Baseball's Rudy Navarro Named CCAA MVP
The senior utility player is the first Pioneer in any sport to be named a CCAA Player of the Year
The Cal Sate East Bay baseball team made even more history on Tuesday evening at the 2016 All-California Collegiate Athletic Association awards banquet, which precedes the annual postseason tournament.
Senior Rudy Navarro was the highlight of the night, capturing the 2016 CCAA Most Valuable Player award. He's the first Pioneer in any sport to be named CCAA Player of the Year since CSUEB joined the conference.
Head coach Bob Ralston was selected as the CCAA Coach of the Year after leading the Pioneers to a 30-18 overall record and a share of the North division championship.
East Bay also matched a program record with eight All-CCAA honorees, which was the second-most of any school behind South division champion Cal Poly Pomona (9). Senior catcher Chris Porter and sophomore pitcher Alex Vesia were selected to the second team, while junior Troy Resch (1B), sophomore Jacob Call (RHP), senior Myles Babitt (DH), and juniors Raymond Jones and Marcus Wise (OF) earned honorable mention honors.
Navarro picked up his second career All-CCAA award with a first team nod after completing a remarkable 2016 regular season. He's the first Pioneer to win a CCAA batting title, and his .419 average is the highest by a CSUEB player in the Division II era.
A 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree and two-time CCAA Player of the Week, Navarro boasted 27 multi-hit games for the Pioneers. He also finished among the conference leaders in hits (78), runs (42), doubles (16), runs batted in (38), and on-base percentage (.472).
Ralston becomes the first Cal State East Bay coach to claim CCAA Coach of the Year honors since Jim Spagle (volleyball) in 2010. His Pioneer squad entered this season with relatively low expectations, coming off a 21-26 record in 2015 and returning just two All-CCAA players.
The 2016 Pioneers notched a 30-win season for the third time in the last four years, led by an offense that excelled at getting on base, putting the ball in play, and making productive outs. They averaged 6.5 runs and 10.6 hits per game, led the CCAA in batting average (.316) and stolen bases (70), and set a school record with 26 hits on Feb. 19 vs. Fresno Pacific. East Bay struck out the fewest times in the league, finishing as one of just two CCAA squads to total more walks than strikeouts. They also led the conference and ranked eighth in the nation in sacrifice flies.
The All-CCAA Awards are nominated and voted on by the conference's 12 head coaches. CSUEB's eight honorees matches its total from 2013, when the Pioneers tied their program record with 32 victories. That record is within sight for the 2016 squad as they get set to compete in their first-ever CCAA Tournament on Wednesday afternoon.