MC pitcher Longworth earns CVC honor

Left-hander named co-Pitcher of Year

__lt__a href="mailto:slynch@mercedsunstar.com"__gt__slynch@mercedsunstar.com__lt__/a__gt__May 13, 2013 

Russell Longworth knows the history.

The Merced College sophomore pitcher just never anticipated being a part of it.

The Blue Devils have been blessed with a run of aces the last half decade, with their accomplishments earning considerable recognition in the form of postseason honors.

Shawn Stuart, Jake Sisco and Derrick Velazquez have all taken home some of the Central Valley Conference's top awards the last three years with a couple Pitcher of the Year honors and one co-MVP.

Longworth helped keep the streak alive.

The southpaw built upon a stellar freshman campaign, developing a devastating fastball-changeup combo that elevated his pitching to the next level.

Longworth became the team's innings eater, going 6-3 with a 2.43 ERA and a team-high 66 strikeouts. He tossed 22 2/3 more innings than anyone else on the team and was named the co-CVC Pitcher of the Year.

"It's a good feeling to keep that streak going," Longworth said. "I wasn't expecting it, but I'm very pleased.

"I feel like I made huge strides throughout the season. I put in a lot of work, and it's nice to feel like it payed off."

Longworth was one of five Blue Devils to be named to the CVC first team and one of 10 to be recognized.

Fellow pitchers Carl Jameson and Ryan McDaniel also made the first team. Jameson was 5-2 on the year and led the team with seven saves. McDaniel tied Longworth for the team lead with six wins and led MC with a 1.89 ERA.

Shota Nagatomi (.317 average, team-high 33 runs and 13 stolen bases) and Ricky McColloch (team-best .352 average, eight doubles, four triples and 26 RBIs) were named to the first team as field players.

Ryan Cumberland and Garrett Boothe made the second team, while Brent Backlund, Ryan Emerald and Matt Farias were honorable mentions.

Longworth, McColloch and Nagatomi were also named to the Gold Glove team.

SOFTBALL

Gabriella Espinosa's dual-threat ability earned her a spot on the CVC first team.

The MC pitcher was 4-6 with two saves on the season. She also hit .351 and led the She-Devils in runs (32), walks (26) and stolen bases (seven).

MC's Louisiana Brasil and Mari Valdez both made the second team, and Jae Bondi and Dominique Godoy were honorable mentions.

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