Newcomer Drew Stahl has emerged as a leader with Ceres High School’s varsity baseball program.
“It’s definitely an honor to be on the team,” said Drew, a senior pitcher/third baseman.
Stahl played one season of varsity baseball at Beyer prior to transferring to Ceres High.
Drew’s family moved from Modesto to Ceres two months into the 2014-15 school year.
“I hardly knew anything about him,” Bulldogs head coach John Bussard said. “He’s fit right in. He’s become a true leader.”
Stahl made 13 appearances at pitcher for Ceres High during the regular season.
He compiled a 7-2 record with a 1.55 ERA, five complete games, two saves, 81 strikeouts and 25 walks in 631/3 innings of work.
Drew’s limited opposing hitters to a .181 batting average.
“Coach Bussard shows a lot of faith in me on the mound,” Stahl stated.
“Obviously, he throws pretty hard,” Bussard said. “He’s got a little funky delivery. It throws people off.”
A standout on offense as well, Stahl’s posted a .371 batting average with one homer, four doubles, 19 RBIs and 17 runs.
“He’s made a huge impact,” Bulldogs pitcher/shortstop Brad Bussard said. “I’m not surprised. Merrick Price (Ceres High senior pitcher/infielder) played baseball with him when he was younger. He always said he was a good player. He’s proven he’s one helluva pitcher. He’s a great ball player. He’s got good chemistry with our core of seniors. He’s just a good guy to have on the team.”
Drew relished the opportunity to compete against his old team on April 13 in Modesto.
Ceres High edged Beyer 5-4 in non-league play.
The Bulldogs and Patriots finished first in the Western Athletic Conference and Modesto Metro Conference, respectively.
“That was my personal battle,” said Stahl, while talking about facing Beyer.
Drew started at pitcher against the Patriots.
Stahl gave up two runs (one earned) and four hits with one strikeout and one walk in four innings while earning a no-decision.
Drew batted 1-for-4 from the plate with three RBIs.
Brad Bussard was the winning pitcher.
Bussard came on in relief in the fifth inning. He allowed two runs and four hits with one strikeout and two walks.
“We wanted to get the win for him,” Brad said. “It’s his old school. It means a lot to him.”
Stahl also helped lead Ceres High past tradition-rich Central Catholic 7-4 at the Art McRae Tournament on April 8.
Drew pitched a complete game.
He tallied nine strikeouts and two walks in seven innings.
Stahl allowed four runs and scattered seven hits.
Drew was supposed to pitch sparingly against Central Catholic.
“Everybody was amped up to play them because of all of their success,” Stahl said. “My slider was working really well. I had a lot of batters off-balance.”
Stated John Bussard: “He’s got an elastic arm. He recovers fast.”
Ceres High and Central Catholic, which relocated to the Valley Oak League as part of section realignment, shared the WAC championship last season.
Ceres High ended a 23-year title drought in conference play.
The Bulldogs repeated as WAC champs this year.
Third-seeded Ceres High (22-5) will face No. 6 Galt (19-8) in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoffs today at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi. The contest will get underway at 4 p.m.
The winner will face either No. 2 Lincoln or No. 7 Rosemont in a best-of-three series on Saturday.