Aces high; Clovis West baseball looks to finish in 2020
The Golden Eagles have pieces in place to win their first Section title since 2004 with two of the top pitchers in the Central Section in Noah Galvan and Ixan Henderson.
Head Coach: Kevin Patrick
Record at School: 257-119-2 (13th year)
Career Record: 338-189-2
Key Returners (stats from last season):
Sr. Noah Galvan, RHP
- Signed with Fresno State. 55.2 IP, 6-2 record, 1.63 ERA, 61K.
Sr. Ixan Henderson, LHP/1B
- Signed with Fresno State. 32 IP, 42K. Hitting: .270, 7 doubles.
Sr. Hayden Driggs, C
- Signed with St. Mary’s. .291 batting average, 20 RBI.
Sr. Brad Senneway, SS
- .333 batting average, 6 doubles, 12 RBI.
Sr. Art Navarette, RHP/1B
- .297 batting average, 7 doubles. 34.1 IP, 3.47 ERA.
Sr. Erick Budd, RHP
- 39.1 IP, 5-1 record, 2.49 ERA, 34K.
Karson Simas, SS
- Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 25th round of MLB Draft
Michael Garabedian, Utility
- Two-year starter.
Gordon Vaughn, OF
- Started every game as an outfielder and hit in the middle of the order all year in 2019.
Newcomers to watch:
Sr. Chauncey Turney, OF
Soph. Nathan Baeza, 3B
Frosh. Cayden Munster, IF/OF
There’s no secret what the 2020 Golden Eagles will be driven by—pitching, pitching, and more pitching.
Clovis West comes into the season with over 160 varsity innings returning on the mound and feel that they have a real shot to get back to the Valley Championship game for the second time in three seasons.
With the offense expected to be better than a season ago, the questions lie with the defense—where coach Patrick’s squad might be very young, but talented.
Offense: Though Clovis West lost some key contributors, four of their top five hitters return— Brad Senneway, Hayden Driggs, Art Navarette, and Ixan Henderson. Juniors a season ago, who all hit above/near .300, they should see these numbers improve as seniors. Senneway, who was first team All-TRAC last year, is the steadiest. Though he doesn’t have the power numbers, his middle approach keeps him as consistent as anyone in the section. Driggs has shown the ability to leave the yard and those numbers should continue to climb this season. However, expect Navarette and Henderson to make the biggest leap on offense as both lefties have huge pull side power potential. In addition, look for Clovis Sports Report All-Clovis football player Tanner Ewell to factor into the lineup as an outfielder/DH while Jacob Haros continues to improve after receiving 31 varsity ABs as a freshman last year.
Defense: This is where the questions lie with the 2020 Golden Eagles. Senneway will be making the transition from third base to shortstop for his senior season, while Haros should be penciled in at second base after splitting time between 2B and SS a season ago. Things get interesting after that. Third base is expected to be occupied by sophomore Nathan Baeza–who did appear in 13 varsity games in 2019. Navarette will play first base when he’s not pitching, though he isn’t super experienced with varsity innings at that position. Freshman Cayden Munster has also been seen sharing time with Navarette at first. Ixan Henderson can make up for a lot by roaming center field with his athletic ability, but one corner spot is a question mark. Chauncey Turney (brother of 2017 grad Travis Turney) will have a chance to win a job as a senior while Munster could also be a factor in the outfield. Turney did have one home run last year in limited at-bats. Tanner Ewell found a spot in left field in the middle of the season last year and figures to lock down that spot again. Three-year varsity letter winner Hayden Driggs returns behind the plate, which is a nice safety net to have early in the season as others get more comfortable.
Pitching: Noah Galvan, Ixan Henderson, Art Navarette, and Erick Budd all return and plenty of varsity baseball experience under their belts. Galvan and Henderson, who are both Fresno State signees, can run it up to 90MPH with their fastball. Galvan is the proven ace. For Henderson, he’ll need to be far more consistent than he was a season ago. Though he has devastating stuff when he’s on, he struggled with control in 2019—surrendering 25 walks in 32 IP. Still, Henderson showed enough promise to warrant D1 attention and will look to take over as the #2 in 2020. In addition, Navarette, who made some starts last year, proved to be most effective coming in relief. Returning with five saves, Navarette is another guy who can run it up at times, velocity wise, but can also control his slider well enough to use it wherever he is in the count. Finally, Budd pitched the second most amount of innings last year and his precise location will allow him to carve out innings. Budd uses his slow, methodical delivery to pitch to contact to get people out. Once league play rolls around, Clovis West will not need other names to emerge in this department. Four pitchers of this caliber are enough to win the TRAC.
Bottom line: Though there are familiar names scattered throughout the defensive lineup, most players are either still young, or have limited experience at those specific positions. A pitching staff like this should dominate in tournament settings, so look for Clovis West to get off to a hot start in the Coca-Cola Classic. If the defense can make the routine play consistently, it won’t take many runs for the Golden Eagles to win 20+ games and challenge for a Valley Championship.
Key non-league games:
2/11 home vs. Memorial
- Former Golden Eagle, Memorial head coach JD Salles brings his high-powered offense to face dominant CW pitching.
2/15 home vs. Bullard
- Knights will come in fired up after CW eliminated them from playoffs last year.
2/28 home vs. Bear Creek
- Bruins won 24 games a season ago and could provide an early season test.
2/29 home vs. Frontier
- Big matchup for playoff seeding. Titans beat CW a season ago.
3/7 home vs. Righetti
- Another playoff seeding matchup. Warriors have scheduled multiple Clovis teams and will need wins to start earning respect throughout the section.