Local athletes earn Optimist All Star selections
The 2021 High School Optimist All Star teams for baseball, softball and boys volleyball have been announced, and several local student-athletes made the cut.
Optimist All-Star games honor outstanding senior student-athletes in the region for their hard work, diligence and excellence in their respective sport.
On the baseball diamond, a pair of Bear River Bruins in Colby Lunsford and Nick Baltz were named to the Optimist All-Stars Small School North Team.
Lunsford impressed in the field and at the plate throughout the season. As the team’s shortstop, Lunsford showed elite range and arm strength, and at the plate he led the team in most statistical categories. The Sacramento State commit led Bear River on hits (19), home runs (3), extra base hits (8), on base percentage (.517) and stolen bases (20). He was second on the team in batting average (.404) and RBIs (12).
“That kid, he’s special,” Bear River head coach Russell Brackett said during a March interview. “And he’s not just special because he’s a D-1 athlete. Yeah, he’s fast, he’s strong and he throws hard, but he’s also the best teammate you’ll see in your life. That’s what’s amazing about him. He has this ability to talk to his teammates like a coach, and in a very respectful, understanding way.”
Baltz was also a standout for the Bruins, posting a .292 batting average to go with 11 RBIs, 15 runs scored and six stolen bases in 15 games played. As one of Bear River’s more well rounded players, Baltz was used in various ways throughout the season. In addition to playing multiple positions in the infield and outfield, Baltz also pitched. From the mound, Baltz appeared in seven games and posted a 1.31 ERA. Baltz plans on attending Butte College in the fall.
“His versatility was a big factor for us, and he has such a good bat,” said Brackett. “He was also a team leader like Colby, so it’s no surprise the two team leaders were chosen.”
Earning an Optimist All-Star bid from Nevada Union was catcher Kolby Amaral, who landed on the Large Schools North Team.
The Simpson University commit was a defensive standout behind the plate, and a force with a bat in his hands. Across NU’s 23-game season, Amaral tallied team highs in batting average (.392), hits (29), runs scored (18), extra-base hits (8) and stolen bases (7).
“He was definitely our team leader this year with the way he performed, and the way he handled himself on and off the field,” said NU head coach Ted White. “He was definitely our team MVP.”
Amaral was also named to the All-Foothill Valley League team along with senior teammate Matt Deschaine. Deschaine impressed at the plate with a .383 batting average, and as a pitcher with a 2.01 ERA across 30 innings pitched.
The softball Optimist All-Stars were also announced and Bear River’s Livia Nawrocki landed on the Small School North Team after a solid senior year. The skilled second baseman batted .432 on the season with 11 runs scored and nine RBIs.
The baseball and softball All Star games have been canceled due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus guidelines, according to http://www.optimist-sacramento.com.
Boys volleyball Optimist All-Stars include Nevada Union’s Aidan Wahl (outside hitter) and Joe Pardini (oppo/setter), Bear River’s Aiden Black (libero) and Weston Prosser (setter), and Forest Lake Christian’s Levi Mireless (setter), who all landed spots on the Small School North Team.
The Optimist High School Boys’ Volleyball All Star games are set to play and are scheduled for Friday at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, according to http://www.optimist-sacramento.com. The Small Schools match will start at 5:30 p.m., with the Large Schools match starting immediately after. General admission is $5.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org. All stats are courtesy of MaxPreps.com and gamechanger.com
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.