Buchanan Baseball primed for deep run in 2021
D1 Section Titles: 6 (2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016)
Twitter handle: @Buchanan_Bears
2020 record: 9-1
Head Coach: Brad Fontes
Record at School: 35-5 (third year)
Assistant coaches: Joe Kemp, Bryan Marsoobian, Jim Wilson, Ross Dodds, Braden Frankfort, Ian Ross, Dominic Topoozian, Randy Asador
Sr. Isaac Ayon, RHP
Sr. Nick Marchini, Infield
Sr. Austin Young, C
- Three-year starter who is one of the hardest workers a coach will come across. If he’s not at the field, you can usually find him in the weight room. Pound for pound, not another baseball player in the section is as strong as Young. Big arm behind the dish with gap-to-gap power to go with it. A true battery for a team.
Sr. Temo Becerra, SS/RHP
- Three-year starter. Verbally committed to Stanford. Becerra has a huge arm from shortstop and will also be counted on out of the bullpen in 2021. Long strider on the bases who can also get to balls deep in the six hole.
Sr. Josh Williams, OF
- Signed with UCSB. Williams was the everyday centerfielder in 2020 and will lockdown that spot again this year. Left-handed hitter with the ability to drive the ball the other way.
Sr. Sky Collins, OF
- Split time in the outfield last season. You would be hard-pressed to find another player in the section as fast as Collins. Very impressive overall athlete who is crafting his raw baseball skills each day.
Sr. Christian Williams, Infielder/RHP
- A player who really started to come on before the shutdown last year, but is primed for a big senior season. He has worked in at first base, but has also turned heads on the mound. Don’t be surprised to see Williams be in the rotation consistently as he’s turned himself into an extremely competitive option.
Jr. Corbin Ybarra, OF
- Verbally committed to Washington State. Ybarra started most games between each of the corner outfield spots as a sophomore in 2020. Huge pull side power at the plate and a big arm helps separate him from most others his age.
Jr. Evan Wallace, Utility/RHP
- Verbally committed to UC Irvine. Wallace can play anywhere the Bears ask him to. Whether it’s up the middle, in the outfield, or on the mound, Wallace has proven to be a competitive option wherever he’s needed. He can drive the ball to all fields and his aggressiveness on the base-paths help put pressure on defenses. Though he may not be a household name quite yet, expect that to change in the coming months.
Jr. Max Bernal, 1B/LHP
- Bernal found himself in most lineups as a sophomore last year between pitching, first base, or a DH. He led the team in HRs a season ago and has put on muscle in the offseason. He’ll get the chance to hit in the middle of the order as well as challenge for one of the top spots in the rotation as well.
Jr. Drew Smith, 3B/RHP
- Another player who’s part of the special junior class at Buchanan. Smith got plenty of run as a sophomore and is looking to expand his role in 2021. Already impressing with his arm strength at the hot corner, Smith’s bat has also come along in the offseason. With a linebacker-like frame, this is a player who will garner college interest as the season gets going.
Soph. JP Acosta, Middle Infielder
- One of the few in program history to start as a position player as a freshman. Acosta is extremely toolsy and has a level of feel to the game that you cannot teach. He can play both spots up the middle and is a switch hitter at the dish. Acosta has great baseball bloodlines, works his tail off, and should be a mainstay in the lineup throughout the year.
Newcomers to watch:
Sr. Braxton Berryman, RHP
- Righty has shown promise with good stuff. Consistency could lead to more innings.
Jr. Jett Ruby, Infielder
- Verbally committed to Fresno State. Though Ruby’s name is known around baseball circles, he falls into the “newcomers” category because he missed most of his sophomore season with an injury. When healthy, his left-handed bat will push to be in the lineup. Despite not having many varsity innings under his belt, he’s impressed enough during the offseason to garner high praise.
Jr. Sam Tookoian, RHP
- Verbally committed to UCSB. Another player with limited varsity exposure, but his frame helps project big things in the future. Tookoian is listed at an imposing 6’5, 220 pounds and has shown the ability to crank up to 90MPH when he’s on. He’s still developing and learning, but he’ll have a chance to earn innings if his stuff stays consistent.
Jr. Austin Watson, RHP
- Watson transferred from El Diamante during his sophomore year, but had to sit out due to CIF rules a season ago. He was primed to be eligible for the TRAC season that never happened. Over the last year, Watson has physically matured and has been able to get his fastball consistently in the upper 80s. The Bears have lots of pitchers primed to take the next step and Watson is right there with all of them.
Jr. Braxton Cobb, LHP
- Lefty who knows how to find the strike zone. Could see innings on the mound, especially in this TRAC format.
Soph. Colton O’Toole, Infielder/RHP
- Verbally committed to Long Beach State. O’Toole also plays football so he’ll be splitting his time at the start of spring. During the offseason he’s made a ton of growth, running his fastball up to the mid 80s. Don’t be surprised if O’Toole forces his way onto the mound as an underclassman. His attitude and competitiveness are not that of a normal sophomore.
Soph. Jayden Mandal, Infield/RHP
- Verbally committed to Fresno State. Mandal is considered one of the top sophomores in the state with a huge arm from the mound. Currently playing football so won’t be relied upon until later in the spring.
The bottom line: There’s no way to spin this. The roster that Buchanan currently has is Section Championship quality. Now, the most talented roster doesn’t always lead to a championship. The Bears are likely in the best spot to adapt to the new TRAC format where teams play three times a week. Though there isn’t a dominant force coming back on the mound (unless someone takes a leap), the depth is there with a number of solid options. Buchanan will look to win games with an explosive offense that has plenty of depth to keep guys fresh. In a one game playoff, anything can happen, but look for the Bears to contend for the top overall seed come playoff time.