George Watkins: MBL Pacific: Someone has to win it all

George Watkins: MBL Pacific: Someone has to win it all

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George Watkins: MBL Pacific: Someone has to win it all

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To fully understand what an equity league is all about just take a close look at the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division for baseball.

In this case the equity league might as well stand for Equal Opportunity League — as in an opportunity to put a struggling baseball program back on its feet.

Five of the seven teams in the Pacific Division have combined for just three Central Coast Section playoff appearances since 1995.

One hasn’t been to a ­post-season game since 1991.

North County and Gilroy are no strangers to the CCS playoffs, but both currently find themselves in a tailspin.

But it’s equity league to the rescue, or at least that’s the hope.

Here is a look at the challenges the MBL Pacific Division baseball teams have had to deal with.

* Alisal: The last time Alisal reached the CCS playoffs is when Pat Burrell was a senior for Bellarmine Prep in 1995. For the last 15 years in a row, Alisal has had a losing league and overall record. It had winless league records in 1999, 2000, 2001 and one league victory in 1998, 2005 and 2010. In 1999 and 2003, the Trojans went winless. But they won 10 games last year, the most since going 12-12 in 1996. Second-team TCAL pick Fernando Ramirez is the only Trojan coming back to make first- or second-team or the honorable mention list last season.

* Alvarez: The Eagles have made the CCS playoffs once in their 17-year history (2004). Starting in 2005 they went six years without ever winning more than two league games in any season. They’ve had only one winning overall record in the history of program: 15-11 in 2004. Their 10 wins last year tied for the third highest single-season total in school history. Alvarez returns second-team players Nick Duron and Fernando Aguillon and honorable mention Jamie Guzman.

* Pajaro Valley: A team only Charlie Brown could love. Starting its seventh season this year, Pajaro Valley had a combined six-year league record of 1-94. The most games they’ve won in any season is four (2009). Give them credit though, they show up for every game. This year they return honorable mention choice Pedro Lomeli.

* Seaside: The Spartans began to turn the corner when Randy Randall was coach from 2003-2006. Prior to Randall taking over Seaside had 10 straight losing overall and league records. Starting in 2003 they won 10 or more games each season Randall was coach, including 18-11 in 2006. They ended a 24-year slump of not reaching the CCS playoffs in 2009. The Spartans made a nice stretch run last year under coach Tony Beza and rate a strong contender this season. Seaside returns first-team all-league picks Matt Lualemana and Maxx Ursey.

* Watsonville: The Wildcats haven’t reached the CCS playoffs since 1991 when they went 19-2 overall and 12-0 to become SCCAL champions. They’ve had five straight years of losing overall and league records. The last time they had both a league and winning overall mark was 1997 (12-10, 10-7). They bring back Christopher Rivera, who made second-team all-MBL as a freshman, this season.

* North County: The Condors had a great run from 1999 to 2011 under coach Tim Gower, reaching the CCS playoffs every season but one (2007). Six times they won 20 or more games and nine times won 18 or more. But last year North County went 6-21 overall — the fewest number of wins since 1995. Gower resigned as coach following last season and was replaced by long-time JV coach, Brad Keyes.

* Gilroy: As Christopher High goes up, Gilroy goes down. Gilroy had a strong baseball program for years — it was T-CAL co-champs in 2007 and reached the D-I semifinals where it lost to powerhouse Valley Christian, 4-2. But ever since nearby Christopher opened three years ago, the Mustang baseball program has been in decline. It went 5-17 overall last year — the fewest wins in at least 30 years.

Gilroy returns second-team all-leaguer Brendan Holler and honorable mention picks Jaylan Dexter and Josh Boykin.

* George Watkins is a sports writer for The Salinas Californian. He can be reached at gwatkins@thecalifornian.com or 754-4264. He can also be followed on Twitter at Watkins_salnews.

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