Ten Cuesta Baseball Players Named All-WSC
SAN LUIS OBISPO (May 18, 2018)— Baseball finished in 3rd place in the Western State Conference and returned to the post-season after a one-year absence. The Cougars opened the post-season with a dominant performance in the Regional Play-In against #18 Southwestern, but lost a pair of close games against CCCAA State Title favorite Orange Coast in the next round and ended the season 22-19 overall. The Cougars’ success on the diamond translated into several post-season awards for the team as ten players earned all-Western State Conference honors, including 2018 Western State Conference Player of the Year Andrew Navigato (Riverside), who also earned All-State honors.
2018 Cuesta College Male Athlete of the Year Andrew Navigato (Riverside) was also named the 2018 Western State Conference Player of the Year. Navigato flourished after switching to the right-side of the infield this season and established himself as the WSC Circuit’s elite player. He led the WSC in RBI and OPS (On-Base+Slugging Pct), while also ranking among the State’s best hitters. He led the Cougars in Runs (44), Hits (65), Triples (5), RBI (52), and Batting Average (.387). His season also ranks #15 all time at Cuesta in runs produced per game (2.20) and his 1.115 OPS also ranks #18, as well as the third highest mark over Coach Bob Miller’s 16 years at the helm.
Starting Pitcher Johnny Wiltfang (Clovis HS) was named to the 2018 All-Western State Conference First Team and carried the Cougars into the post-season. He started the season slow and entered Western State Conference play with modest a 2-1 record, but hit his stride and posted a 6-0 mark against the loop. Wiltfang started two of the Cougars’ three playoff games and hurled 14 innings in the post-season with a 3.21 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. He was 9-2 on the season, plus one save, with a 4.02 ERA and led the team with 60 strikeouts over 71.2 innings pitched.
First Baseman Nik Pagan (San Bernardino) enjoyed a break-out sophomore campaign and was named to the 2018 All-Western State Conference First Team. Pagan connected for only one home run in the Cougars’ first 17 games, but added eight more over the next 24 contests, including two in the playoffs. He ended the season with 9 home runs and was second on the team with 35 driven in, while also batting a solid .286. Pagan developed into one of the State’s biggest long-ball threats (12th in the State) and only two players have hit more home runs in a season during Coach Miller’s tenure than Pagan’s nine round-trippers this season.
Outfielder Alec Smith (Santa Cruz) missed the 2017 season with an injury and played sparingly over the first six weeks of the season, yet once installed in the line-up he turned into a 2018 All-Western State Conference First Team performer. Smith’s .346 batting average was second on the team, however he also claimed the 2018 Western State Conference Batting Crown. Smith’s .452 average was the top mark within the conference’s 20-game schedule. He also hit safely in all three of the Cougars’ playoff games and ended the season with an intact seven-game hitting streak.
Outfielder Chandler Hughes (Santa Barbara: Dunn School) was named to the 2018 All-Western State Conference First Team as one of the Cougars’ key components. Hughes played centerfield and batted leadoff, while being one of three Cuesta players to see action in all 41 games. He batted .318 on the season and stole a team-high 14 bases, while adding some pop at the plate with three home runs. He was also third on the team in both runs scored (36) and walks (20).
Starting Pitcher Cole Tucker (Bakersfield) and Third Baseman Mason Grotto (Clovis HS) were both accorded all-Western State Conference Second Team honors. Tucker was an all-WSC First Team selection as a Reliever in 2017, but packed on the innings this season as the Cougars’ most consistent starter. He led the team in Games Starter (14), Innings Pitched (87.2), and Earned Run Average (3.02). Tucker was 4-3 on the season and stepped back into the bullpen to record one save this season. His career ERA of 2.87 ranks 4th all time at Cuesta and his six saves rank 7th all time. Grotto stepped right into the top of the Cougars’ batting order and a starting spot in the infield. He batted .309 on the season and led the Cougars with 44 runs scored and 17 doubles.
Relief Pitchers Jed Moscot (Pacific Palisades) and Walt Bolle (Davis HS) were joined by Outfielder Zack Berohn (Lafayette) as all-WSC Honorable Mention picks. Moscot is a two-time all-WSC honoree and led the Cougars with 39 innings out of the bullpen. He was 4-3 with one save and a 4.85 ERA on the year. Bolle was the only Southpaw on the Cougars’ pitching staff and saw action in a team-high 24 games. He led the team with three saves and posted a 0-2 record with a 7.00 ERA. Berohn was a mainstay in the outfield and the middle of the Cougars’ batting order. A multi-tooled player, Berohn posted a team-high .988 fielding percentage, mostly in rightfield, was second on the team in stolen bases (10), and third on the team in both batting average (.329) and extra-base hits (16).
2018 Western State Conference Baseball Awards
Andrew Navigato- WSC Player of the Year, All State First Team
Johnny Wiltfang- All-WSC First Team
Nik Pagan- All-WSC First Team
Alec Smith- All-WSC First Team
Chandler Hughes- All-WSC First Team
Cole Tucker- All-WSC Second Team
Mason Grotto- All-WSC Second Team
Jed Moscot- Honorable Mention
Walt Bolle- Honorable Mention
Zack Berohn- Honorable Mention