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THE TIMES ORANGE COUNTY PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

The Times 1998 All-county Baseball Team

June 09, 1998

CATCHER: Gerald Laird, La Quinta Sr.

The Times player of the year for the second consecutive season. Laird was the first county player to average .600 for a full season. He left his name all over the county record list with six career and season records. Led La Quinta to the section Division IV final. Has signed to attend Arizona State, and was drafted in the second round by Oakland.

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 108 68 8 46 .630

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OUTFIELDER: Bobby Crosby, La Quinta Sr.

While overshadowed by Laird, Crosby provided plenty of offense for the Aztecs--finishing second in the county in hits--as well as shoring up La Quinta's infield. He was selected in the 35th round by Anaheim. "His bat was a plus," Coach Dave Demarest said. "And he played some of the best shortstop we've ever had here."

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 112 58 6 32 .518

*--*

FIRST BASEMAN: Dave Fischer, Servite Sr.

While some of the Friars' bats struggled in the early going, Fischer, batting fifth, delivered many important hits and runs. He wound up tied for first in RBIs, and led the team in hits. His defensive range at first and third, along with a strong arm, were also a plus. "He was very consistent on offense," Coach Tom Tereschuk said.

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 86 46 1 46 .535

*--*

INFIELDER: Pat Manning, Mater Dei Jr.

Woe to the pitcher who left a mistake out over the plate to Manning, who had one of the top home run strokes in the county. In the South Coast League clincher against Trabuco Hills, Manning's skills were on display; three hits including a home run, three RBIs, and helped turn three double plays. "His best is yet to come," Coach Bob Ickes said.

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 80 37 9 32 .463

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INFIELDER: Randall Shelley, Santa Margarita Sr.

Shelley produced a brilliant season in helping the Eagles win the Sea View League title and reach the second round of the Division III playoffs. Had three hits and scored the winning run in the league clincher against Woodbridge. Considering UCLA and USC, and drafted (22nd round) by Texas. "He was our leader," Coach Tip Lefebvre said.

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 66 35 8 28 .530

*--*

OUTFIELDER: Ryan Achterberg, Corona del Mar Sr.

Giving up a final season of football to rediscover the swing that saw him average .413 in 1996, Achterberg was one of the county's hidden jewels. His power helped lift the Sea Kings to their first playoff berth (Division IV) since 1992. Enjoyed a two-homer game in an upset of league champion Santa Margarita. Headed to Princeton.

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 76 39 8 23 .513

*--*

OUTFIELDER: Dave Cosato, La Habra Sr.

The key offensive figure in the Highlanders' resurgence, which led to their first Freeway League title since 1988. Cosato's average never dropped below .500 despite often being pitch around, and he made only one error in 26 games. "He hustled every single pitch. Sometimes it's tough to get kids to do that," Coach Mate Borgogno said.

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 76 43 4 24 .566

*--*

OUTFIELDER: Jeff Kinney, Mater Dei Jr.

Provided an ample threat behind Manning in the Monarchs' power-packed lineup. Originally a catcher, Kinney converted to the outfield out of need, and made no errors after the third game of the season. Against Diamond Bar in the Division I playoffs, Kinney had two hits and four RBIs. "Definitely our most consistent hitter," Coach Bob Ickes said.

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 69 33 6 32 .478

*--*

DESIGNATED HITTER: Blair Lucas, El Toro Sr.

At the plate, Lucas drove opponents batty with his ability to hit line drives to all fields. He had the top Sea View League batting average (.620), was the league co-MVP with Shelley, and was the main cog in driving the Chargers to a second-place league finish. A career .440 hitter, Lucas is headed to Southeast Missouri State.

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 73 41 4 39 .562

*--*

UTILITY: Tommy Duarte, Canyon Sr.

Canyon reclaimed the Century League title and won the Loara Tournament in part do to the efforts of Duarte, the county co-leader in home runs. He had three hits, including two homers, and drove in four in the Comanches' playoff game against Rubidoux. Duarte is the fourth different Canyon player to make the team in the last four years.

1998 batting record

*--*

AB H HR RBI BA 84 34 11 32 .405

*--*

PITCHER: Jason Garcia, La Quinta Sr.

His bat (.465, three homers, 35 RBIs) would merit All-County consideration. But Garcia's pitching prowess was even more pronounced. He threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game, and a one-hitter against La Canada St. Francis in the playoffs. "An example of what can happen when you work hard," Coach Dave Demarest said.

1998 pitching record

*--*

IP W-L SO BB ERA 76 12-2 73 20 1.57

*--*

PITCHER: Pete Montrenes, Ocean View Sr.

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