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Season Preview: Clovis West Golden Eagles


Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California, we've been rolling out team previews from around the state.

In this edition we take a look at the Clovis West Golden Eagles, 2018 Central Section finalists in Division 1. The Golden Eagles are one of the traditional powers in the Central Section, however 2019 will present different challenges than 2018, when they were very experienced and poised for that run to the section final. Losing the co-conference player of the year and 208 innings pitched are big parts of the challenge.

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Team: Clovis West 

Nickname: Golden Eagles

Section: CIF-Central Section, Division 1

League: Tri-River Athletic Conference (TRAC)

Head Coach/Years at school: Kevin Patrick (12th year)

Team Twitter Handle: @cw_hardball

2018 Overall Record: 25-8

2018 Postseason Finish: 2nd place Central Section - D1 

Number of Returning Starters: 4

Number of Returning Pitchers: 3

Top Returning Players:

'19 SS Karson Simas; '19 MIF Jack Winn; '19 OF Michael Garabedian; '20 C Hayden Driggs

College Commits:

None at this time

Other Players To Watch:

'20 LHP Ixan Henderson; '20 3B Bradley Senneway; '20 RHP Erick Budd

2019 Outlook:

2018 was a great year for Clovis West as they won the TRAC championship and then earned a spot in the Central Section D1 finals, ultimately falling to Stockdale in the final. They had the TRAC co-conference player of the year in Kohl Simas who was a two-way standout, throwing 64 stellar innings (14 appearances) while hitting .363 with 16 extra base hits and 30 RBI. They had three outstanding seniors lead the pitching staff, combining to throw 191 innings and earn 24 of the team's 25 wins on the mound.

However, given all they need to replace, Coach Patrick's expectation for the 2019 Golden Eagles is as it always is... compete for the TRAC title and then compete for the Central Section D1 title. Losing that many major senior contributors creates some unknowns but also presents the opportunity for the returning starters to step up and new team members the chance to carve out their own role and team identity. The team does bring  back a nice mix of returners from last season and some newcomers Coach Patrick is very excited about.

Expected starting shortstop and one of their top returning players, SS Karson Simas, will miss the first part of the season as he recovers from an injury. When healthy he will step back in and build off his junior season that saw him hit .250 in 106 plate appearances, with seven doubles and 16 RBI (fourth on the team). Another junior coming off a good season is returning starting middle infielder Jack Winn. Winn is the lone returning player to leave the yard in 2018. He hit .259 in 2018, with a pair of homers, six doubles, and drove in 22 runs, good for second on the team. Bringing back their middle infield combo (players that were #2 and #4 in RBI) from the previous season is a good place to start.

The Golden Eagles also bring back junior catcher Hayden Driggs, who enters 2019 on the strength of getting in 12 games last year as a sophomore. He only had 19 plate appearances, but having competed on a team that had the success CW did in 2018, well, that is a very positive thing for a catcher who will no doubt be looked upon to be a team leader. Driggs committed only one error in those 12 games.

Two other position players return, senior outfielder Michael Garabedian and junior 3rd baseman Bradley Senneway. Garabedian played in 30 of the 33 games in 2018 while Senneway saw action in 13 games as a sophomore. Both will look to increase their offensive output from a year ago. Again, that experience, as younger players on a team that nearly won a section title, is very valuable.

There isn't much returning experience to the mound for the Golden Eagles. Junior right-hander Erick Budd pitched in two games and a total of 5.1 innings. It was however, a very impressive 5.1 innings, with 0 runs allowed, four hits, and five strikeouts. Three other junior pitchers are expected to be major contributors to the team in 2019. Left-hander Ixan Henderson and right-handers Art Navarette and Noah Galvan will make their varsity debuts and coach Patrick has confidence in that group.

As we've established, there is a lot yet to learn about the 2019 Clovis West Golden Eagles and their schedule will certainly provide ample opportunities for this group to prove it's mettle. They will compete in the deep Coca Cola Classic tourney field and also be stiffly tested in the Central California Showcase tourney, with games vs. Granite Bay and St. Mary's-Stockton. Of course the TRAC schedule will be tough to navigate, with Buchanan and Clovis North looking particularly strong in 2019, and of course Clovis High is always tough to deal with. In mid-April there will be the always entertaining and challenging Fresno Easter Classic.

Time will tell how the team fares, but rest assured, the 2019 Clovis West squad will not be backing down from any competition, regardless of how much they lost from an outstanding 2018 team. That season is over, it's time to look forward.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Northern California Preseason All-State (Invite-Only) CA 01/27 San Joaquin Delta College
Super 60 Pro Showcase NATIONAL 02/03 The Max
Solano-Sac Junior Future Games Trials CA 02/24 Vacaville Christian HS
SoCal Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/09 O'Malley Field - Harvard Westlake
East Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/24 Athenian School
North Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/28 Clyde P. Smith Field - Cardinal Newman HS
Northern California Future Games Trials CA 05/26 Islanders Field
Orange County Futures Games Trials CA 06/08 Hart Park - Orange CA

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