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A Dozen Cuesta Baseball Players Named All-WSC
Miller Player & Raymond Pitcher of the Year
SAN LUIS OBISPO (May 11, 2016)— Baseball has ridden the arms of the best pitching rotation of 2016 Western State Conference Coach of the Year Bob Miller’s 14 years at the helm. The Cougars won the 2016 Western State Conference title and host the second round of the 2016 CCCAA Regional Championships this weekend. Cuesta was, fittingly, well represented on the WSC’s all-conference teams with a dozen players being acknowledged, including 2016 WSC Player of the Year Dustin Miller (Clayton) and WSC Pitcher of the Year Louis Raymond (Laguna Niguel).
2016 WSC Player of the Year Dustin Miller (Clayton) leads the Cougars’ attack from the top of the order and is batting .341 on the season, including .362 clip during WSC play. He leads the team with 35 runs scored and his five triples this season rank 3rd on Cuesta’s all time list. Miller’s accolades were also based on his stellar defense in centerfield. He earned a 2016 WSC Gold Glove, as well as raves from opposing coaches who witnessed countless extra-base hits disappear in his glove. Miller also earned all-WSC Honorable Mention in 2015.
2016 WSC Pitcher of the Year Louis Raymond (Laguna Niguel) was at his best during the Western State Conference schedule. He was 6-0 with a 0.81 ERA against the loop. He is 9-2 on the season and his team-leading 1.42 ERA ranks 2nd in the State and is pace to set a new school standard. He also leads the staff with 95 innings pitched and 78 strikeouts. Raymond joined Miller as the recipient of a WSC Gold Glove.
2016 Cuesta College Male Athlete of the Year Brendan Jenkins (Pleasanton) was selected to the all-WSC First Team for the second straight year. He is 8-5 on the season and his 2.09 ERA ranks 13th in the State, as well as 7th all time at Cuesta. He ranks 6th all time at Cuesta with 15 victories and his career 1.95 ERA and four career shutouts are both Cuesta records.
Sophomore Neil Uskali (Westlake Village) joined both of his rotation-mates on the 2016 All-WSC First Team. Uskali has enjoyed an amazing sophomore campaign after seeing just three innings of work in 2015. He is 7-2 on the season and his 1.89 ERA ranks 8th in the State, as well as 6th all time at Cuesta. Uskali’s control has been legendary this season. He is second on the team with 76 strikeouts, but has allowed only five walks on the season. His 15.2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio nearly triples Mike Alldredge’s 2008 Cuesta record mark of 6.4-to-1.
It has been a long road for 2016 All-WSC First Team Catcher Nate Javine (Atascadero HS). He redshirted in 2014 behind Catcher RJ Hassey (SLO HS) and spent last season behind both Hassey and all-WSC Backstop TK McWhertor (Newport Beach). Hassey is now an Assistant Coach, but McWhertor, a 2015 WSC Gold Glover, began the season entrenched as the starter and is considered to be one of the finest defensive catchers to play for Cuesta. McWhertor caught every inning in each of the first 16 games, however an injury set him down just six games into the WSC schedule. Javine stepped in and made the most of his opportunity. He leads the team with a .363 batting over the past 23 games and has driven in 15 runs. He has also held his own behind the plate, while handling one of the best staff’s in the state. Javine’s defensive play includes gunning down 46% of would be base-stealers.
Shortstop Garrett Giovannelli (SLO HS) earned all-WSC 2nd Team in 2015, but moved onto the 2016 All-WSC First Team as a sophomore. He began his freshman season at second base, but made the transition to the other side of second base late in the season and has owned the position as a sophomore. Giovannelli anchors the Cougars’ infield with his good glove, strong arm and great range. He anchors the Cougars’ batting order with his speed, power and ability to hit for average. Giovannelli bats third in the Cougars’ order and leads the team with a .353 batting average for the season. He also leads the team in doubles (9), stolen bases (13) and runs batted in (32).
2016 All-WSC First Team Designated Hitter Tanner Bos (Fresno) adds a different dimension to the Cougars’ offense. He had only 13 at bats by March 15, the same amount he had all of his freshman season at Fresno City, but has slugged .729 since that point. Bos leads the Cougars with 6 home runs, including a pair of Grand Slams, which is more than all of his teammates combined. He is batting .313 on the season and also leads the team with an overall .614 slugging percentage and a .441 on-base percentage.
Closer Dan Beavers (Los Osos: Morro Bay HS) and Third Baseman Josh Medina (Bakersfield) were both named to the 2016 All-WSC Second Team. Beavers, a 2015 all-WSC Honorable Mention pick, has appeared in a team-high 21 games and his seven saves on the season rank 3rd all time at Cuesta. He is also 1-0 with a 4.94 ERA. Medina is batting .279 with 23 RBI, while holding down the “Hot Corner” for the Cougars. He is also 2nd on the team with 11 sacrifice hits and broke Jason Gill’s, the current head coach at Loyola Marymount, 1992 school record for career sacrifice hits (19). Medina has sacrificed himself 21 times during his Cuesta career.
Outfielders Nick Rutckyj (Surrey, CAN) and Nick Burnham (Pleasant Hill) along with Pitcher Anthony Baleto (Martinez) were all accorded all-WSC honorable mention. The trio all redshirted in 2015, after being part of the first Cuesta team to miss the post-season in 18 seasons. They are all getting their taste of the post-season this year. Rutckyj, who was also an 2014 all-WSC Honorable Mention pick, is second on the team with a pair of home runs and is batting .253. Burnham, who was Cuesta’s lone all-WSC First Teamer in 2014, is batting .279 and has also made eight pitching appearances. Baleto owns a 2-2 record with a pair of saves, including his save in last weekend’s playoff elimination game against Palomar. He has posted a 3.16 ERA on the season and has 25 strikeouts in 25.2 innings of work.
Coach Bob Miller was tabbed as the 2016 WSC Coach of the Year. The honor marks the 5th time he and his staff have been accorded the honor.
2016 WSC Baseball Awards
Dustin Miller- Player of the Year
Louis Raymond- Pitcher of the Year
Brendan Jenkins- First Team
Neil Uskali- First Team
Nate Javine- First Team
Garrett Giovannelli- First Team
Tanner Bos- First Team
Dan Beavers- Second Team
Josh Medina- Second Team
Anthony Baleto- Honorable Mention
Nick Rutckyj- Honorable Mention
Nick Burnham- Honorable Mention
Bob Miller- Coach of the Year