Baseball players honored

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By Glen Willett / Staff Writer

By Glen Willett / Staff Writer

The Riverside City College baseball team found itself well represented with seven players being named to the 2011 All-Orange Empire Conference Team.

Outfielder Cade Gotta was named to the first team; and Billy Nottingham, who split time between catcher and first base this year, also received first team honors.

Outfielders Franked Torres and Aaron LaFountaine, middle infielder David Kiriakos as well as pitchers Chris Neff and Matt Chabot were all named to the second team.

Nottingham’s .330 batting average was good enough to lead the Tigers and he showed a true knack for being able to come through in the clutch, batting .439 with runners in scoring position.

Gotta, LaFountaine and Torres teamed together to form one of the more exciting outfield combinations in the state both in the field and at the plate.

LaFountaine flashed seemingly endless range over the course of the year, robbing batters of extra base hits on several occasions. The speedy center fielder was also an excellent team player, running out every ground ball and even beating out some bunt attempts.

Gotta was third on the team with a .313 batting average with 22 runs batted on the season. Maybe more intimating than his presence at the plate was his throwing arm in right field for the Tigers. Gotta kept opposing base runners honest all season long.

Torres was the king of extra base hits for the Tigers. Leading the team in both doubles and triples, with 12 and four respectively, as well as finishing second on the team with two home runs. Torres also led the Tigers with a .521 slugging percentage.

Kiriakos spent most of the year at shortstop before moving to second base toward the end of the season and showed proficiency at both positions defensively. One of the table setters for the Tigers’ lineup Kiriakos boasted a .446 on base percentage on the campaign and was often able to take advantage of the opportunity, leading the team with nine steals.

Neff showed tremendous growth as the season went along, developing a devastating breaking pitch. The freshman finished the season with a 3.40 earned run average and will likely be a key part of the pitching staff next season.

Chabot was the workhorse of the Tigers’ pitching staff, leading the team with 48.2 innings pitched.  The freshman was second on the team with 32 strikeouts and was a big part of coach Dennis Rogers’ staff in this season, a role he should look to reprise in 2012.

A notable exclusion from the list of Tigers players honored was pitcher Pedro Cota.

Cota was spectacular as a freshman for RCC, despite a horrific injury earlier in the season in which he was struck in the face with a ball off the bat of an opposing player.


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