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New crop of players, same goal; Broncos set sights on title

Program Information

D1 Section Titles: 1 (2013)

Twitter Handle: @CNBroncoBSBL

2020 record: 8-2

Coach Information

Head Coach: Jeff Prieto

Record at School: 52-19 (fourth year)

Assistant Coaches: Mike Bumatay, Brandon Simon, Zak Colby, Jesse Gonzalez

Key Departures:

Riley Cooper, LHP/1B

  • (Arizona)

Ryan O’Hara, RHP/OF

  • (UC Davis)

Chase Pinheiro, Catcher

  • (Fresno Pacific)

Nolan Inouye, OF

  • (The Master’s University)

Cason Brownell, 2B

  • (The Master’s University)

Freddy Flores, SS

  • Three-year varsity player

Key Returners

Sr. Caden Larsen, LHP

  • Four-year varsity player who projects to be the ace on the mound. A lower body injury at the start of last season, in addition to COVID, kept him from joining a dominant senior pitching staff in 2020.

Sr. Rees Kent, 3B/RHP

  • Signed with St. Mary’s. One of the best third basemen in the section. Third year varsity player who will be a mainstay near the top of the Bronco’s lineup. Though he does not have a ton of varsity innings on the bump, he will be counted on to pitch in 2021. Well-spoken and does all the little things right. Can also play second base or shortstop in a pinch.
Rees Kent

Sr. Blake King, 1B

  • Led the team in HRs last season. Coaches praise his leadership ability. On track to play in 2022 at Fresno City.
Blake King

Sr. Ryan Vance, OF/RHP

  • One of the fastest players in the section who can run down most balls in the outfield. Will also be counted on to produce on the mound with a good fastball and impressive off-speed.
Ryan Vance

Jr. Isaiah Munoz, SS

  • Committed to Saint Mary’s. Munoz’s bat should vault him towards the top of the order this spring. His glove has continued to improve over the last year. As a sophomore last season, he battled for playing time behind two seniors.
Isaiah Munoz

Jr. Cole Fellows, Infielder (Committed to Columbia)

  • Committed to Columbia. Has made physical gains and gotten bigger, faster and stronger since last spring. Left-handed hitter who has power potential and projects to hit in the middle of the order. Like Rees Kent, has the ability to play a number of positions on the infield as could end up eating innings on the mound as well.

Newcomers to watch

Sr. Jonah Wong

Sr. Nate Lucas

Sr. Ivan Ruiz, Infielder

  • Has impressed at the plate this preseason. He has the ability to play anywhere in the infield and with so many position guys being counted on to pitch, Ruiz could slot in at a number of spots. Will also serve as the backup catcher.

Jr. Derrick Cruz, Catcher

  • Big-time arm behind the dish to go along a gritty attitude when it comes to blocking balls in the dirt. Very consistent hitter with gap power. Ball jumps off his barrel a little bit differently compared to others his age. Don’t be surprised to see him committed, or signed, with a college by this time next year.
Derrick Cruz

Jr. Hunter Jansen, OF/LHP

  • Was expected to compete for playing time as a sophomore last season, but a minor elbow injury caused a change of plans. Expected to be ready to go this spring where he can play any of the outfield spots. Toolsy in the field and at the dish. Once all elbow concerns are alleviated, Jansen has the potential to be one of the top pitchers in the program.

Jr. Collin Deborde

Jr. Nick Shows, Utility

  • Natural third baseman, but a full infield will put him as a plug-and-play option at many spots. His bat forces the issue as a guy who could gain regular playing time somewhere. In addition to the infield, Shows has taken reps in the OF in the preseason and has impressed with his ability in the outfield.

Jr. Kyle Jimenez, RHP

  • Will be given the opportunity to become one of CN’s top guys on the mound. Coaches praise his ability as a strike thrower and a competitor.

Frosh. Jayden Hertel, RHP/Infielder

  • Hertel is just a freshman but is already being recruited by a handful of national powers. He could see time on the mound—where he’s stood out the most this preseason. Coaches rave about the way he carries himself as he “acts like he belongs” on a varsity diamond.

The Bottom Line: Traditionally under Coach Prieto, Clovis North’s pitching and defense have been the key to success. Unfortunately, when the 2020 season was cut short, the program was robbed from what could have been one of the best 1-2 punches in section history on the mound (Riley Cooper-Ryan O’Hara). This season might see the roles flipped. While the pitching talent is still there, much of it is unproven outside of Larsen and it will be up to the Clovis North bats to distance themselves from everyone else. There’s speed and power potential throughout the lineup which creates different sets of challenges for opposing teams. If all things go to plan, the Broncos should be near the top of the TRAC standings and will be looking for a high seed come time for the D1 playoffs.

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