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Coaches reward CHS, CV baseball standouts
Ceres Highs Alan Marquez was voted Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player. Marquez starred at pitcher and on offense. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High varsity baseball player Alan Marquez surprised everyone, even himself.

The senior pitcher/infielder was named Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player in a vote by the league's head coaches in Livingston on May 13.

"He deserved it," Bulldogs head coach John Bussard said. "He was solid all year in all facets of the game. He really stepped up. He didn't even want to pitch this year. He ended up having a great year."

Ceres High teammates Brad Bussard, Brett Conway, Jimmy Bates, Brent Bussard and Dylan Canatsy, and Central Valley's Raul Godinez, Kendel Johnson and Jorge Alvarez also earned WAC recognition.

"I walked out of the all-conference meeting happy as heck," coach Bussard said.

Added Brad Bussard: "Our team had a great year."

Marquez elevated his level of play during his final season with the Bulldogs.

Alan compiled a conference-best 5-0 record on the mound. He ranked second in ERA (1.98) and third in strikeouts (25).

He also led the WAC in batting average (.594), slugging percentage (.750) and on-base percentage (.698).

Marquez collected one triple, three doubles, eight RBIs and 11 runs.

"I had my goals set before the season started," Alan said. "The main one was to hit above .400. I also wanted to get more RBIs than last year. I just wanted to be more productive. I didn't think I was going to win it (WAC MVP). It's a huge accomplishment. It boosts my confidence."

Brad, Brett, Jimmy, Raul and Kendel earned first-team, all-league honors.

Brad compiled a 4-0 record with a conference-leading 0.52 ERA, to go along with 23 strikeouts at pitcher.

He batted .244 with two doubles, nine RBIs, nine runs and one stolen base and a .950 fielding percentage.

"He truly became a pitcher this year, not a thrower," John Bussard said. "Brad's the most competitive kid I know. People don't realize the pressure he's under."

Conway, a junior catcher, batted .452 with three doubles, 10 RBIs, eight runs and a .986 fielding percentage.

"The kids believed in Brett," coach Bussard said. "He evolved into a third coach for us."

Bates, a senior third baseman, batted .378 with two triples, two doubles, 10 RBIs, 13 runs and one stolen base.

"Jimmy is not the most athletic kid," John Bussard said. "He played at his full potential every day. He worked his tail off. He's a great kid."

Godinez, a senior infielder/pitcher, batted .486 with two doubles, eight RBIs, six runs and three stolen bases.

Raul compiled a 2-3 record with a 3.82 ERA and league-leading 41 strikeouts.

Johnson, a senior outfielder, batted .293 with two triples, one double, eight RBIs, eight runs and two stolen bases.

Brent, Dylan and Jorge were selected to the WAC Second Team.

Brent Bussard batted .406 with one triple, two doubles, nine RBIs, 13 runs, one stolen base and a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Brent, a junior outfielder, missed earning first-team accolades by one vote.

"He really emerged as one of our top-notch guys," John Bussard said. "He did a fantastic job for us. He led the outfield. He didn't make an error all year."

Canatsy, a senior first baseman, batted .405 with three doubles, 10 RBIs, nine runs, one stolen base and a 1.000 fielding percentage.

"Dylan has always had the ability to do well," coach Bussard said. "He grew up this year. We were hard on him because we wanted him to succeed."

Alvarez, a junior catcher, batted .400 with three doubles, seven RBIs, five runs.