Do these look like the offensive numbers of a player who projects as a pitcher when he graduates high school? A .455 batting average, 41 RBIs, three home runs and 28 runs scored in 28 games.
Only when they’re sitting next to these: 9-0 record, 0.95 ERA, six complete games, 114 strikeouts and 12 walks in 73 2/3 innings.
All of Kaiser junior Chris Mathewson’s talents were on display while leading the Cats to a Sunkist League championship and the No. 2 seed in the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs. The Long Beach State-committed pitcher will only spoil the Inland Valley for one more year before becoming a full-time pitcher.
“His future is as a pitcher because he’s that good as a pitcher,” Kaiser coach Mike Spinuzzi said. “He throws 91, 92 (mph) consistently. When he’s playing outfield, he’ll eftortlessly throw the ball to home on the fly all the way from the fence. Even though I tell him not to.”
Mathewson is defiant only in the way a coach can love. He didn’t get the start in Kaiser’s playoff loss, entering the game only when the Cats faced an insurmountable deficit in a 10-2 second-round loss. Spinuzzi was setting up his rotation for what he hoped would be a matchup in the CIF finals between Mathewson and Philip Bickford, the Oaks Christian pitcher who was made the 10th pick of Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on June 6.
“I understood, but it was frustrating because you always want to be on the mound,” Mathewson said. “If I started, would things have turned out differently? We’ll never know.”
Mathewson has plenty of moments from this season he will fondly recall, like the time he hit the game-tying grand slam followed by the game-winning base hit in an extra-inning victory over Rancho Cucamonga. Or the 10-strikeout complete game win he picked up against Glendora, the second-place team from the Baseline League.
“It was an awesome year,” said Mathewson, who capped his season by verbally committing to Long Beach State June 3. “I didn’t pay too much attention to it during the season, but now that it’s over I’m realizing. I’m just trying to stay humble so I can be better next year.”
COACHES OF THE YEAR: Mike Regan, Mark Chiappelli, San Dimas
The Saints’ co-head coaches were named the coaches of the year after dominating the Valle Vista League, which was no easy task with four teams posting 20-plus wins. In addition, three Valle Vista league teams advanced to the CIF-SS Division 4 quarterfinals and San Dimas was one of two to reach the semifinals.
The Saints finished 26-7 and 11-1 in the Valle Vista League, losing only to Baldwin Park while sweeping pre-season league favorites Covina Northview and La Puente Nogales.
“We had a lot of magic,” Mike Regan said. “I told our kids all year they could win and beat anybody.”
PARKER MERRITT, Bonita, Senior, Pitcher
He was the No. 1 starter for a Bonita team that went 25-4-1 and earned the top seed in the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs, Merritt went 8-1 with a 0.81 ERA in more than 77 innings, striking out 48 batters and issuing just one walk this year.
FABIAN VENEGAS, Montclair, Senior, Pitcher
The Mt. Baldy League MVP went 9-2 with a 1.58 ERA for the tri-league champions. He pitched six complete games and struck out 46 batters in 71 innings in addition to hitting .307 with 23 RBIs for a Montclair team that went 18-7 and 10-2 in league play.
RYAN OLSON, Western Christian, Senior, Pitcher
The USC-bound senior with a fastball that has touched 96 mph and is consistently in the low 90s, went 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA this season in helping Lancers to a 7-7 record in Ambassador League play. Olson was also a force at the plate, hitting .454 for the Lancers.
JACOB BLUNT, Bonita, Senior, Catcher
A rock in the middle of the Bonita lineup, Blunt hit .458 with 28 RBIs in 30 games for the Hacienda League champions. He had a .540 on-base percentage, scored 13 runs and struck out just four times all season for the top seed in the Division 3 playoffs.
NICK COSTELLO, Claremont, Senior, Infielder
The shortstop who has signed with Pepperdine hit .429 with 35 RBIs and four home runs in 26 games for a Claremont team that finished tied for second in the Sierra League. Costello scored 20 runs, had a .490 on-base percentage and a .762 slugging percentage.
AARON DIGIAMARINO, Webb, Senior, Infielder
The shortstop bound for USC hit .551 with 44 RBIs, nine home runs and 26 runs scored in 25 games for a Webb team that went 20-5 and earned a share of the Prep League title. He had a .596 on-base percentage and 1.154 slugging percentage.
