticism on defense. In 2010, he was an All-Monterey Bay League first team selection. With his senior season coming to an end, Morris is hitting .495 with three home runs, three triples, eight doubles, and a Monterey Bay League leading 33 RBI. Morris is the first baseball player ever to sign a scholarship out of North Monterey County.

Coach White on Morris: “Ty Morris is an extremely exciting addition to our program. He is a dynamic young player and about as good as a shortstop as you will see at the high school level. He comes from good bloodlines and really understands the game at a high level. He is very projectable and will be an impact player right away. Along with the rest of this recruiting class, Ty is an outstanding young man that will represent this university the right way. I cannot wait to coach him.”

Year 1 In the Books: One Big Step Forward

With everything so new and with so much work to be done, it was extremely tough for the new coaching staff to put a realistic expectation on their new team in early Fall. As Fall progressed we were constantly prodded with questions on how many wins we were going to get and what we wanted to accomplish this year. We stayed consistent with our answer… we were just looking to find a way to take a step forward every day, every week, every game and eventually we would be in a good spot at the end of the year. Well here we are, a historic season done and a massive step forward for this baseball program.

We walked into a situation where the team went 8-41 (ranked 222 out of 232 Division II schools), the will of the players was broken, and the expectation of the future of the program was uncertain at best. With the end of the season upon us, we have broken the school record for wins in our first season with 21. We have recruited one of the best classes to be seen in recent memory at the D2 level.  Our pitching staff shattered the school record for Earned Run Average.  Danny Nelson broke the single season record for doubles. Jake Paolinetti now holds the single season record for wins by a pitcher. Paul Brock will go into his senior season as the all times Saves leader. 2011 was a year of first for the Otters baseball team and we strongly believe next year will be the biggest first of them all… the baseball program’s first ever CCAA Championship.

The 2011 team will not be remembered for its talent or flashy play, it will be remembered for its cohesiveness and it’s undying will to never quit despite the circumstance. For the first time in school history the Otters were never swept in a CCAA series and beat Sonoma State in a series. We were 8-7 against the top 10 teams in the nation, which shows our true colors… we stepped up and played when everyone thought we didn’t belong on the same field as the other guy.

As we head into our first offseason we can look back and be very proud of the direction this program is going.  We have a few more weeks of recruiting and then we should be able to hopefully enjoy some time off.  We already cannot wait to get on the field next Fall, where our recruits will mix in with our returners with one goal in mind… Win a Championship!

 

Otters split with East Bay, move up in Playoff Race

After a sloppy and dramatic weekend, we garnered a split with Cal State East Bay. We really wanted to win the series, but we still accomplished our goal of moving up in the standings towards a playoff spot. With an overall record of 16-20 and 13-14 in CCAA play, we are just two games out of the last playoff spot with 3 weekends left to go. Luckily for us the next two weekends against San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona give us the opportunity to play opponents that are just above us in the standings.

The East Bay series started with a convincing 7-4 victory on Friday. Senior Scott Tully tossed 6 1/3 strong innings for the win and Jake Paolinetti notched his 2nd save of the season. Tyler Young, Danny Nelson, and Nolan Murray all had multiple hit games to pace the offensive attack. On Saturday morning, we opened up with an extremely tough loss 7-6. Despite good pitching and timely hitting, we surrendered 6 unearned runs and that will rarely get it done in this conference. The second game of the doubleheader was also a tough loss as Aaron Appino again threw a complete game and only gave up 1 earned run, but we were blanked in the 3-0 loss. On Sunday our boys followed the script we have been playing out all season, and responded with an emotional effort that ended up in a dramatic 9-5 win. Randall Packard hit a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the 9th to end the weekend with a bang.

This team’s resolve and heart continues to carry us. Every time it looks like we might be down and out and the season slipping away, the kids fight right back and find a way to keep us alive. This is the New Brand of MB Baseball. It is an exciting time to be a part of our program, and it is evident that people are starting to take notice by the immense crowds at our games and the increasing media interest.

The late signing period also opened up on April 13th. We are thrilled at the early returns as we continue to round out our first ever recruiting class. There are some very high profile players signing the dotted line with the Otters. I will update signings on this blog as they come in and are approved.

We have a short week as we leave Wednesday to travel down for a Thursday – Saturday series against Cal State San Bernardino. The Otters return home the following weekend for our last home series on Senior Day on Saturday April, 30th. Go Otters!!

Rally Totem Pole

Walkoff Celebration

Otters Thinking Playoffs

The 2011 MB Baseball team continued it’s push for the playoffs by garnering a very tough road split with the then #9 ranked Cal State Los Angeles squad (Collegiate Baseball).  The 2-2 record over the weekend brings our overall record to 14-18, and our conference mark to 11-12.  We are also 8-7 against the top 10 ranked teams in the nation at the time of the series.  Our boys understand how to step up to the challenge that every team in this conference presents.  With 4 weekends left to go, we sit just 2 games out of the playoffs.

The weekend started with a very frustrating Friday night contest that we dropped 5-1.  We made too many errors and did not give our offense or pitching a chance to win us the ballgame.  But like we always seem to do, the boys responded by winning an 11-inning affair in the first game Saturday 5-2.  Jake Paolinetti picked up his 5th win of the year and he ranks in the top 5 in the conference in wins.  The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was a tough 1-0 loss.  Aaron Appino was masterful on the mound, but we could not score off CSULA’s pitcher, who is the top ranked pitcher in our conference.  Sunday’s 13-2 victory was our most complete performance of the year.  Nolan Murray busted out and got 4 hits on the day.  Paul Brock pitched 7 strong innings for the win after he had already notched a save earlier in the series.  For his efforts, Brock was named CSUMB’s Student-Athlete of the Week.

