Modesto Junior College’s baseball team had three players earn special recognition from the Big-8 Conference on May 2, including 2017 Ceres High School grad Blane Abeyta.
Abeyta, a 6-foot-3 185-pound sophomore pitcher, earned first-team all-league honors.
“I found out Thursday night,” he said. “To have that recognition is awesome. I’m so thankful. I’ve been working my butt off.”
Abeyta compiled a 5-4 record with one save and 60 strikeouts in 651/3 innings.
He led all Modesto JC pitchers in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.
“This is the first full year I was committed to pitching,” said Abeyta, who contributed at catcher and out of the bullpen as a freshman with the Pirates in 2018. “I definitely enjoyed the experience.”
“You have to have a different mentality (being a relief pitcher),” he added. “When I woke up, it was headphones in and I didn’t talk to anybody. Not even my family. I was in game mode.”
Abeyta filled a major role as Modesto JC secured its first playoff berth since 2014.
The Pirates posted a 24-17 overall record during the regular season.
Modesto Junior (12-12) placed fifth in the Big 8 Conference standings.
The Pirates lost twice (4-1, 4-2) at San Rosa Junior College in the first round of the Northern California playoffs this past week.
“It was very challenging,” Abeyta said while talking about his team’s schedule. “We competed against some really good teams.”
Abeyta was named a Preseason All-American heading into his sophomore year at Modesto JC.
He made his final career start in the Pirates’ 4-1 loss to San Rosa College in the NorCal playoffs on May 3.
Abeyta allowed four runs and eight hits with two strikeouts and no walks in eight innings.
“I tried to pitch to the best of my ability,” he said. “For the most part, I did really well this year considering this is my first time pitching as a starter. It was an honor to be on this team with all of these great guys.”
Abeyta ranked second in the Big-8 Conference with five saves during his first season with the Pirates.
He posted a 1.62 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 16 innings.
Abeyta will enroll at the University of Nevada at Reno this fall.
He signed a national letter of intent with the Wolf Pack in November.
Nevada posted a 29-24 overall record and placed first in the Mountain West Conference standings (20-9) in 2018.
“It really is a dream come true,” Abeyta said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted. I’m just glad I get to continue my education and keep playing baseball. Coming out of high school, I had no offers. I thought about not playing. I was just going to go to school and work.”