Christopher High junior starting pitcher Nick Valentine throws a pitch against Pioneer on May 9. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
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Christopher High’s baseball program has one of the longest playoff streaks of any team on campus. The squad finished the regular season with a 16-8 record, in third place in the competitive Blossom Valley Athletic League, Mt. Hamilton Division with an 11-7 division record. 

Next up is the Central Coast Section playoffs. The Cougars received a No. 2 seed in Division III. In their first game, Christopher will host No. 7 Hillsdale at 1pm on May 18.

Excepting the Covid years, the Cougars have been in post-season play nine straight years, including winning a Division II title in 2019 and a Division V title in 2022.

To nail the playoff this year, the Cougars ran off a six-game win streak, culminating in a 6-3 victory over Pioneer on May 7. It was both Senior Night and the playoff clincher. That run included a sweep of Branham by scores of 6-3 and 8-1, a non-conference 10-0 shutout of city rival Gilroy, and two victories over Santa Teresa, 8-0 and 6-2.

“This win over Pioneer is a big league win, as it gets us into the playoffs,” coach Ryan Dequin said. “We will graduate nine seniors. They have played hard all season. We have got a really great group of kids and we are one of the most talented teams at Christopher.”

Pitching and defense have been a staple of the Cougars, as they allowed just 16 runs in nine games through that playoff-clinching win. Aaron Van Kerkwyk is 7-3, with an impressive 1.85 ERA and Camren Boyd is 3-3, with a 2.25 ERA. Devin Aragon is the closer.

“Our pitching has been phenomenal,” Dequin said. “The last few games, it has been coming around. Aaron is our number one and Camren Boyd is number two and we have Nick Valentine coming back from injury.”

Defense around the horn usually features Sam Guenther at third, Aragon at shortstop, Jacob Vasquez at second and Ricky Wilkerson at first. Aiden Simeon is the catcher. The outfield usually features Jesus Castro, Mateo Alcantar and Mason Dubenko.

Guenther leads the offense with 26 hits in 62 at-bats for an amazing .419 batting average. Additionally, he leads the team in steals with 10 and has not been caught on an attempt. 

Dubenko provides a big bat, and has hit 25-for-71 for a .352 average and a team-leading 23 RBIs. Wilkerson is also a strong hitter and is at 23-for-63 for .365, along with 15 RBIs and six steals. Aragon is hitting .321.

“The season has been pretty good,” Wilkerson said. “We had a slow start but we’ve come back and are winning. The key is definitely working together. We’re coming around together. We were shooting for the league championship but did not get that, but we are still in the playoffs.”

Christopher High senior shortstop Devin Aragon makes a throw to first for the out against Pioneer on May 9. Photo: Jonathan Natividad

That playoff slot was guaranteed when the Cougars beat visiting Pioneer on a sunny, breezy Senior Day. CHS jumped on top early with four in the first. Alcantar singled to right and Guenther was hit by a pitch. 

Wilkerson followed with a big blast that one-bounced off the left field fence near the 355-foot sign. That double plated a run, and Dubenko followed by singling up the middle for two more. After a walk to Simeon, Jared Fong singled to right for a 4-0 lead.

In the fifth, Guenther and Wilkerson both singled to set the table and Dubenko doubled to the left-center field gap for two RBIs. That put Christopher up 6-2. In the seventh, the Mustangs threatened but Aragon relieved and closed the door with two strikeouts and an easy grounder for the final out.

The victory also provided Christopher assistant coach Richard Furtado with his 300th win. Furtado began coaching at Gilroy shortly after 2000. He left coaching for a while, but returned when his former player Dequin took the job at Christopher and asked if he would assist him. The Cougars look to get him a few more victories in the playoffs this week and next.

After missing over a year due to injury, junior pitcher Matthew Anderson made his return May 9 against Pioneer, pitching one inning in relief. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
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