Grizzlies sweep up top honors
Befitting a baseball team that went undefeated in the Southern Sky Conference, Ashland swept all three top honors and had five first-team selections overall in the recently announced all-league awards.
Senior Grizzlies Owen Baldrica and Sam Gaviglio were named the Southern Sky's player of the year and pitcher of the year, respectively, while Don Senestraro was honored by his peers as SSC coach of the year.
The trio proved instrumental in leading Ashland to a 16-0 record in conference play.
"The kids played well and all their hard work paid off for them, and it's continuing to pay off for them," said Senestraro, whose Grizzlies will play Thurston at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Class 5A state championship in Keizer. "We're really happy with the way the voting went."
Baldrica, a senior shortstop, sported an eye-popping 30 RBIs in league play with a .491 batting average and 17 runs scored.
"He provided tremendous leadership and batting in that No. 3 hole he outscored the whole league," said Senestraro, whose team allowed only 28 RBIs during the SSC slate. "He's just a great kid also. He's very coachable and worked his tail off all winter long to get better. I'm tickled to death for the kid."
The same could be said for Gaviglio, who turned it on his senior year to post a 6-0 league record and 0.84 ERA. The right-hander struck out 55 in 411/3 innings in the SSC.
"Sam has really blossomed this year," said Senestraro. "Last year he struggled and didn't have the year he wanted to have. He maintained his composure and I think it all started for him last summer when he came in and closed out a few games for us in (American) Legion ball. He just slammed the door shut, and I think from that point on the kid just became a stud."
Also earning first-team accolades for Ashland were junior pitcher Charlie Sebrell (6-0, 1.21 ERA), senior third baseman Luke Jannusch (.343, 15 runs) and senior center fielder Max Gordon (.409, 23 runs, 16 RBIs).
"Jannusch just had a great year, batting fourth to protect Owen and defensively he was just a monster," said Senestraro. "He just got every ball that came his way."
Sebrell was positioned as the No. 1 starter for Ashland until midway through the season when it became apparent how much Gaviglio had developed into a lock-down pitcher.
"He was very receptive to that and still came out with a 1.21 ERA, so that shows there really wasn't much difference there between the two of them," said the coach. "I look forward to coaching him next year because I know he's going to work hard this summer and come out being even better next year, kinda like Sam did this year."
As for Gordon, Senestraro said the senior's steady play in center field and spark plug efforts in the leadoff spot have been pivotal to his team's success.
"Max played tremendous defense and was the catalyst for our offense," said the coach. "Max got this team going. He's high emotions, high energy ... there's just not enough adjectives to describe Max Gordon. When Max goes, we go."
As for his own honor, Senestraro was quick to deflect attention to those surrounding him.
"I'm very blessed to have great, talented kids and an amazing coaching staff," he said. "I have a coaching staff that works second to no one in work ethic and wanting to get the job done. That's what it's all about. No one man can do anything, so I'm just blessed with those two things on my side."
Crater catcher Zach Boskovich was the only repeat first-teamer on the all-Southern Sky squad, with the standout senior batting .532 with 15 RBIs, 21 runs and 12 stolen bases.
He was joined on the first team by senior teammates Ryan Baxter (first base) and Bryce Peila (shortstop). Baxter hit .439 with 14 RBIs and 16 runs, while Peila hit .380 with 19 RBIs and 17 runs in their first season as varsity starters.
Eagle Point senior third baseman Frank Charlton (.380, 16 RBIs, 11 runs) and junior outfielder Garrett Davis (.400) were also named to the first team.
Rounding out the top squad were Mazama senior Jared Nelson (.388, 12 RBIs, 13 runs) and Klamath Union sophomore Seth Brown (.345).
All-Southern Sky Baseball
Player Pos. Team Yr.
Charlie Sebrell P Ashland Jr.
Sam Gaviglio P Ashland Sr.
Zach Boskovich C Crater Sr.
Ryan Baxter 1B Crater Sr.
Owen Baldrica IF Ashland Sr.
Luke Jannusch IF Ashland Sr.
Bryce Peila IF Crater Sr.
Frank Charlton IF Eagle Point Sr.
Max Gordon OF Ashland Sr.
Jared Nelson OF Mazama Sr.
Garrett Davis OF Eagle Point Jr.
Seth Brown UT Klamath Union So.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Owen Baldrica, Ashland.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR — Sam Gaviglio, Ashland.
COACH OF THE YEAR — Don Senestraro, Ashland.
Player Pos. Team Yr.
Craig Kathol P Crater Jr.
Jake Waardenburg P Klamath Union Sr.
Lewis Sebrell C Ashland Jr.
Seth Brown 1B Klamath Union So.
Nicholas Hall IF Ashland So.
Nate McDaniel IF Mazama Jr.
Jake Whisler IF Klamath Union So.
Jordan Higbee IF Crater Sr.
Craig Kathol OF Crater Jr.
Kos Ray OF Crater Jr.
Garrett Tygerson OF Ashland Jr.
Hayden Miller UT Ashland Jr.
Frank Charlton, P, Eagle Point, Sr.; Bruce Sanford, P, Crater, Jr.; Darin Adams, C, Eagle Point, Sr.; Sam Gaviglio, 1B, Ashland, Sr.; Aaron Bocchi, 1B, Mazama, Jr.; Johnny Wood, IF, Crater, Sr.; Mason Aspera, OF, Klamath Union, Jr.; Ryan Smith, OF, Eagle Point, Sr.; Christian Massey, OF, Crater, So.; Steven Ruvalcaba, UT, Crater, Sr.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail email@example.com