Things are good in Yuma these days. Arizona Western College baseball is on a four-game winning streak after scoring 42 runs in a four-game sweep of the Caballero Classic. And a handful of Matadors have just found their paths to four-year ball.
Five players from this year’s squad – three of them pitchers – have signed letters of intent to play at four different universities. That’s the most players the Matadors have recruited out in any one season during the early signing period.
The trio of pitchers includes Jerry Renteria, Raul Vasquez, and Tony York. Renteria has committed to New Mexico State University, York will be headed to the University of California – San Diego, and Vasquez goes to Central Missouri State.
Vinny Zazueta, a shortstop/second baseman who also gets some time on the mound, will join teammate Renteria at New Mexico State, and Josh Young will try to earn a starting spot in the outfield for Georgia College and State University.
Renteria made 16 appearances last year as a freshman, posting a team-best 2.76 ERA. Vasquez has a 94 mph fastball and finished last season with a 4.33 ERA, and York excelled during fall ball this year as he compiled a .72 ERA to top the pitching staff.
Young started every game last year and finished with a .290 batting average; Zazueta had 48 hits and nine stolen bases, while also throwing 13 innings and recording 16 strikeouts.
Last June, the Matadors announced f our signings: Art Flores (pitcher) to Mesa State, Derek Benhan (p/infielder) to New Mexico Highlands in Las Vegas, Edgar Lopez (p/infielder) and Ivan Juvera (pitcher) both to Mid-American Christian University.
So it looks like AWC is providing what players are looking for in junior college athletics – a stepping stone to a four-year education.