The Saddleback baseball team just finished up a sensational season as the Gauchos posted a 33-14 record and came up one win shy of a berth in the state tournament. Two members of the team were named to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-Region Team.
Tanner Brubaker and Willie Lajoie were two of the many reasons Saddleback had such a successful season and both were recognized this past week for their work on the field. Brubaker was named the Southern California Pacific Division Pitcher-of-the-Year while Lajoie was named to the second team at first base.
Brubaker finished 13-3 on the season with a microscopic 1.70 ERA. He had 96 strikeouts in 121.2 innings of work, pitching three complete games. His best game of the season came against Cypress College when he threw a two-hit shutout, striking out 10 Chargers with no walks in a 7-0 win. Brubaker committed to UC Irvine before the beginning of the season and is expected to get drafted in the next few days as part of the MLB Draft.
Lajoie had one of the best freshman seasons in Saddleback history when he batted .365 with a .458 on-base percentage and .506 slugging percentage. His 50 RBI this season ranks 24th for a single season while his 65 hits ranks 25th. Lajoie had a hit in 38 of his 46 games this season, including a 9-game hitting streak from February 13 to March 9. He had three hits in seven different games this season, including a 3-for-5 performance with five RBI in a 23-2 win at Bakersfield.
The ABCA All-America team was first recognized in 1949 and now includes nine divisions: NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA Divisions I, II and III, Pacific Association Division, and high school. ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove teams were first recognized in 2007.
The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. With over 9,600 members it represents all 50 states and 25 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth. The 75th annual ABCA Convention will be held Jan. 3-6, 2019 in Dallas, Texas.