In 1965, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin scored a major hit with the song "Respect." Bonita Barons opponents have been singing that tune nearly every time Mesa League Player of the Year Hector Montes has stepped up to the plate. As a result, Montes has done so much walking this season that his cleats have practically worn out. On the rare occasions that pitchers have been forced to pitch to him, he has often made them pay dearly.
The 6-foot, 245-pound Baron slugger clouted nine home runs so far this season along with 10 doubles and compiled a .431 batting average. He has also proved to be sure-handed manning first base and has pitched well enough to have a 3.00 ERA. His outstanding play carried the Mesa League champion Barons to a 24-10 overall record and an 8-2 league mark.
"It was a challenging year for Hector in that from the Lions Tournament through the league schedule most teams didn't pitch to him," Barons coach Vincent Gervais said. "He has had to be selective and swing at some bad pitches, but with his quick hands he has made the most out of the few (decent) pitches that he has seen. Our league has recognized that he is the impact player. The last player given this much respect was (Montgomery's) Brandon Meredith (who parlayed his outstanding high school career into a scholarship to SDSU). I don't know where Hector will end up, but he definitely has a baseball future."
The 2010 season was a mixed blessing for Montes.
"It was quite an honor winning Mesa League Player of the Year, but it has also been a frustrating year with all the walks," Montes said. "I set a goal for myself, but I wasn't able to put up the numbers that I wanted. I just have to consider all the walks a form of respect. I did manage to hit one grand slam and a couple others with two men on."
Given a chance to hit in the opening round of the CIF San Diego section Division I playoffs, Montes went 4-for-5 and smacked a grand slam in the fifth inning to break the game open. The Barons won 14-1.
It is no accident that Montes developed into the dominant force in the South Bay this season. He spends practically every waking moment playing, training or thinking about baseball.
"During my first couple years here I struggled here and there with school," Montes said. "I devoted my time to baseball outside of practice and found it was the one sport that I really enjoyed playing. When I'm at home, I am working in my batting cage hitting a couple hundred rounds of balls. I am always trying to make myself better and I am never settled. I like working hard and baseball is just something that I want to pursue."
Montes may soon take the first step toward realizing his dream of MLB stardom.
"I am looking to get drafted and sign following the Major League draft," he said. "I have been talking to a couple of scouts here and there and I am pretty confident that I'll get picked."
Editor's note: Montes was selected in the 47th round by Tampa Bay, the 1,421st player chosen in this year's MLB draft.
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