By BILL ROZAK

Bret Harte’s Josh Lane went down early in the baseball season with an injury.

The Bullfrogs were 2-1 overall and were forced to start Mother Lode League play without their senior ace and slugger. They won just two of their first five conference contests. He missed almost the entire first of the three rounds of league play.

Bret Harte was 2-3 in league and 4-5 overall when Lane made his return after missing a couple of weeks.

As the senior fireballer returned, so did the wins.

Lane helped lead the Bullfrogs to a second-place finish in the MLL, which included 10 wins in their last 13 games.

“We started playing better about the time Josh came back from his injury,” said senior teammate and best friend Isaac Abraham following the Bullfrogs last game of the season in Stockton. “As soon as Josh came back, we had that firearm pitching and somebody who could hit the ball hard and far. It made me and the rest of the team really excited.”

Lane didn’t lose a decision on the mound this season. He went 8-0 with a 1.39 earned run average and struck out 68 batters in just over 55 innings.

He saved his best pitching performance for his last appearance on the mound hurling an eight-inning no hitter in the first round of the playoffs, Bret Harte’s first postseason victory, and appearance, in several years.

Lane was named the MLL’s Most Outstanding Player for his sensational season.

He also hit .375 and led the team in both home runs (4) and runs batted in (21).

“I saw the potential of this team early on,” said Bret Harte head coach Mike Avecilla after his Bullfrogs fell to Escalon 10-0 May 18 in the second round of postseason at Billy Hebert Field in Stockton. “We struggled a bit early with some of our top performers being out. But once we got eligible and Lane got back into the lineup, we turned it around.”

“Nobody took us lightly when they played us,” Lane said in Stockton. “We had an outstanding season and it’s something I’ll remember forever.”

3 from Calaveras, 2 from Bret Harte, S’ville and 1 Wildcat make first team

Eight players from Bret Harte, Calaveras, Sonora and Summerville earned first team honors.

Calaveras senior Joe Celli had a strong a season both on the mound and at the plate and was likely in the conversation for MVP (Linden’s Brandon Anderson) or most outstanding (Lane).

The righthander went 6-4 with a 2.66 ERA and also hit .411, which was third best in the league. He lead Calaveras to third place in the MLL and a postseason berth.

Teammates, senior Ryan Taylor and sophomore Logan Weatherby, both hit nearly .400.

Weatherby hit .388 and drove in a team-high 23 runs. He also led the team in doubles (7) and hits (31). Taylor stole a team-high 13 bases and hit .379.

Abraham and teammate Ryan Kraft made the first team and were both key contributors to the Bullfrogs playoff run.

Abraham was the third best hitter in the league with a .407 average and scored more runs than anyone (33). He also swiped 20 bases, best on the team and second in the MLL.

Kraft, a sophomore, hit .382 and drove in 17 runs.

Summerville juniors Luke Fulkerson and Kyle Norton earned first team honors.

Fulkerson led the Bears in almost every offensive category, he hit .373, drove in 18 runs, smacked seven doubles and collected 31 hits.

Norton hit. 325 and led the Bears in plate appearances and also carried the pitching staff. He went 5-4 with a 2.80 ERA and struck out 52 in 50 innings pitched.

Jake Lee was Sonora’s lone representative on the first team. The senior catcher was second in the MLL in hitting with a .418 average. He also led the Wildcats in hits (23) and RBIs (18).

Tough decisions were made by the league’s coaches who were forced to leave some players off the first team, but were placed on the second team.

Bret Harte senior catcher Joey Kraft hit .354 and drove in 17 runs. Sonora senior Jonny Gillespie hit .390. Sonora freshman Braden Hobbs hit .352 and was also 3-0 with a 1.34 ERA. Calaveras junior Logan Arledge hit .367.

Also on the second team were Sonora seniors Joe Montelongo and Bradly Canepa.

Mother Lode League

Most Valuable Player

Brandon Anderson, senior, Linden

Most Outstanding Player

Josh Lane, senior, Bret Harte

First Team

Joe Celli, senior, Calaveras

Logan Weatherby, sophomore, Calaveras

Ryan Taylor, senior, Calaveras

Jake Lee, senior, Sonora

Seth Tomczak, sophomore, Argonaut

Josh Lane, senior, Bret Harte

Isaac Abraham, senior, Bret Harte

Ryan Kraft, sophomore, Bret Harte

Brandon Anderson, senior, Linden

Noah Fry, junior, Linden

Race Geesink, senior, Linden

Luke Fulkerson, junior, Summerville

Kyle Norton, junior, Summerville

Second Team

Logan Arledge, junior, Calaveras

Joey Kraft, senior, Bret Harte

Rich Torrez, senior, Linden

Scott Hushaw, senior, Linden

Ryan Albiani, senior, Argonaut

Sean Purdy, senior, Argonaut

Jonny Gillespie, senior, Sonora

Joe Montelongo, senior, Sonora

Braden Hobbs, freshman, Sonora

Brad Canepa, senior, Sonora

Brandon Cook, senior, Amador

MLL Character Awards

Calaveras: Tyler Bachrach, senior

Argonaut: Johnny Larson, sophomore

Summerville: Jake Wozynski, senior

Sonora: Anthony Roque, junior

Bret Harte: Seth Bakke, junior

Amador: Brandon Cook, senior

Linden: Marc Vaccarezza, junior

All-Academic

Calaveras: Blake Wilson

Argonaut: Sean Purdy, Ryan Albiani, Johnny Larson

Summerville: Josh Wozynski, Markus Warnock

Sonora: Mason Dambacher, Brad Canepa, Jonny Gillespie

Bret Harte: Seth Bakke, Ryan Kraft

Amador: Gus Gendey

Linden: Scott Hushaw, Silvano Gelsomini

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