5 baseball players sign
COOLIDGE, Ariz. – Five Central Arizona College baseball players will extend their careers to four-year institutions following the 2008 season, continuing the legacy of Vaquero baseball.
Head coach Jon Wente announced that Australian natives Josh Spence and Joe Anson, along with Cade Thompson, Christian Johnson and Jesus Arzaga will continue their baseball careers at colleges located in Hawai‘i, Texas, Nebraska, Colorado and Arizona.
“We are extremely proud of these players – as well as all of the players we bring into the Vaquero program,” Wente said. “We expect our athletes to do the right things in the classroom and on the playing field so they can get an education and improve their baseball skills. It is what defines Vaquero baseball. These players have worked very hard to become good players and good students.”
An outstanding lefty who posted 13 victories with the Vaqueros last year, Spence will pitch for Arizona State University beginning in 2009. He landed on American shores with a blazing fastball that suffocated the offense of opposing teams last year.
In 2007, Spence started and completed 16 games, finishing with a stellar 13-3 record and a 1.10 earned run average. He tossed 130.1 innings, allowing 86 base hits and just 24 walks while mowing down 149 opposing batters.
Of Spence’s 13 victories in 2007, eight came via the shutout which earned the Australian national the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Player of the Year Award.
“Josh is an unbelievable pitcher and an unbelievable kid,” Wente said. “He works extremely hard and he exemplifies what our program is about. The Sun Devils are getting a good one.”
Spence also was chosen a 2007 Rawlings Gold Glove Winner and was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Third Team All-American.
Anson, Spence’s fellow countryman, will play Division I baseball next season at the University of Texas at Arlington. Like Spence, Anson is a left-handed pitcher who was the NJCAA Region I Tournament Most Valuable Player in 2007.
“Joe is a winner,” Wente said. “He will win many games for Texas-Arlington. The bigger the game, the better Joe will pitch – he is a tremendous competitor.”
In 2007, Anson posted a 6-3 mark with a 2.02 ERA. He tossed 80.1 innings, walking just 22 while striking out 58. He tossed a pair of complete games last season.
A native of Eatonville, Wash., Thompson will head to the University of Nebraska after flashing a rookie season that earned him ACCAC All-Conference honors and Region I All-Conference accolades.
“Cade will be a great player at Nebraska,” Wente said. “His future is very bright in this game. He is just a tremendous defender who has a sweet swing.”
The first baseman hit .356 (67 for 188) with 31 runs batted in and 10 doubles. He also boasted a .990 fielding percentage.
Johnson will return to his home state of Hawai‘i next year where he is expected to play the outfield.
“Christian plays extremely hard,” Wente said. “He can win a game with his bat or with his arm in the outfield. I expect him to be a great Division I player.”
The Aiea, Hawai‘i, native signed with the University of Hawai‘i after hitting .320 in 2007 for the Vaqueros. He ripped 13 doubles and drove in 35 runs during the season, going 64 for 200 at the plate.
In the field he was nearly flawless, registering a .990 fielding percentage while gunning down 15 runners attempting to take the extra base.
Shortstop Jesus Arzaga, a native of Mesa, Ariz., and a graduate of Westwood High School, will play at NCAA Division II Regis University in Colorado. Arzaga batted .306 in 2007, ripping 56 base hits in 183 at-bats.
“Jesus has done an excellent job both in the classroom and on the field,” Wente said. “He is a great defender and clutch player who plays extremely hard.”