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Villarreal earns ESL Co-MVP, Vail lands on 1st team
Rarely does a player on a team that didn’t come within a game of a league title get a sniff of the MVP award.
Though Lindsay does have some experience with this occurrence with Seth Townsend earning ESL basketball MVP honors despite the Cardinals finishing two games behind Corcoran.
The baseball Cardinals (19-10, 9-3 ESL) also finished two games behind league champ Corcoran.
But the league’s coaches voted that Cardinal sophomore pitcher Misa Villarreal deserved at least a share of the award. Villarreal and Corcoran three-sport star Brant Botill were named Co-MVPs in the ESL.
The Panthers and Cardinals controlled most of the first team, occupying 10 of the 13 spots.
Junior pitcher Gary Baker, sophomore outfielder Adam Gamboa and sophomore infielder Mike Hernandez rounded out the first team for the Cardinals.
Strathmore’s junior southpaw Gary Vail was the only Spartan representative on the first team.
Villarreal sported a 2.13 ERA and struck out 105 batters in an Orange Belt-high 77.2 innings pitched. The Cardinal sophomore walked just 22 on the year.
Villarreal (9-3) fanned 10-plus batters in six different games with his season high of 14 coming against Woodlake, March 19.
Vail out-did his younger counterpart in the whiff column, striking out a whopping 132 batters in 72 innings pitched. Vail’s total, compared to just 22 walks, puts him up with California’s best despite his team finishing just 7-18 on the year.
Villarreal was not just a threat on the mound, as he batted .329 with a team-leading 19 RBIs and five doubles.
Gamboa and Hernandez were the Cardinals’ leaders at the plate with Hernandez leading the team with a .377 average, driving in 14 and doubling seven times. Gamboa hit .357 and was 23-for-24 on stolen base attempts.
Baker made the first team as a pitcher (1.91 ERA, 40.1 IP, 52 K’s).
Strathmore dominated the second-team choices, landing four starters on the squad.
Infielders Alex Lara and Mario Lemus, and outfielders Jorge Paz and Zack Purdin all made the ESL’s No. 2 team and will all return next season.
Lara led the Spartans with a .353 ESL batting average while scoring seven times in those 12 games. Paz batted .308 with Purdin hitting .272 and walking 10 times in league play.
Lindsay senior Cesar Lemus, who led the team with a 1.09 ERA in just more than 25 innings pitched, was the only Cardinal on the second team.
With the exception of Cesar Lemus, all of the Cardinal and Spartan honorees will be back next season.
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All but 1 of Lindsay and Strathmore’s All-ESL members will return next season
Co-MVP: Misa Villarreal, Soph. P - Lindsay
Gary Vail, Jr. P - Strathmore
Gary Baker, Jr. P - Lindsay
Mike Hernandez, Jr. IF - Lindsay
Adam Gamboa, Soph. OF - Lindsay
Cesar Lemus, Sr. OF - Lindsay
Alex Lara, Jr. IF - Strathmore
Mario Lemus, Jr. IF - Strathmore
Jorge Paz, Jr. OF - Strathmore
Zack Purdin, Jr. OF - Strathmore