2018 Team Preview
Baseball- The Cuesta Nine is led by a pair of All Western State Conference (WSC) Pitchers with Connor Davis and Cole Tucker. The duo anchors the Cougars’ starting rotation, while fellow all-WSC pick Jed Moscot holds down the Bullpen with the staff’s lone Southpaw Walt Bolle and talented freshmen Johnny Wiltfang and Braeden Gowdy.
Freshman Backstops Nate Jaura and Ian Irvine will share the catching duties for the Cougars. Both offer the full package of a good glove, strong arm, and a quality bat and should split time.
2017 Team MVP Andrew Navigato remains in the middle of the Cougars’ batting order and in the middle of the infield. Navigato was an All-WSC First Team selection last season and is joined by Freshmen Ruben Mercado and Mason Grotto to give the Cougars three interchangeable slick fielding, good hitting infielders. The Cougars expect to use a pair of power hitters at First Base. Sophomore Nik Pagan and Cal Poly transfer Gabe Barthelmass, who hit from the left and right side, respectively.
The Outfield will be anchored by Redshirt Freshman Zach Berohn in Rightfield and Austin College transfer Chandler Hughes in Centerfield. The Cougars have not settled on an everyday in the final outfield spot, but expect returners Alec Smith, George Sammon, and Brad Caraccioli to be in the mix with Freshman Tysen Delkener
Eleven Cuesta Baseball Players Named All-WSC
SAN LUIS OBISPO (May 10, 2017)— Baseball rode the arms of the best pitching staff in the Western State Conference to second place in the circuit and to five of the team’s 11 all-Western State Conference selections. The Cuesta pitching staff ranked 15th in the state with a 3.33 ERA, which is the third lowest mark in Cuesta History, but had to compensate for the 8th lowest batting average (.236) in the State, which is the second worst ever at Cuesta. The Cougars ended the season in second place in the Western State Conference and posted a 18-22 record on the season. The Cougars played the toughest pre-conference schedule in the State and overcame a 4-12 start to battle for a .500 record and playoff spot the last week of the season. The Cougars came up short on both goals and missed the post-season for only the second time in five-time WSC Coach of the Year Bob Miller’s (376-250-2) 15 years at the helm.
Rotation-mates Cayce Rocco (Santa Maria: Righetti HS) and Cody Luther (Discovery Bay) led the Cougars all season and were both named to the 2017 Western State Conference First Team. Rocco, who completed his third season at Cuesta and first as a starting pitcher, led the Cougars with five wins (against 2 losses) and compiled a 2.99 ERA over 13 starts and 69.1 innings pitched. Luther led the Cougars in starts (14), innings (85.1), strikeouts (77) and ERA (2.95), yet was only 4-2 on the year.
Closer Cole Tucker (Bakersfield) represented Cuesta’s bullpen on the 2017 All-WSC First Team. Tucker spent the season putting out fires in crucial situations with little room for error. He made a team-high 21 appearances spread out over 31.2 innings of work and compiled a 2-3 with a 2.27 ERA. Tucker also led the WSC with five saves, which ranks 6th all time at Cuesta. When he wasn’t coming out of the bullpen to put out fires, Tucker played in the infield and batted .238 in 21 at bats over seven games as a position player.
Shortstop Andrew Navigato (Riverside) was Cuesta’s only position player selected to the all-WSC First Team. Navigato was the Cougars’ impact player this season. He batted at the top of the Cougars’ order and roamed the middle of the field on defense. Navigato was the only member of the team to play in every game and led the team in at bats (153), runs scored (29), extra-base hits (13), stolen bases (16) and, hit by pitch (15). Navigato only batted .229 on the year, but with his speed and ability to get on base he was always a threat to ignite a Cuesta rally. On defense, Navigato possessed magnificent range that covered anything past the pitcher’s mound and from the third baseline to shallow centerfield. His ability to cover ground and gun down runners with his powerful arm made him a pitcher’s best friend and the class of the WSC’s infielders.
Catchers Aidan Nagle (Santa Rosa) and Dante Peretti (Danville) were joined on the 2017 All Western State Conference Second Team by Pitcher Connor Davis (El Dorado Hills) and First Baseman Robbie Silva (Arroyo Grande HS). The Cougars had a glut at the backstop position this season, so both Nagle and Peretti spent significant time at the designated hitter spot. Nagle was selected as the Catcher on the 2nd team, while Peretti got the nod as the DH. Nagle was second on the team with a .291 batting average and led the Cougars with three home runs, while also pacing the team in both slugging (.456) and on-base percentage (.397). Peretti carried the team early in the season, but cooled to a solid .283 average by the end of the year as teams looked for ways to work around him. Davis missed most of the pre-conference schedule, but made eight starts for the Cougars and posted a 2.89 ERA over 53 innings of work. He hurled the staff’s only complete game, but was only 2-4 on the year. Silva led the Cougars with a .294 batting average and anchored the Cuesta infield with his all-WSC Gold Glove at First Base.
Reliever Jed Moscot (Pacific Palisades), Outfielder Jeff Wilson (Thousand Oaks HS) and Second Baseman Stephen Chipman (Pleasanton) were all accorded all-WSC honorable mention. Moscot was second on the team with 26.1 innings out of the bullpen and was 0-3 with one save and a 4.78 ERA. Wilson was the Cougars’ starting leftfielder and batted .272 with ten RBI in 36 games. Chipman led the team with six sacrifice hits and dirt on his uniform. He batted .192 over 25 games.
2017 WSC Baseball Awards
Cayce Rocco- First Team
Cody Luther- First Team
Cole Tucker- First Team
Andrew Navigato- First Team
Aidan Nagle- Second Team
Dante Peretti- Second Team
Connor Davis- Second Team
Robbie Silva- Second Team
Jed Moscot- Honorable Mention
Jeff Wilson- Honorable Mention
Stephen Chipman- Honorable Mention