By Fred J. Robledo
There were plenty of amazing seasons for East San Gabriel Valley baseball players, but it was hard to match the total package of Nogales High School pitcher and catcher Jonathan Guardado, who helped lead the Nobles to the CIF Southern Section divisional semifinals for the first time since 1978.
Guardado pitched the Nobles to the semifinals, throwing a two-hitter in a 3-1 quarterfinal victory over Capistrano Valley in the Division 4 playoffs, but the Nobles fell in the semifinal game, spoiling a chance for Guardado to possibly lead the Nobles in a championship final.
Guardado, who is signed to play at the University of Arizona next, finished the season a perfect 14-0 with a 0.33 ERA, allowing just four earned runs in 84 innings. He also threw four no-hitters and finished with 145 strikeouts
When Guardado wasn’t pitching he was catching for the 27-3 Nobles, and also led the team in several offensive categories, batting. .488 with 36 RBIs and 13 doubles.
For his efforts, Guardado has been named the Tribune’s 2017 player of the year.
Guardado also was named the Montview League player of the year, and was selected to USA Today’s High School All-American second team.
Walnut coach Paul Acosta led the Mustangs to the divisional championship game for the second time in three years, and this time the Mustangs sealed the deal, defeating Righetti 13-2 to claim the Division 3 championship to give the Mustangs their first title since 1982.
Acosta, who won Tribune coach of the year honors in 2015 after knocking off previously undefeated and USA Today’s number one San Dimas in the CIF semifinals, has been named the coach of the year for 2017, giving him top honors in two of the last three years. Walnut also won the Hacienda League and finished 25-9.
The 2017 Tribune first team was loaded with 15 standouts, led by five amazing pitchers.
South Hills junior Brandon Dieter, who won player of the year in 2016 after leading the Huskies to the Division 2 title, had another amazing season, earning Palomares League co-most valuable player honors while dominating on the mound and at the plate.
Dieter finished 9-2 with a 0.85 ERA while also hitting .355 with 17 RBIs and seven doubles.
Glendora’s Hayden Pearce was equally impressive for the Tartans and shared Palomares MVP honors with Dieter.
Pearce finished 9-2 with a 1.24 ERA and batted .333 with 10 RBIs while helping the Tartans to the Division 2 quarterfinals.
Bishop Amat pitcher Isaac Esqueda was named the Del Rey League pitcher of the year and helped the Lancers win the league title and advance to the second round of the Division 1 playoffs. Esqueda finished 6-3 with a 1.01 ERA while also belting five doubles and homer.
San Dimas’ Lorenzo Llorens also was named to the first team after leading the Saints to the Valle Vista league title and earning league MVP honors. Llorens was 9-2 with a 1.33 ERA while also hitting .434 with 24 RBIs.
Walnut’s Brandon Godoy, only a junior, was named the Hacienda League MVP while also leading his team to the Division 3 championship. Godoy finished 11-1 with a 1.57 ERA while also batting .355 with 18 RBIs.
Godoy’s teammate, senior Andre Alvarez, was the lone catcher named to the first team after earning Hacienda first-team honors while batting. 417 with 24 RBIs and three home runs for the CIF champions.
The first team included six infielders, which featured South Hills senior Jacob Amaya, a Cal State Fullerton commit who was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of Major League Baseball’s draft last week.
Amaya, a shortstop, was a Palomares first team selection for the fourth straight season, batting. .323 with 15 RBIs and three homers.
Bishop Amat shortstop and Vanderbilt-bound Jayson Gonzalez was named MVP of the Del Rey League and deservedly so after hitting . 375 with five homers, four doubles, three triples and 14 RBIs in helping the Lancers to the Division 1 second round.
Nogales shortstop and Montview first-teamer Steven Ordorica had the highest batting average on the first team, batting a whopping .517 with 19 RBIs and seven doubles.
Glendora junior shortstop Bryce Wooldridge, named to the Palomares first team, batted .383 with 21 RBIs and 14 doubles. And Damien third baseman Harrison Spohn, a Baseline first-teamer, batted .379 with seven doubles and three triples.
Charter Oak infielder Dino Miranda rounds out the first team infielders. He was selected to the Hacienda first team, batting .431 with 18 RBIs and nine doubles.
There were three outfields named to the first team, which includes Damien’s Isaiah Paige, South Hills’ Karlos Morales and San Dimas’ Dante Palacio, who all made first team all league.
Paige batted .313 with 14 RBIs while Morales hit .291 with 13 RBIs, three doubles and two triples.
Palacio batted. .372 with 24 RBIs and nine doubles.
2017 TRIBUNE ALL-AREA BASEBALL TEAM
Player of the year: Jonathan Guardado, Nogales, Sr.
Coach of the year: Paul Acosta, Walnut
Pitcher: Isaac Esqueda, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Pitcher: Brandon Dieter, South Hills, Jr.
Pitcher: Brandon Godoy, Walnut, Sr.
Pitcher: Haydon Pierce, Glendora, Sr.
Pitcher: Lorenzo Llorens, San Dimas, Sr.
Catcher: Andre Alvarez, Walnut, Sr.
Infield: Steven Ordorica, Nogales, Sr.
Infield: Bryce Wooldridge, Glendora, Jr.
Infield: Harrison Spohn, Damien, Sr.
Infield: Jacob Amaya, South Hills, Sr.
Infield: Jayson Gonzalez, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Infield: Dino Miranda, Charter Oak, Sr.
Outfield: Karlos Morales, South Hills, Sr.
Outfield: Isaiah Paige, Damien, Sr.
Outfielder: Dante Palacios, San Dimas, Sr.
Pitcher: Matt Rodriguez, Wilson, Sr.
Pitcher: Julian Rodriguez, Charter Oak, Sr.
Pitcher: Elias Jauregui, Pomona, Jr.
Pitcher: Mario Huizar, Sierra Vista, Jr.
Catcher: Jesus Maldonado, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Catcher: Daniel Genna, South Hills, Jr.
Catcher: Jarrett Lindsay, Bonita, Sr.
Infield: Arty Zambrano, Wilson, Sr.
Infield: Joseph Bahna, San Dimas, Sr.
Infield: Andy Rodriguez, Walnut, Sr.
Infield: Jacob Gonzalez, Glendora, Fr.
Infield: Julian Valera, El Monte, Sr.
Outfield: Jacob Garcia, Walnut, Sr.
Outfield: Michael Landeros, Nogales, Jr.
Outfield: Dylan Zavala, Walnut, Sr.
Final Top Ten
1. Walnut (25-9)
2. Glendora (26-7)
3. South Hills (22-8)
4. Nogales (27-3)
5. Bishop Amat (20-10)
6. San Dimas (21-6)
7. Charter Oak (17-6)
8. Wilson (19-8)
9. Sierra Vista (16-8)
10. Bonita (15-11)
Del Rey: Bishop Amat
Miramonte: Pomona, Garey
Mission Valley: El Monte
Palomares: South Hills, Glendora
Valle Vista: San Dimas