Must-see local high school baseball players in 2013

CHRIS VIALL (Soquel), Sr.: The 6-foot-9 pitcher has jumped on the national scene since increasing his fastball velocity from 84 mph to 96 in a little over year’s time. The Stanford signee could be a high draft pick after a solid showing at the prestigious Area Code Games over the summer. He was an All-SCCAL 2nd team pitcher in 2012.

JOE GILLETTE (Scotts Valley), Jr.: The complete package, the 6-3, 190-pound shortstop can hit (.413 with three triples in 2012), field, run and throw. An All-SCCAL and All-County pick last season, he gave a verbal commitment last month to NCAA D-I Oregon State, the national champion in 2006 and ’07. Several coaches figure he’ll be drafted after his senior season.

HUNTER PARKINSON (Soquel), Jr.: Talented left-hander (1.80 ERA last season) is a third-year varsity starter who has already committed to NCAA D-I University of San Diego. Named to the 2012 All-Bay Area World Series showcase team over the summer.

DILLON HOUSER (St. Francis), Sr.: The 6-4, 225-pound left-handed pitcher and first baseman is signed with 2008 NCAA Division-I champion Fresno State. He was an All-SCCAL 2nd team pitcher in 2012.

BRYAN BUCHER (Aptos), Sr.: Was the lone non-senior starter on Aptos’ 2012 league-championship repeating team, which reached the CCS D-II title game. Roped a county-leading 11 doubles and batted .379. He was named All-SCCAL and AC catcher in and competed in the Area Code Games over the summer.

SCOTT AKROP (Soquel), Sr.: The returning All-SCCAL 2nd team shortstop was named to the 2012 All-Bay Area World Series showcase team over the summer.

RILEY JAMES (Harbor), Sr.; A right-handed pitcher and shortstop and fourth-year Pirates starter, James has committed to NCAA D-III Occidental. He is a returning All-SCCAL 2nd team pitcher.

LUCAS HEWITT (Harbor), Sr.: A fourth-year starter for the Pirates, he was an All-SCCAL and All-County left-handed pitcher (7-4 with 2.20 ERA) and first baseman (batted .368) in 2012. Garnering attention from a handful of NCAA programs.

CALVIN NAKAGAWA (St. Francis), Sr.: The former Harbor player is in his fourth varsity season and garnering interest from several NCAA programs. Shared county lead with five home runs, batted .457. He was chosen All-SCCAL 2nd team at utility and All-County third baseman in 2012.

BILLY MULLINS (SLV), Sr.: The All-SCCAL 2nd team shortstop in 2011 took last season off. He’s a college-caliber player, his coach Shane Sutcliffe says, “The kids got all the tools.”

CALEB FIDIAM (Soquel), Sr.: The All-SCCAL 2nd team second baseman in 2012 has a solid glove and great discipline at the plate. Finds a way to get on base. Batted .380 last season with 14 walks.

ABE ALVAREZ (Scotts Valley), Sr.: The slick-fielding, offensive-minded second baseman was chosen All-SCCAL 2nd team in 2012 at utility and was a first-team infielder in 2011

BRENNY HILLAN (Scotts Valley), Sr.: A 6-5, 225-pound right-handed pitcher and first baseman, a former standout goalie in soccer, is drawing interest from UC Davis and Santa Barbara.

CONNOR PLANT (Harbor), Sr.: The All-SCCAL and All-County outfielder in 2012 wears many hats. He also is a left-handed pitcher and first baseman. Batted .400

GARRETT JOHNSTON (Scotts Valley), Sr.: The right fielder and right-handed pitcher may give Joe Gillette a run for his money as the most athletic player on the Falcons. Hits cleanup.

WES VAN BARTER (Santa Cruz), Sr.: One of the leaders on a youth-laden Cardinals team. He was an All-SCCAL designated hitter in 2012.

STEVEN EICHHORN (Aptos), Sr.; Right-handed pitcher escaped base-loaded jam in CCS D-II final in rare varsity appearance last season for the senior-laden Mariners.

BEN MOODY (Harbor), Sr.: Outfielder and right-handed pitcher was an All-SCCAL 2nd team pick in 2012.

DIGGER GUGALE (St. Francis), So.: Shortstop may be one of the most athletic players on the Sharks.

SEAN VARENKAMP (Scotts Valley), Sr.: All-SCCAL and All-County utility player in 2012, when he batted .354 and went 5-3 with 2.26 ERA.

NICK MATIASEVICH (MVC), Sr.: The returning All-MBL player in 2012 shines at shortstop and pitches for the Mustangs. Threw a no-hitter against Pajaro Valley last season and batted .398.

AUSTIN MULLER (MVC), So.: Third baseman returns for the Mustangs. Has a solid glove, strong arm and can hit: Batted .425 last season.

NELSON PYLE (MVC), Sr.: Named to the All-MBL 2nd team in 2012, Pyle will important for the Mustangs on the mound in the MBL-G.

ZANDER FISCHER-TELLEZ (MVC), Sr.: Talented returning right-handed pitcher is now the Mustangs’ ace.

CHRIS RIVERA (Watsonville), So.: Shortstop and right-handed pitcher was an All-MBL 2nd team pick in 2012.

LEANDOR MERRIL (Santa Cruz), Fr.: Keep an eye on this young third baseman.

CHEN DUFFY (Sana Cruz), Jr.: Left-handed pitcher and outfielder for the Cardinals.

JOSH RODRIGUEZ (St. Francis), So.: Returning talent is hard to miss on the field. He’s a 6-7 right-handed pitcher.

NATE GENTRY (SLV), So.: Outfielder returns for the Cougars.

JORDAN PEABODY (SLV), Jr.: Infielder and right-handed pitcher.

KEN CELLA (SLV), So.: The 6-4, 250-pound right-handed pitcher and first baseman opened eyes with a stellar outing against Carlmont earlier this month.

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