When it comes to baseball in the Journal’s coverage area, it doesn’t get any better in the section and this past year proved that and then some as there were numerous college-bound standouts who played well above average.
UCLA-bound Tyler Soderstrom of Turlock High is the 2019 Turlock Journal Player of the Year after the junior had a memorable individual season, with college scouts highly intrigued by the lefty hitter.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by my hometown newspaper and the area coaches.
Baseball is a team sport. I was just happy to be able to contribute to the success we had as a team this year,” said Soderstrom. “I didn’t really do anything different to prepare for this season. I like to work on my game and am always trying to get better.”
“He is one of those kids that plays the toughest position on the field, calling pitches, constantly strategizing, has hand on the ball almost every play…I can't say enough positive things about him and I have him in class. He is a great kid and one of these kids that is great to be around, always smiling and light hearted, he gets it,” said THS head coach Sean Gilbert.
Soderstrom comes from a bloodline of baseball players.
His father Steve Soderstrom played in the big leagues, while brother Tate Soderstrom, also a THS grad, is currently playing at the University of Arizona — one of the Pac-12 foes of UCLA — meaning the chances of them playing against one another is very likely.
Soderstrom was also the unanimous choice by the coaches for the CCAL league MVP.
The Turlock baseball team was extremely loaded this past season with eight college commits on the squad, with five committed to a Division-I university.
Soderstrom has started at the varsity level since his freshman season.
Turlock went 14-1 in the CCAL, taking the title with ease and falling to only Pitman. Pitman took second at 11-4.
“Winning CCAL was awesome. I’m definitely going to miss the seniors,” said Soderstrom. “I have played with them since my freshman year and they were a huge part of our team. I wish we would have made it farther in playoffs but I'm definitely looking forward to getting back at it next year. I'm always working to get better offensively and defensively. I want to become a better leader and help our team as much as I can next year."
Following the conclusion of this past season, Soderstrom batted .450 in 28 games played and added 12 doubles, four home-runs and had an on-base-percentage of .565 along with a slugging percentage of .775.
Hilmar’s Treven Crowley earned Offensive Player of the Year and teammate Casey Carr (Turlock) took home the Pitcher of the Year honors.
Carr of Turlock, was not only the surprise of the year in the CCAL on a loaded Bulldog squad, but he was undoubtedly the most consistent pitcher throughout the season and even in the postseason where he met a former teammate pitcher at Jesuit.
The lefty was second on the team to only Garret Fountain with innings pitched at 40 and ⅓. He struck out 53 while allowing just three earned runs and had an ERA of 0.52 for the season when he was finished for the year to go with a 5-1 record. In eight appearances he also had a no-hitter.
Crowley, who earned the 2018 Player of the Year honors for the Journal as a sophomore, was named the Offensive Player of the Year after he was the leading batter on the Yellowjackets team at .588. In 22 games, Crowley finished with a team-high 40 hits and added 18 RBI along with a pair of home-runs.
Player of the Year: Tyler Soderstrom (Turlock)
Pitcher of the Year: Casey Carr (Turlock)
Offensive Player of the Year: Treven Crowley (Hilmar)
All-Journal Baseball Team
Nick Tullio (Pitman)
Cole Carrigg (Turlock)
Mac Cabero (Pitman)
Dominic Rodriguez (Turlock)
Dalton Linn (Turlock)
Liam Jones (Turlock Christian)
Trent Crowley (Hilmar)
Jay Huerta (Pitman)
Clay Souza (Turlock)
Kade Morris (Pitman)
Micah Blomenkamp (Turlock Christian)
Justin Hines (Turlock)
Ryan Leonesio (Turlock Christian)
JT Smith (Denair)
Markie Delgadillo (Turlock Christian)
Julian Espinoza (Turlock Christian)
Howie Skinner (Turlock Christian)