Antonio Chavarria left the Indio High School baseball team for the California Baptist Lancers in 2013 and instantly made an impact. The former Valley star on the diamond started more than 50 games each of his first two seasons at the Division II school in Riverside, batting at least .275 each year, but he didn’t meet his own lofty expectations.
But with typical hard work in this past offseason, Chavarria exploded on the scene, batting .402 with 82 hits this year. He was second in the PacWest conference in batting average, on-base percentage and hits, earning himself the honor of the conference Player of the Year during an offseason where he’s been fielding awards left and right.
“It means a lot. It shows my hard work and dedication to baseball is paying off and good things are coming my way,” Chavarria said. “I wanted to have this season. I was working hard and practicing harder to have a great season.”
Along with being named the top PacWest’s top player, the junior was named to three Divison II All-West Region First-Teams, including one from the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings on Tuesday. He’s also a semifinalist for the Josh Willingham Award, given to the Most Valuable Player in Division II by Perfect Game.
The Lancers’ star, who is eligible for the MLB draft this June, said he’s been getting letters in the mail from several scouts recently, but he plans on staying in school for one more season — more than anything to make sure he sets a good example for his 1-year-old daughter Adelyn and finishes his degree in business management.
With the same type of hard work and focus as last offseason, Chavarria has faith that his senior swan song will be even better, and maybe land him higher in the draft with an even better future on the horizon.
“I know I’m still going to get better, and if I put up big numbers, I can show scouts I can really play,” he said.