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Central Valley standout pitcher/shortstop Ruben Casas wins MVP award
Senior Ruben Casas posted a 5-1 record with a 3.14 ERA, 45 strikeouts and two complete games while starring at pitcher for Central Valleys varsity baseball team. - photo by Dale Butler

Central Valley High School's varsity baseball program accomplished several firsts this year.

The Hawks qualified for the playoffs.

Four-year starter Ruben Casas was voted Western Athletic Conference MVP on May 8 in Livingston.

He beat out Ceres High's Jimbo Pernetti and Los Banos' Delvonte Moore.

Ruben played a major role while leading Central Valley to a third-place finish in the WAC standings (6-6).

"He's just a baseball guy," Central Valley head coach Greg Magni said. "He was good at more than one thing. He could hit, play defense and pitch. He led us in everything. That's what made him so special. He'll go down as one of the best players we've ever had. It's a very short list."

Casas pitched, batted third and played shortstop this season.

Ruben compiled a 5-1 record with a 3.14 ERA, 45 strikeouts and two complete games.

He hit .400 with two homers, three triples, four doubles, four stolen bases, 10 RBIs and 10 runs.

"He really did earn it," Magni said. "We're very proud of him. Offensively, he ranked in the top five in pretty much everything. He worked super hard. He's going to do great in college. Obviously, I'm going to be following him."

Hawk teammates Michael Ereso (Jr.) and Raul Godinez (Jr.) were both named to the WAC First Team.

Ereso, Central Valley's No. 2 hitter, batted .344 with one double, one stolen base, nine RBIs and 10 runs.

Godinez batted .324 with two RBIs, nine runs and three stolen bases while hitting leadoff.

"They're excellent, all-round baseball players," Magni said. "I can't say enough about what they mean to the program."

Ceres High's John Bussard was voted WAC Coach of the Year.
The Bulldogs compiled a 10-2 record on their way to a runner-up finish.

"I'm happy that happened," Magni said while talking about Bussard's recognition. "I thought he really deserved it."
Said Bussard: "I'm not in it (coachng) for individual awards. But it's an honor to be recognized by your peers."
Ceres High's Jimbo Pernetti, Brandon Arevalos and Haydon Turpin earned first-team, all-conference honors.

"You knew what you were going to get out of them," Bussard said. "Obviously, they're going to be missed."
Pernetti, a senior shortstop, batted .559 with one homer, five doubles, nine RBIs and 15 runs and four stolen bases.
"He put up some really good offensive numbers," Bussard said.

Arevalos, a senior outfielder, batted .541 with four homers, one triple, four doubles, 17 RBIs and 12 runs.

"He was a very clutch hitter for us this year," Bussard said.

Turpin, a senior pitcher, compiled a 5-1 record with a 1.72 ERA, one shutout and four complete games.

"He's one of the hardest working kids I've ever had," Bussard said. "He was a positive influence in the dugout. Pitching wise, he put up phenomenal numbers. He was one of the top pitchers in the league."

Bulldog sophomore pitcher/infielder Brad Bussard was selected to the WAC Second Team.

Bussard had a 5-1 record with a 1.65 ERA, 36 strikeouts, one shutout and two complete games.

Brad hit .356 with one triple, two doubles, five RBIs, 12 runs and five stolen bases while batting leadoff and playing second base.

"Obviously, he had a solid year for us," coach Bussard said. "He really grew up. The biggest difference with him is he dedicated himself to the weight room. He got a lot stronger. He still has room to improve."