With a 9-1 regular season record and a 4-1 league mark, Bonita Vista southpaw Jesse Hernandez was the obvious choice this season for Mesa League Pitcher of the Year honors. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior helped propel the Barons to an 8-2 league record which was good enough for the top slot in the Mesa League. He also contributed to their deep incursion into the Division I San Diego section playoffs.
While not blazingly fast, Hernandez had enough movement on his fastball to fool many batters. That combined with his highly effective and much slower slider made him a tough pitcher to hit.
When he arrived on the scene as a sophomore Hernandez had some control problems, but over the course of the last three seasons he has honed in on the strike zone and developed the ability to paint the corners.
"This year he has pitched with a little more confidence," BV coach Vincent Gervais said. "He trusted his slider and he trusted his fastball. On the mound he has been in control of the game. He has picked up his pace and become much more efficient with his strikes. He has also cut down on his walks and that has made a big difference. He ended up being a unanimous choice for Pitcher of the Year honors."
Hernandez credits a lot of his progress to coaching.
"The coaching here has really helped me out," he said. "They have done so much in helping me to grow as a person and to help me get my mechanics down. In the off-season, we were in the weight room every other day and that helped us get a lot stronger as a team. As you could see (following BV's 14-1 rout of San Diego High in the opening round of the playoffs) some of those home runs came from the hard work that we did as a team."
Hernandez also did a lot of work on his own and the results are obvious.
"I think a big difference for me this year is in my confidence," he said. "When I go out there, I know that the game is in my hands and I am in control. I have developed consistency and better accuracy in hitting my spots."
While he is humbled by this latest honor, Hernandez is not ready to rest on his laurels.
"I feel like I have progressed a long way, but I know that there is always room for improvement," he said. "Something that I really need to improve upon for the next level is to throw harder. I need to complement that off-speed pitch with a strong, hard fastball."
With his career at Bonita Vista now behind him, it is time to start thinking about what comes next. Gervais believes Hernandez will progress to the college ranks.
"We don't know what his future will bring, but we are going to get him somewhere," the BV coach said. "Whether it will start next year at a junior college like Southwestern or Grossmont or a smaller (four-year) college (remains to be seen)."
Inclusive of the playoffs, Hernandez finished 11-3 overall.
Mesa League All-League Teams
Hector Montes (Bonita Vista), 12
Jesse Hernandez (Bonita Vista), 12
Victor Munoz (Bonita Vista), 12
Greg Allen (Hilltop), 11
Chancellor San Miguel (Hilltop), 12
Aaron Taylor (Chula Vista), 12
Alejandro Perez (Otay Ranch), 12
Alexis Mercado (Otay Ranch), 11
Francisco Salas (Mater Dei Catholic), 11
Patrick Maguire (Eastlake), 12
Martin Romo (Otay Ranch), 12
Francisco Gonzalez (Otay Ranch), 12
Humberto Tovalin (Otay Ranch),12
Oli Lopez (Bonita Vista), 12
Taylor Shockey (Bonita Vista), 12
Sergio Valenzuela (Mater Dei Catholic), 12
Anthony York (Chula Vista), 10
Andrew Calica (Eastlake), 10
Thomas Padilla (Hilltop), 12
Miguel Silva (Hilltop), 12
Player of the Year
Hector Montes (Bonita Vista)
Pitcher of the Year
Jesse Hernandez (Bonita Vista)
Bonita Vista Barons
Team W-L W-L
Bonita Vista 8-2, 24-10
Hilltop 7-3, 17-13
Otay Ranch 5-5, 23-12
Mater Dei 5-5, 16-17
Chula Vista 3-7, 12-15
Eastlake 2-8, 14-13
South Bay League
Team W-L W-L
Montgomery 12-0, 26-7
San Ysidro 10-2, 17-11
Mar Vista 8-4, 19-11
Castle Park 6-6, 11-16
Sweetwater 3-9, 8-19
Olympian 2-10, 9-20
Southwest 1-11, 1-25
Citrus West League
Team W-L W-L
SD Jewish Academy 10-0, 11-2
Foothills Christian 8-2, 11-15
Christian Life 5-5, 13-10
Calvary Christian 5-5, 14-13
Midway Baptist 2-8, 5-11
Lutheran 0-10, 5-14