Along with it’s stellar pitcher, MB Baseball is playing some of the best defense in the nation.  We are currently ranked 1st in the nation in double plays turned per game.  Check it out here…  http://www.otterathletics.com/news/2011/4/12/BB_0412114653.aspx

We square off with Cal State East Bay this weekend for a huge series.  We want to continue to improve our position for the playoffs, and this is one of the last times we will have home games for a series.  Friday’s game is slated to start at 3:00pm at Otter Field.  Saturday’s doubleheader is at East Bay starting at 11:00am.  The series concludes Sunday again at Otter Field with an 11:00am start.

Tony Hernandez

Otters Enjoy Bye Week

Just past the halfway point of our season, the bye week could not have come at a better time. The players have midterms coming up and some of them are a little banged up, so the week off allows them to catch up on school work and get healthy. With the April 13th signing period opening up, the coaches are hot and heavy on the recruiting trail. I have been in Southern California all week recruiting, while Coach White has been all over Northern California and will join me down here this weekend. CSUMB is extremely committed to our recruiting schedule, as they are giving us some vast resources to take these trips to ensure we are bringing in elite student-athletes to help us win a National Championship.

The break could not have come at a better time because the weather has been amazing. The players have been able to enjoy a lot of beach time on their off days and it has given us all some time to decompress from the heavy rain we were experiencing. We can only hope it’s all behind us and it’s all baseball from here on out.

The boys return to light practice today and tomorrow, before we start preparation for next weekend’s series versus Cal State L.A. We will leave on Thursday afternoon for the L.A. series that will begin on Friday night at 6:00pm. The Otters return home the following weekend to take on Cal State East Bay on Friday the 15th. Make sure to check www.otterathletics.com to watch the Live Stats and keep track of your Otters on the road.

Awards Pour In, Stanislaus Series Rescheduled

With last weekend’s three game sweep of Sonoma State, individual Awards poured in for two of the stars of the weekend, second baseman Danny Nelson and starting pitcher Aaron Appino. The two were named CCAA Player and Pitcher of the Week. It was first time in the program’s history that a CSUMB duo swept the award on the same week. Nelson followed up that award by being named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association West Region Player of the Week, the first such honor in school history. Check out the two being interviewed on “This Week in Otter Athletics.”

It is an impressive haul for a team that has come so far in such a short amount of time, and yet has so far to go. Aaron and Danny, as well as all of our players, know that individual awards are achieved through team success. With this philosophy in place and prospering, there really is no limit to what this program can achieve. We know our boys will continue to work and believe in each other so this program can reach it’s potential soon.

Because of the heavy rain we have experienced in the area, the series with Stanislaus has been pushed back. We will now host a doubleheader against the Warriors on Sunday starting at 12:00pm, and will travel to Turlock on Monday for a doubleheader beginning at 12:00pm. Make sure to come out and support your Otters as they continue the first ever playoff push for CSUMB. Next week is a buy week and then we travel to LA, so this will be your last shot to see the boys for awhile!!

Aaron Appino

Danny Nelson

Otters Notch 3 Huge Wins

With the daunting task of having to play 3 games on Saturday against 6th ranked (Collegiate Baseball) Sonoma State, Saturday held the potential to be a great, horrible, or somewhere in the middle day for our baseball program. It turned out to be the most successful day in the history of the program as we took all 3 games from the then 1st place Seawolves. The victory placed our CCAA record at 8-7, just one game out of a playoff spot. Our overall record sits at 11-12…. a far cry from the 8-41, 4-36 mark the program posted last season.

There were some great plays, clutch pitches, and timely hitting on the day, but the story of the day and this team is the belief this group of young men have in each other. They have learned it is not about physical talent, weather, or any other external factor. It is all about how they prepare, how much they care for each other, and how hard they fight every game. They understand the power of belief and what they are capable of when they submit themselves to the team. Every player might not have every tool, but combined as one our team possesses every tool a scout could want.

Friday’s game got called after 3 complete innings with MB holding a 2-0 lead. The game was picked up Saturday morning and ended up a 5-3 victory. Stellar relief work was displayed to get through the game, with Jake Paolinetti notching the win and Paul Brock picking up his 3rd Save of the season.

In the second game of the day, Jake Crose pitched great, pitching 7 innings and only surrendering 3 runs. Paolinetti once again got the win, pitching 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Tony Hernandez provided the game tying double in the 9th, while Danny Nelson ended the game with a walk-off single to secure the 4-3 victory.

In the third game of the day, Aaron Appino threw a complete game with no earned runs to lock down the 2-1 victory. Appino struck out 8 in 7 innings with 0 walks. The scoring on the day was all done in the 5th inning, Danny Nelson scored Greg Fujii from first with an RBI double, and Tommy George later scored Nelson with a sacrifice fly.

Game 4 of the series was cancelled on Sunday due to the rainy weather. The two teams hope to make up the game during the week at some point. We are also scheduled to host Hillsdale College on Tuesday at 12:00pm. The schedule is subject to change due to weather conditions. The Otters return to conference play next week with a split series with CSU Stanislaus. The series is scheduled for home games at CSUMB on Friday and Sunday, with the doubleheader in Turlock.

Rally Football Pants

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