Glendale college baseball's Akins named division's player of the year

There was plenty of talented players scattered across the diamond for the Glendale Community College baseball team during another successful season.

The Vaqueros won a second straight Western State Conference South Division title and appeared in the Southern California Regional.

Helping pave the way was sophomore outfielder Jared Akins, who proved to be a consistently clutch performer in the heart of the order for the Vaqueros.

The dynamic Akins batted .379, hit six home runs and drove in 36 runs en route to being named the division’s player of the year for the first time.

“A lot of things worked out well for me and our team,” said Akins, who finished with 55 hits in 145 at-bats and scored 32 runs. “I made some good strides last year and just wanted to improve anyway I could.

“I put in a lot of hard work to help me with my all-around game. You take the approach that you’re never satisfied and keep finding ways to make adjustments at the plate. It’s great to win the award because there are so many talented players.”

Akins, who finished with nine doubles, four triples, 14 stolen bases and a .621 slugging percentage, helped Glendale finish 28-10, 17-4 in the division and also earned a spot on the all-division first team.

Glendale earned the second seed in the regionals before it was swept by 17th-seeded Fullerton in a best-of-three series.

Glendale Coach Chris Cicuto, who led the Vaqueros to their fifth trip to the playoffs in the past six seasons, said Akins stabilized the lineup.

“He carried us a lot throughout the season, especially toward the end,” said Cicuto, who was named the division’s coach of the year. “Jared was our most consistent offensive threat and teams knew that.

“He was always in the middle of some big innings. We’ve had a lot of pitchers of the year in the past, but we haven’t had a player of the year in a pretty long time. So, it’s great to see him receive the award.”

Seven other Vaqueros were selected to the first team: Troy Mulcahey (Crescenta Valley High) at first base, Chris Colarossi at designated hitter, infielders Liam Shibata and Frank Garriola, starting pitcher Ryan Losman and relievers Calvin Christansen and Marco Quintanar.

Mulcahey, a sophomore, finished with a team-high 12 home runs before suffering a thumb injury late in the regular season. Mulcahey batted .294 (30 for 102) with 36 RBI and 22 runs.

“Troy supplied plenty of power while batting fourth and, unfortunately, had the injury,” Cicuto said. “A lot of his home runs came at crucial times.”

Colarosi, a sophomore, hit .379 (58 for 153) with seven doubles, three triples, 21 runs batted in, 20 stolen bases and 42 runs.

“Chris set the table a lot of times by getting key hits and stealing bases,” Cicuto said.

Shibata, a sophomore, batted .326 (31 for 95) with eight doubles, 16 runs, 16 RBI and seven stolen bases.

“Liam played sparingly last year and came back this year and made the most of his opportunity,” Cicuto said. “He went out there and did a lot of things well.”

Garriola, a freshman, hit .342 (50 for 146) with six home runs, 13 doubles, three triples, 41 runs batted in, 38 runs and six stolen bases.

“Frank is a fantastic offensive talent,” Cicuto said. “He drove in a lot of runs and gave us a lift defensively.”

Losman, a right-hander, served as the Vaqueros’ ace. The sophomore went 7-1 with a 3.16 earned-run average in 12 appearances. He struck out 33, walked 22 and yielded 51 hits in 57 innings.

“Ryan had a great year and that’s because he developed into being our most consistent starter,” Cicuto said. “He worked since last summer on his pitches and mechanics.”

Christiansen and Quintanar helped solidify Glendale’s bullpen.

Christiansen, a right-hander, finished 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA. In 14 appearances covering 20 2/3 innings, he struck out 15 and allowed just three runs and 13 hits.

Quintanar, a left-hander, went 2-3 with two saves and a 2.48 ERA in 18 appearances. Quintanar struck out 19 in 29 innings.

“Calvin and Marco were very sturdy,” Cicuto said. “Calvin came back from elbow surgery and proved to be a stopper. Marco gave us a lot of innings and proved to be a top-flight left-hander who got big outs.”

Pitchers Felix Rubi and Joe Torres (Crescenta Valley) were selected to the second team.

Rubi went 3-0 and struck out 14 in 16 appearances. Rubi, a freshman who split time as a starter and reliever, allowed 10 runs and 28 hits and finished with a 3.88 ERA in 26 2/3 innings.

Torres, a freshman reliever, went 0-1 in 14 appearances. He struck out eight and had a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings.

AJ Jimenez, Cristian Montes and Kamalu Neal received honorable mention.

Jimenez, a freshman closer, went 2-1 with seven saves. He struck out seven and had a 1.76 ERA in 15 appearances.

Montes, a freshman outfielder, batted .266 (33 for 124) with five doubles and 23 runs batted in.

Neal, a sophomore catcher, hit .245 (12 for 49) with six doubles and 13 RBI.

Glendale sophomore shortstop Ricky Perez (Burbank High) received gold glove recognition. Perez had 106 assists and 59 putouts to finish with a .959 fielding percentage.

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