Despite making the playoffs and being one and done for the second straight year, five players of the Cerritos Falcons Baseball team were named first team all-conference, while another three received honorable mentions.
Headlining the list is freshman outfielder Mark Pena, who led the team with a .309 batting average to go with one homerun and 11 RBIs.
Pena is happy with his accomplishment, but feels like he can do better.
“It’s an achievement, but I’ve still got to work harder because I have another year still, so let’s see how good I can do next year,” Pena said.
Pena was able to maintain a batting average above .300 for most of the season and had at least one hit in 19 of the final 20 games he played in, 10 of which were multi-hit games.
He added, “[All the] hard work in the off-season and just trusting myself helped out a lot.”
The other four first team members were:
Sophomore pitcher Kyle Carpenter, who posted a 5-2 record on the mound to go with a 1.67 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 75.2 innings pitched.Fellow sophomore pitcher Ryan Arambula also received first team honors after going 6-6 with a 3.06 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 82.1 innings pitched.Sophomore relief pitcher George Mendoza receive a first team nod as well after having compiled a 2-0 record to go with a 1.79 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 45.1 innings pitched, while providing omens work out of the bullpen.Sophomore third baseman Victor Guadalupe received the first team nomination due to his bat like Pena. Guadalupe led the Falcons in homeruns with five and RBIs with 27. He finished the year with a .271 average to go with his homerun and RBI totals.Freshman catcher Gary James received an honorable mention but was disappointed he didn’t get a first team nod.
James said, “I feel good. It feels good to be recognized, it just sucks that I didn’t get first team or second team at all.”
He added, that he has come a long way and has exceeded all of the expectations anybody had for him, including himself.
James said, “I exceeded [the expectations]. I just wanted to be the best I could be. I didn’t expect that much because I was at OCC (Orange Coast College) last year and I got cut the first month when I was over there.”
Freshman relief pitcher Jerald Johnston also received an honorable mention after posting a 1-2 record to go with a 2.29 ERA, with 16 strikeouts and six saves.
Johnston only played and hurled in senior year of high school, so for him this is still rather new.
“I feel like I did a lot better than what I thought. I was just coming in and planning on making the team after being only a one-year varsity senior for my high school so it was kind of cool to get recognized,” said Johnston.
Like Pena, Johnston credited a lot of hard work in the off-season as a big reason for his success.
Johnston emphasized how much pitching Coach Ben Gonzalez helped him and his fellow pitcher out, “Coach Benny did a really good job with the pitchers. He helped me distinguish a better following on my fast ball with like a two-seamer. I just have to work on getting better with lefties.”