Bowdien Derby named MVP, five Lancers to All-Del Rey League first team

One of the greatest seasons in the history of La Salle High baseball added one more round of accolades before heading into the horizon.

Lancers senior pitcher Bowdien Derby was named the Del Rey League’s Most Valuable Player, while senior third baseman Chris Williams, junior catcher David Sanchez, junior shortstop Antonio Ruiz and junior center fielder Noeh Martinez were all additionally named to the league’s first team as the list was recently announced.

“We knew at the beginning of the season that we’d have an opportunity to accomplish something special,” La Salle Coach Harry Agajanian said. “You have to give credit to the players who set goals at the beginning of beating Bishop Amat, winning league and getting to the playoffs.”

Agajanian’s squad enjoyed a 19-8-1 record that included two victories over Amat, the program’s first-ever co-Del Rey League championship, first league title since 2006 and advancement to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs.

In defeating Amat, the reigning six-time league champion, La Salle snapped a 16-game losing streak to the La Puente-based school.

Derby played a pivotal role in helping lead La Salle to a 2-1 series victory over Amat by notching a win and a save in the series.

“It’s definitely an honor to claim that award. I put in a lot of hard work and I couldn’t have done it without my teammates helping me out,” said Derby, who was named a Division IV first-teamer. “I had a great defense behind me.”

Derby posted a 9-1 record overall (5-1 in league) with a 0.60 ERA and allowed 21 runs (seven earned) over 81 2/3 innings, while striking out 117 batters and walking 16.

At the dish, the San Diego State-bound senior batted .395 with 34 hits, 27 RBIs, 24 runs, nine doubles and three homers.

“This is a pretty cool award because of everything the team had to go through to win league,” Derby said. “It’s funny how goals change throughout the season. When we started, the goal was just to get one win against Amat. It wasn’t until we beat them that we felt we could take more.”

Williams proved to be one of the team’s biggest slugger, as the third baseman batted a team-best .465 with 40 hits, 23 runs and 23 RBIs, 11 doubles and two triples.

“There’s no one I wanted up at the plate in a pressure situation more than Chris Williams, he was our most valuable hitter,” Agajanian said. “At times, he carried the offense and we relied a lot on him.”

Sanchez batted .413 with 31 hits, 14 RBIs and 12 runs, while throwing out 50% of would-be base stealers. Ruiz batted .432 and led the Lancers with 41 hits, 22 RBI, 21 runs, nine doubles, three homers and seven stolen bases.

The title of steals champion, though, went to Martinez, who swiped 14 bags without being caught and hit .313 with 26 hits, 22 runs, six RBI and two homers.

“The great thing about David, Antonio and Noeh is that they’re all coming back next season. That’s the foundation of the team along with a few other players who weren’t named,” Agajanian said. “As well as those guys did this year, I’m really looking forward to next season.”

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