After finishing the year with a 28-1 record, winning a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship to go along with the No. 1 ranking in Division III in the state by CalHiSports, the Los Banos High baseball team wasn’t short on MVP candidates.
Trent Mallonee, Kody Cardoza or Max Ramirez were all worthy contenders after stellar seasons.
One of the toughest decisions Los Banos coach Pat Fuentes may have made all season was deciding on his Western Athletic Conference MVP nomination.
“Max was 6-0 with a 0.00 ERA and batted over .500. Every time Kody pitched he gave us a chance to win. Trent, being at the top of the lineup, he was the spark plug he’s been for us the past four years. They fed off him, I thought,” Fuentes said.
Ultimately, Mallonee got the nod and the Tigers senior was named the WAC Most Valuable Player of the second consecutive season.
“He had a great season,” Fuentes said. “He improved on hitting .500 the year before. He batted .565 and he led by example, being a senior.”
Mallonee finished with 17 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 30 RBIs and 47 runs scored to go along with his lofty .565 batting average.
Cardoza and Ramirez didn’t go unrewarded for their efforts.
Cardoza was named the Pitcher of the Year in the WAC and Ramirez was named Offensive Player of the Year along with Beyer’s Brady Cardozo.
Cardoza finished with a 13-1 record on the season with a 0.76 ERA. He struck out 111 batters in 74 innings pitched. Ramirez hit .516 with four home runs and 29 RBIs.
“Going into this season, we knew this year could be special,” said Fuentes, who was also named the WAC Coach of the Year. “If you would have told me we would finish 28-1 and be state champions, I’ve had a hard time believing it. But this group did put in the work to be 28-1 and state champs.
“They showed up daily and every day they got better on the field.”
Los Banos also had two other players named to the all-WAC first team in catcher Chase Wilson and outfielder Landon Ramos. They were joined on the first team by Beyer’s Justin George, McKay Bundy and Daniel Lee, Mountain House’ Jai Nayvar and Andres DeLeon, Ceres’ Brock DeWitt and Davis’ Marques Gonzales.
The second team was comprised of Michael Pacheco (Lathrop), Josh Pernetti (Ceres), Justin Prestridge (Ceres), Brock Moore (Ceres), Xavier Rodriguez (Davis), Colben Boyarsky (Davis), Jack Arragona (Los Banos), Jack Statzer (Beyer) and Kyle Dias (Mountain House).