TOBY RAINWATER, Kaiser, Junior, Infielder
The third baseman for the Sunkist League champions hit .411 with 17 RBIs, two home runs and 40 runs scored just 28 games. He had a .534 on-base percentage and .600 slugging percentage in helping Kaiser to a 24-4 overall record.
LOGAN MURRATALLA, San Dimas, Sophomore, Infielder
The first baseman hit .415 and had a .513 on-base percentage, collecting 38 RBIs, three home runs and 22 runs scored for the Valle Vista League champions, who advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs and posted a 26-7 record.
CHARLES ESCOBAR, Rialto, Senior, Outfielder
He hit .462 with 28 RBIs, one home run and 26 runs scored for Rialto team that went 17-10 overall and 11-4 in league play to finish in a tie for second in the San Andreas League. Escobar had a .527 on-base percentage and an .821 slugging percentage for the Knights.
ELIAS ORONA, San Dimas, Junior, Outfielder
The junior’s batting average was .438 and his on-base percentage .488 for a Saints team that won the Valle Vista League title, posted a 26-7 record and advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs. Orona had 30 RBIs, three home runs and scored 33 runs.
ANDRES SOLIS, Fontana, Senior, Outfielder
In his one season since transferring from Los Angeles University, Solis made a huge impact. He hit .464 with a .559 on-base percentage. He scored 18 runs, stole 12 bases and had 11 RBIs for a Fontana team that went 10-5 in the San Andreas League to finish second.
CHRIS KOHLER, Los Osos, Senior, Designated Hitter
The Baseline League MVP was as good a hitter as he was a pitcher, posting a .444 batting average with 22 RBIs and 18 runs for the 23-6 Grizzlies. The Oakland A’s third-round pick this year went 11-1 with a 2.24 ERA for the league champs and CIF-SS Division 2 semifinalists.
ZEPH WALTERS, Diamond Bar, Senior, Utility
Walters did it all, going 11-2 with a 1.24 ERA on the mound, where he pitched a perfect game against Carter this season. He also hit .358 with 28 RBIs and scored 23 runs for a Diamond Bar team that went 22-7 and reached the CIF-SS Division 3 semifinals.
Travis Booth, Ontario Christian, Jr.
Grant Hockin, Damien, Jr.
Jimmy Lambert, San Dimas, Sr.
Garrett Dean, Alta Loma, Sr.
Kevin Riley, Los Osos, Sr.
Jordan Abernathy, Damien, Jr.
Daniel Sandoval, Chino, Sr.
Anthony Ayala, Fontana, Sr.
Austin Harvey, Chino Hills, Sr.
Matt Nishanian, Ontario Christian, Sr.
Austin Berglund, Etiwanda, Sr.
Jacob Cauffman, Don Lugo, Sr.
Ryan Mota, Kaiser, Jr.
Parker Tormey, Don Lugo, Sr.
Sam Stavang, Bonita, Sr.
Sean Patton, Diamond Bar, Sr.
Richard Brotzman, Carter, Jr.
Adrian Garcia, Montclair, Jr.
Lawrence Armijo, Summit, Sr.
Daniel Milwee, San Dimas, Jr.
Ubaldo Padilla, Rialto, Sr.
Jeremy Giles, Claremont, Sr.
David Osuna, Kaiser, Sr.
Justin Row, Bonita, Sr.
Tyler Robles, Etiwanda, Sr.
Frankie Annunziato, Ontario Christian, Sr.
Anthony Rabito, Ayala, Sr.
Jeremy Steggel, Chino Hills, Sr.
Marcus Helton, Don Lugo, Sr.
Sean Aspinall, Upland, Sr.
Isaias Rosales, Carter, Sr.
Steven Elliott, Alta Loma, So.
Michael Reina, Chino, Sr.
Anthony Reyes, Montclair, Sr.
1. Los Osos
2. Diamond Bar
3. San Dimas
10. Ontario Christian
Arrowhead: Upland Christian
Baseline: Los Osos
Citrus Belt: Redlands East Valley, Redlands
Mountain Valley: Citrus Valley
Montview: Sierra Vista
Mt. Baldy: Chino, Don Lugo, Montclair
Prep: Pasadena Poly
San Andreas: Carter
Sierra: West Covina South Hills
Valle Vista: San Dimas