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Dominguez, Hawk baseball teammates feted
• Five Central Valley High School baseball players garner conference recognition
Chris Garcia and Fernando Dominguez
Five members of Central Valley’s baseball team earned Central California Conference honors this spring, including Chris Garcia and Fernando Dominguez. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Nicholas Dominguez filled a major role while leading Central Valley’s baseball program to a third-place finish in the Central California Conference standings this season.

Hawk teammates Chris Garcia, Fernando Dominguez, Edmund Stewart and Mason Whitworth were all key contributors.

Nicholas Dominguez and Co. were recognized for their outstanding play during the CCC’s year-end head coaches’ meeting on May 16 in Livingston.

“Having five all-league players is a huge accomplishment for our program,” Central Valley leader Brad Bussard said. “Those kids worked hard and got noticed for it. People are starting to recognize us as a good program. League championships are great. We want to hang a blue (Sac-Joaquin Section) banner in our gym.”

Nicholas Dominguez was selected to the CCC First Team.

The junior pitcher compiled a 5-1 record with a 1.83 earned-run average, 14 strikeouts and two saves in 302/3 innings.

“He pretty much shut down our league. He did a great job throwing strikes. He competed. He kept us in a lot of games.”

Nicholas Dominguez entered the season as the Hawks’ No. 3 pitcher.

He became Central Valley’s No. 1 starter as Chris Garcia was limited to just 101/3 innings on the mound this year due to arm fatigue.

“Throughout league, Nick was pretty much our ace. He kept throwing well and earning innings.”

Chris Garcia, Fernando Dominguez and Edmund Stewart were named to the CCC Second Team.

Garcia, a junior first baseman who batted third in the Hawks’ lineup, posted a batting average of .312 with six doubles, six RBIs, five runs and a .500 slugging percentage.

He ranked first on the team in doubles and slugging percentage, second in RBIs, third in batting average and hits, and fourth in runs.

“He took a big jump, offensively, this year. He was our clutchest hitter. He made us a lot better.”

A  CCC honorable-mention pitcher as a freshman, Garcia has logged just 191/3 innings on the mound the past two seasons because of arm issues.

“Chris found a different way to contribute to the team this year,” said Bussard. “He wanted to be there for his team. The potential has always been there. He took hitting just as serious as pitching. It was definitely a battle at first.”

Fernando Dominguez, a sophomore catcher who batted second in Central Valley’s lineup, earned second-team all-conference honors for the second year in a row.

“I thought he was a clear-cut first-team (selection). I was shocked when he wasn’t.”

Fernando Dominguez batted .306 with one double, three RBIs and seven runs.

He ranked second on the team in hits and runs, and fourth in batting average and RBIs.

“He did a lot better this year. Kudos to him. He works his tail off. He’s always in the gym. He plays elite travel ball. He has a bright future.”

Stewart, a senior third baseman who hit cleanup, batted .316 with two doubles, seven RBIs and seven runs.

He ranked first on the team in hits and RBIs, and second in batting average and runs, and third in doubles.

Stewart compiled a 2-1 record with a 0.78 ERA and 11 strikeouts while contributing at pitcher.

“He took on a big leadership role this year. He was our vocal guy on the field. He guided our youth. He made plays left and right.”

Stewart was a four-year varsity starter.

“He’s definitely going to be a presence we’re going to miss."

Whitworth, a sophomore who batted leadoff for the Hawks, was a CCC honorable-mention selection.

He hit .286 with one double, five RBIs and eight runs.

Whitworth ranked first on the team in runs, and third in RBIs and hits.

“He filled a big role in our lineup,” Bussard said. “He got on base a lot and grinded out at-bats. He had a really good year in my eyes.”

Central Valley amassed an 8-4 record against CCC competition.

The Hawks started five sophomores during the second half of the season.

Central Valley will move from the CCC to the Western Athletic Conference as part of the section’s league realignment plan during the 2024-25 school year.

“Our future is definitely bright."