TEAM’S LEADING HITTER

T-birds all-purpose player Andrew Avalos takes a ball during Mohave’s home game against Prescott on April 16.

BULLHEAD CITY — Thunderbirds    all-purpose baseball player Andrew Avalos, who earned postseason accolades along with two of his teammates, played all nine positions during the final game of his Mohave High School career. 

“Playing all nine innings on Senior Night was awesome,” Avalos said. “I didn’t know my coach was going to do that, but I am glad he did. 

“I am very glad the last inning ended with me on the mound. I finished the season with a bang, striking the last kid out to end the game.”

Les Eastman, who completed his first season as head coach for Mohave, enjoyed orchestrating the baseball version of musical chairs as much as Avalos did.

“It was a pretty cool night for him and he loved every minute of it,” Eastman said. “The rest of the guys had fun, too, moving around to accommodate his moving around. It was truly a great game for us as a team.” 

Avalos compiled 26 hits in 57 at-bats for a .463 batting average last season. The left-handed hitting T-bird also tripled twice and doubled twice. 

He scored 22 runs, had nine RBI, tripled twice and doubled twice. 

Avalos walked 16 times, which gave him a .581 on-base percentage. He also compiled a .561 slugging percentage and a 1.142 OPS.

“He was a guy who was very solid at the plate,” Eastman said. “He did not get cheated much; his at-bats were almost always quality at-bats.”

For Avalos’ effort, he earned a spot on the Arizona Interscholastic Association 4A Grand Canyon All-Region Second-Team.

“When I heard that I made second-team, I was really happy,” Avalos said. “I felt like all my hard work had finally paid off.”

T-birds shortstop Brayden Jones earned second-team, all-region honors, as well, after putting together an excellent junior season.

Jones has always had a lean frame, but he filled out a bit between his sophomore and junior seasons.

“I know he did work on his strength a lot, but I felt he still has work to be done there,” Eastman said. “He also needs to increase his overall speed and quickness.

“Brayden has amazing talent and works extremely hard. He will be a force in his senior season.”

His numbers were not too shabby during his junior season.

Jones collected 23 hits in 62 at-bats for a .371 batting average. The right-handed hitting T-bird hit three triples, two doubles, scored 18 runs, had 10 RBI, walked nine times, was hit a pitch six times, amassed a 494 on-base percentage and an OPS of 1.042.

“When I earned second-team,                 all-region I felt accomplished and excited because of how hard I worked throughout the offseason and also during the season,” Jones said. “Before the season, I did a lot of weight training to try and get my shoulders, legs and abs a lot stronger because those are the core muscles you use a lot in baseball.”

Jones accumulated the second most innings pitched for the T-birds with        382/3 innings. The right-handed hurler’s record was 1-1. He gave up 40 runs — 30 earned — on 52 hits — while striking out 17 and walking 29 with a 5.42 ERA. 

Mohave assistant coach Todd Jones said his son has not stopped working this offseason. 

Jones has been hard at work since the T-birds finished 2019 with a record of 10-15 overall, 3-9 in region.

“He is playing in Vegas and doing showcases,” said the Mohave assistant coach. “We are trying to get him in front of as many colleges as possible. 

“He is starting to put on weight and fill out — just looking to find a place for him to play in college.”

Jaedyn Eastman, who has begun practicing for the Barstow Community       College Vikings, earned second-team, all-region accolades following his      senior campaign. 

Eastman led the T-birds with 43 innings pitched, 57 strikeouts, 33 walks and 12 hit batters. The Mohave southpaw’s record was 2-3 with a team-       leading 3.42 ERA.

The left-handed hitting Eastman batted cleanup and also played center field for the T-birds.

He tallied 26 hits in 58 at-bats for a .448 batting average, while hiting eight doubles, two triples, as well as scoring 17 runs and driving in 18 more.

Eastman also drew nine walks, was hit by seven pitches, had an on-base percentage of  .568, a slugging percentage of .655 and an OPS of 1.223.

The Mohave trio who earned second-team accolades did not go unappreciated by its head coach.

“Those three were what we called our ‘Big 3’ and they all had big years,” said Coach Eastman about Avalos, Jones and Eastman. “I did not choose a team MVP but if I would have, it would have been all three of them.

“They each brought their own skill-set and made their presence known every game. 

“I felt they deserved higher conference awards.”

Fregozo, Reed garner region honorable mention nods

DailyNewsstaff

BULLHEAD CITY — A handful of T-birds earned recognition from the Arizona Interscholastic Association 4A Grand Canyon Region following the baseball season in May.

Mohave High School’s Xavier Reed completed his sophomore season and Anthony Fregozo ended his senior campaign by garnering honorable mention nods following the 2019 baseball season.

“Reed and Fregozo also had a huge part in our season,” T-birds head coach Les Eastman said, “but did not bring the consistency of the first three.”

Eastman was referring to all-purpose player Andrew Avalos, shortstop/pitcher Brayden Jones and pitcher/center fielder Jaedyn Eastman, who each earned second-team honors, as the big three. 

“I feel that their honors were well deserved and they rounded out our core of guys whom were leaders for us,” Coach Eastman said. “All five helped the new players and guided them throughout the season.”

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