LMC baseball players choose their MLB legends


Mohammad Najimi

Graphic of the baseball team alongside their chosen MLB legend

Mohammad Najimi, Staff Writer

Members of the Mustangs baseball team shared with the Experience what drew them to baseball, their most memorable moments while playing the game, and who their MLB hero is  at the position they currently play for LMC. 

Everyone needs a role model and for the LMC baseball players, following the careers of major leaguers gives them the strength to keep going, knowing they too can make it to the MLB. 

Here are their stories, and their images on baseball cards paired with their heroes:

Head Coach Jason Bray

Why baseball: He played since he was 4-years-old and his passion for the sport only grew. He didn’t just want to play, but also wanted to coach the sport as well. 

For four years in a university in Kansas, he coached little kids to play baseball which helped him more than the children.

Memorable moment: When he greatly helped an 18-year-old kid for three months before the Fall World Series and when the draft arrived, Bray chose him and worked with him for another two weeks and all this help worked out in their favor as that kid went 6-for-11 and won MVP in the series.

MLB hero: Ron Washington because of the relationships he had with his players. Ron worked out with each player and they, in turn, would do anything for him.

Pitcher AJ Gamboa

Why Baseball: It ran in his family with three of his cousins and an uncle either getting drafted or played professionally. 

Memorable moment: When he pitched a complete game in his last high school game on senior night earning the win. Also, when he won game MVP in summerball for pitching shutout innings and upsetting the tournament leading team.

MLB hero: Greg Maddux because he changed the game for pitchers as he threw slower compared to today’s pitchers. The speed of the pitches, the way he pitched and found success was incredible to him as he learned to be resilient from Maddux.

Pitcher Jack Saylor

Why baseball: He always had a strong tendency that pitching was the right fit for him. 

Memorable moment: When he pitched in his first collegiate start against Fresno City earning the win against a great team. He also struck out the first batter he saw, which gave him even more confidence in himself.

MLB hero: Tim Lincecum because he always saw an older version of himself through Lincecum as he pitched. Saylor didn’t have only one moment from Lincecum that stood out as he would always be electric every time he went out onto the mound.

Catcher Kylian Mok

Why baseball: Had a passion for the game that grew as time went on throughout his 15-year career playing baseball.

Memorable moment: When he won National Champions with Netherlands in 2020 as he was from there, which allowed him to play for them.

MLB hero: Salvador Perez due to his aggressive play from behind the plate. He also stated that his framing skills were incredible.

Most memorable moment: When he won the World Series with the Kansas City Royals in 2015, he was so excited for him.

First Baseman Michael Weber

Why baseball: He had always loved the game and the thrill that came with it. He lives for the moment every time he steps out onto the field.

Memorable moment: When he won league at Pittsburg High School for the first time in 40 years, his entire team celebrated on the field.

MLB hero: Anthony Rizzo because he had incredible defense alongside his stellar production on offense that always stuck with him. Weber also is a firm believer that defense wins games so players with incredible defense, like Rizzo, would be a guy he would enjoy watching. He also knew how to always keep the game fun.

Second Baseman Kai Arellano

Why baseball: At first, he only wanted to please his parents and baseball was the only sport he really knew how to play well, but at time went on, his passion for the game quickly grew.

Memorable moment: When he made it to the NCS at College Park in 2018 when he came in to pinch hit and ran in to score the tying run. 

MLB hero: Tony Kemp due to his explosiveness and no fear of injuries as he would always put his body on the line to get the out. He enjoyed that Kemp could make the game more fun.

Third baseman Anthony Manuel

Why baseball: His passion for the game started when he was four when his grandparents got him his first glove to play catch. He got better at the game as time went on and loved the game since.

Memorable moment: Hitting his first home run after being a skinny kid without power. The pitcher threw a hanging curve right in his wheelhouse that he sent out-of-the-park. 

MLB hero: Nolan Arenado due to the effortless defense on the field whenever he played. He prepared himself the best defensively and it’s proven through his consecutive gold and platinum gloves.

Shortstop Colton Trudeau

Why baseball: He played a lot of sports to experiment, but baseball turned out to be his favorite due to its uniqueness and enjoyment. 

Memorable moment: He was 12 and hit his first home run in a tournament in Cooperstown, NY.

MLB hero: Brandon Crawford because he’s really smooth at defense and a good person to learn from. In the 2014 World Series, Craword and Joe Panik turned one of the most iconic double plays as Panik laid out and flipped it to Crawford as he would barehand it getting the out at first.

Outfielder Seth Gwynn

Why baseball: He played football, basketball, and baseball in high school but kept playing baseball after COVID-19 started. 

Memorable moment: When he hit his first home run in his first college plate appearance.

MLB hero: Tony Gwynn and he played the same position while also coincidentally sharing the same last name. His most memorable moment of Tony was when he hit a home run off David Wells in the 1998 World Series against the New York Yankees.

Outfielder Bubba Rocha

Why baseball: It drew him the most as he enjoyed it the most as a kid which helped him out the most today as his parents wouldn’t allow him to play football.

Memorable moment: When he was 12, he hit a walk-off home run in a tournament in New York.

Favorite MLB player: Julio Rodriguez because he was a stand-out athlete in his rookie year in the MLB. He won silver slugger and is dominant player in years to come, which caught his attention.

Outfielder Nico Torrez

Why baseball: He played football and baseball as a kid, but sided with baseball as time went on.

Memorable moment: When he made a diving catch against Ohlone this season. 

MLB hero: Mike Trout due to his consistency on the field. Consistency is the biggest part about baseball for him so it was clear who he would root for.