Los Banos

LB grad McDonnell named to JC state academic baseball team

Baseball is a game that likes its statistical figures, but Merced College junior and Los Banos High graduate Daniel McDonnell didn’t much of a dent in the Blue Devils’ statistical charts this spring, with just 30 at-bats.

But he put up a certain number off the field – a 3.8 grade-point average this semester (and a 3.65 average for his time at MC), which put him on the California Junior College All-Academic baseball team.

“I feel like it was a big accomplishment,” McDonnell said. “I take pride in my education.”

McDonnell, who batted .288 his senior year in 2011 as the Tigers’ catcher, had two hits and five runs in 30 at-bats this year for Merced.

“I redshirted my first year, then played my freshman year, and I actually had a decent year,” McDonnell said. “I rode the bench, but when my name was called I came through. My average was over .300.”

He did that while taking 20 units, which included night classes on the days he didn’t have games. The business major leaves Merced College with two AA degrees in business-related fields, and has his sights set on continuing his education at the University of La Verne in southern California (where, coincidentally, LBHS running back Garrett Mentz went after his graduation in 2012).

Merced College coach Chris Pedretti said the California Community College Athletic Association started the academic all-state team in 2008, and McDonnell is the fourth Blue Devil, and first since 2011, to make the team. He said McDonnell sets a good example for the other players on the team.

“He did a good job for us. He’s a real mature kid, and intelligent,” Pedretti said. “He was a good stabilizing force for our young team.

“He’s been outstanding the whole time he’s been here at Merced College, and the fact that he’s been a good student has really opened some doors for him.”