Turlock is home to standout stars on more than just a high school level. Three Turlock High graduates have continued their baseball career on the home turf of California State University, Stanislaus where they compete in front of a hometown crowd in arguably the toughest conference in NCAA Division II athletics.
Freshman Gavin Gaffaney, sophomore Tyler Murphy and junior Nick Voumard all finished their high school baseball career on the diamond of Turlock High School and transitioned across town to continue their career on the Warrior baseball field.
“I grew up in Turlock on an almond ranch and I love being able to continue playing in front of my hometown,” said Voumard. “A lot of my friends went away to school, but I love Turlock and am at peace with my decision to stay here; I would’ve found myself right back here anyway.”
Voumard finished the 2015 season with a 6-2 record on the mound and says he has learned a lot from the two years of college baseball he has under his belt.
“The best way you learn is when you struggle a little, and I had some points where I did well and some where I didn’t,” he said. “Just being more prepared mentally has helped me a lot.”
The mound is set for Murphy as well, with his efforts topped at a 4.2 ERA last season, the third best on the team.
Murphy has been on a long road to recovery since 2013 when he was in a boating accident on Lake Tulloch. He suffered several lacerations to his right hand and right leg, and took a year and a half off to recover before returning to play baseball at St. Mary’s College.
“I went away at first and then came back; being at home is just a better environment,” he said. “I’m able to keep relationships that I’ve had for all my life and I also get to meet new teammates from all over.”
Murphy says he still isn’t 100 percent on his recovery, but he’s able to play “and that’s all that matters.”
As for Gaffaney, he’s excited to get his career started in the Warrior uniform.
“I’ve wanted to play college baseball ever since I was little, and being able to play here at Stanislaus in my own backyard makes it even better,” he said. “It’s fun playing in front of people who have seen us play before, and they can see us progress, see what we can do and what we’re building here.”
Gaffaney says the team’s attitude and camaraderie is key to their success.
“We built a pretty good bond here,” he said. “Everyone is really close, and well, that’s when you play good baseball.”
The Warriors’ first conference game is 2 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Warrior Baseball Field.