Everything's unfolding beautifully for San Ramon Valley High graduates Patrick Massoni, James Carter and Travis Hull in the Chabot College baseball program. They have worked hard, thrived, and soon they'll be moving on to Division I schools.
"It's awesome," Massoni said. "We grew up playing together since Little League. ... We're best friends, and now we get to go on together in college."
Carter, the ace pitcher of the staff; Massoni, the swift center fielder, and Hull, the hard-nosed, switching-hitting catcher, are among the Gladiators' seven early signees with various Division I programs, along with former two-sport Foothill star Cameron Rowland, a prized left-handed pitcher.
It's been a storybook season for Chabot, which entered the week riding an amazing 18-game winning streak, and holding a three-game lead in the Golden Gate-Coast Division. They were ranked No. 3 in Northern California in the April 8 poll.
Through 28 games, Massoni had a .363 batting average and team highs in RBIs with 33 and stolen bases with 18, out of 19 attempts. He will follow his brother Craig, now in the Giants organization, to Austin Peay in Tennessee. Craig Massoni hit .389 with 16 home runs last year to lead the Govs to a school-record 47 wins.
"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to play Division I baseball," Patrick Massoni said. "It's been a dream of mine and was the reason I came to Chabot in the first place. There's no one better (than Chabot coach Steve Friend) to help people achieve that dream."
Carter, who has signed with UC Santa Barbara, entered the week with a 7-2 record and a 2.08 earned run average. He was named as NorCal Player of the Week (March 17-23) after firing a two-hitter with 13 strikeouts against City College of San Francisco.
Hull, at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, has signed with University of Central Arkansas. He can drive the ball to all fields and has blossomed into one of the state's best catchers.
Rowland, who entered the week with a 3-0 record and a 3.42 ERA, has signed with with Nevada-Reno. He transferred to Chabot after playing football and baseball at Diablo Valley. Chabot's Ryan Howell is also headed to Nevada-Reno.
What makes Chabot baseball so special?
"We never give up," Rowland said. "We play as a team and we fight until the last pitch. All of us care about each other, and we have that special bond that not a lot of teams have. Our team has worked hard every single day since the first day of school, whether it's on the field or in the weight room. That makes us better day in and day out."
"These guys have just embraced the fact that we're trying to be better today than we were yesterday," Friend said. "We have a good strong core leadership."
Former Chabot standout Kyle Gallegos, a California graduate, is starting at San Jose State, and ex-Glads catcher Scott Mitchell, a three-time team MVP at Dublin High and all-Diablo Foothill Athletic League selection, is doing well at Southeast Missouri State.
HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS: The Livermore baseball team upended Foothill and San Ramon Valley in back-to-back games after losing their first five league contests. Why the change? Well, the Cowboys had a players-only meeting before practice after a 14-3 loss to California on April 7. They ditched the "I" stuff and re-dedicated themselves. "We're getting it going," coach Dave Perotti said. "We have enough talent to be competitive. The kids are starting to buy in and figure it out."
FALCONS FLY HIGH: The Foothill golf team took its high level of play to insane heights last week. The Falcons shot what is believed to be an East Bay Athletic League record of 8-under in a 172-213 win over Granada at the par 36 Poppy Ridge Chardonnay Course.
Tanner Hughes led the way with a 32, Ryan Knop shot a 34 and Ryan Maund and Raj Chekuri both had 35s. John Fracisco and Alex Chin both had 36s.