Coast Union senior pitcher Jake McAvoy has been chosen Most Valuable Player of the Broncos, and was also designated MVP on the Coast Valley League. Meanwhile, head coach Brian Machado was named the league’s Coach of the Year after piloting the Broncos to a perfect 10-0 record in CVL play.
McAvoy had a 5-2 record on the mound, with a miserly 1.70 ERA. At the plate, the senior hit .386 with 18 runs batted in; he also stole 10 bases in 10 attempts.
Seniors Gehrig Kniffen (.460, 15 RBI) and Tommy Moreno (.264, 10 RBI) were first-team on all-CVL selections, as was junior Lane Sutherland (.404, 10 RBI). Freshman Chase Volz (.265, 17 RBI) and sophomore Jez Lawson (.289, 7 RBI) earned second-team all-CVL honors. Freshman Will Stephenson (.600, 8 RBI) received honorable mention.
McAvoy was also named the team’s MVP, heading the Coast Union awards, while Moreno was named the team’s Outstanding Defensive Player and Kniffen was named Outstanding Hitter.
The Broncos Coach’s Award went to Alan Mendez. Machado explained that this award goes to the player who “helps out in any way for the team, a guy who never complains and looks for things to do.” The coach added that Mendez has “a great attitude toward teammates, and is a student in good standing.”
Asked to offer his thoughts on the season (Broncos were 10-0 in CVL play and 2-10 against all other teams), Machado said he felt the team “lacked chemistry. These kids didn’t jell together.”
“You take a group of decent players, and if they have good chemistry, they’ll be better. But if you take good players with no chemistry, they’re not going to get much better.”
The team needed more production, Machado continued. “We were reloading this year, and we’re losing four seniors who were starting players. We’ve got some big holes to fill next year.”
In evaluating this year’s sophomores — Lawson, Auggie Johnson and Jack MacKinnon — Machado said he believes that next season they’ll step up and “get this thing rolling. We’ll be all right next year. We’ll be rolling.”
Assistant coach Steve Kniffen agreed with Machado’s assessment about chemistry. “We never jelled as a team.” He noted that some ballplayers “were never able to put their personal differences aside and jell as a team.”
Kniffen also put forward the view that many of today’s male student athletes at Coast Union “don’t know how to work hard. Many of them literally do not know how to make their bodies do the work that the kids themselves do not really want to do.”
The lack of “discipline” that Kniffen and other coaches see in today’s ballplayers contributes to that lack of chemistry.
“Working hard is what you have to do to overcome bad chemistry,” Kniffen said.
He added that it can be hard work for a player to bond with another player he may not like as a person, but that he must accept and support as a teammate so the chemistry can help propel the team.
Stay tuned in 2016 to see whether the next Bronco team can build the necessary chemistry to get past the first round of CIF Division 7 playoffs. “Our goal is to win Division 7,” Machado emphasized. “That’s always our goal.”