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Baker, Dent chosen for Valley League first team

Torralba, Smith on second team

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Valley League baseball coaches placed four Fallbrook High School players on all-league teams.

Mitchell Baker and Jaxon Dent were part of the Valley League first team. The second team included Derick Torralba and Tanyon Smith.

"It shows you our depth," Fallbrook coach Pat Walker said of having four all-league players. "These kids were a huge part of our finishing strong."

The Warriors won their final three regular-season games, two of which were Valley League contests, to finish the regular season with a 15-13 record. Fallbrook was 5-7 in league play for fourth in the standings. The Warriors then won five of their first six games in the double-elimination CIF Division IV playoffs which placed Fallbrook in the final against Mission Bay, who won the championship match by a 5-4 score to finalize Fallbrook's overall record at 20-15.

"They are really talented baseball players," Walker said of his all-league players.

Baker played outfield, third base, and pitcher during his senior year. During the Warriors' 12 league games he batted .457 with 16 hits including four doubles in 35 at-bats. Baker scored three runs and drove in 11 during league play. His plate appearances also included a sacrifice fly, three walks drawn, and reaching base twice as a hit batter to give him an on-base percentage of .512, and Baker only struck out twice in those 41 plate appearances.

His four mound outings in league play totaled 12 1/3 innings; his earned run average was 4.54 and he allowed only one home run to the 59 batters he faced while striking out 12 of them. Baker's overall season statistics included a .308 batting average, a .425 on-base percentage, 32 hits, 16 walks drawn, nine doubles, 12 runs scored, 23 runs batted in, two stolen bases, a 3.14 earned run average in 35 2/3 innings, one home run allowed to the 152 batters he faced, and 36 batters struck out. Baker led the team in hits, runs batted in, and doubles.

"Could have easily been the player of the year with the numbers he put up," Walker said. "Had a really strong finish for us and was a huge part of us getting to the CIF finals."

Dent was a sophomore in 2022. "Played a tremendous third base for us defensively," Walker said.

Walker also entrusted Dent in the leadoff batter role. In Valley League play, Dent had a batting average of .282 with 11 hits in 39 at-bats; he drew two walks and had a .317 on-base percentage; he sacrificed runners on three league occasions, and he scored nine runs while driving in three.

His overall batting average of .309 reflects 30 hits including two doubles in 97 at-bats, his 16 walks drawn and four times reaching base as a hit batter gave him an on-base percentage of .427; his 27 runs scored led the team as did his six sacrifice bunts and his eight stolen bases, and he drove in 14 runs.

"Pretty excited that he's only a sophomore," Walker said.

Torralba was a senior. "A big deal to our team," Walker said. "Played good second base for us all year long."

Although Torralba only batted .188 in league play with six hits in 32 at-bats he drew seven walks and was hit twice for an on-base percentage of .366. He also had a sacrifice bunt; one of his hits was a double, and he scored seven times while driving in two teammates. Torralba batted .228 the entire season with 21 hits including four doubles in 92 at-bats; his .360 on-base percentage also includes 14 walks and five times being a hit batter; he advanced four runners with sacrifice bunts; he scored 17 runs while driving in five, and he stole six bases.

Smith pitched during his junior season until elbow tendinitis concluded his pitching season with one inning April 28 against Oceanside. "He was our number one pitcher on the mound for most of the season," Walker said.

His arm injury didn't prevent Smith from continuing as the team's designated hitter. "Offensively he was our number three hitter, big part of our offense," Walker said.

Smith threw 13 innings in league competition, allowing eight hits and five walks along with a hit batter but no runs and striking out 18 of the 49 batters he faced. Smith also picked off a baserunner in league play. He held league opponents to a .186 batting average. Smith had an overall 0.79 earned run average, allowing four earned runs along with seven unearned runs in 35 1/3 innings pitched. Smith faced 122 batters during the overall season and struck out 54 of them while walking 12 and hitting six. No batter homered off Smith in 2022, he allowed 28 hits, and he picked off two runners.

His batting average as a junior was .301 with 31 hits including six doubles in 103 at-bats. Eight walks drawn and four times reaching base as a hit batter gave him a .371 on-base percentage. Smith had one sacrifice bunt, one sacrifice fly, 17 runs scored, 16 runs batted in, and four stolen bases.

Only two of Fallbrook's four all-league players were seniors. "We get two of them back along with a lot of other young players," Walker said.

 

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