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Glendale Community College baseball earns four All-Americans honors

Baseball: Angel Rodriguez, Keaton Leach, DJ Milam and Jay Sheeley are all preseason picks.

January 25, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Glendale Community College pitcher Angel Rodriguez was one of four Vaqueros selected as a preseason All-American. (Tim Berger/File Photo)
Glendale Community College pitcher Angel Rodriguez…

High expectations heading into the upcoming season for the Glendale Community College baseball team were accompanied with even higher praise from the California Community College Baseball Coaches Assn.

The CCCBCA released its state preseason All-American list that included four GCC players, three of which are pitchers.

“When I first heard about this, I was real excited. It means a lot that our program has reached a level of success where we’re recognized like this,” Vaqueros Coach Chris Cicuto said. “Of course, it helps to have some strong arms and certainly we have talent in the front part, but I have trust in the back-end of our staff and this entire team.”

Glendale is one of two programs along with College of the Canyons to have multiple All-American pitchers and the lone squad with three in right-handers Angel Rodriguez, Keaton Leach and DJ Milam.

Outfielder Jay Sheely was also named a preseason All-American and is the Vaqueros’ lone position player to receive such distinction.

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Rodriguez, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, led the Western State South Conference in wins with an 8-3 mark and strikeouts (57) and was second in earned-run average (2.26).

“Angel and Keaton have the potential to have some really big years. What’s exciting is that they have experience and know what to expect,” Cicuto said. “You saw what Angel did last year, he has good control and knows how to work the batter.”

Rodriguez, a bounce back from Cal State Northridge, is joined by Leach, a one-time Fresno State signee who was drafted by the Chicago Cubs last summer in the 32nd round with the 948th overall pick.

Leach put together a solid and versatile 2013 season in which he split time starting and coming out of the pen.

Leach was 5-1 with one save in seven starts and 13 overall appearances, which accounted for 41 1/3 innings pitched. The former South Pasadena High standout posted a 2.61 ERA and fanned 23 batters.

“My coaches told me about the award and I thought it was great. It was great to get recognized,” Leach said. “I think there’s pressure and expectations on the pitching staff to do well and we can. We can lead this team.”

While Leach has one last season to impress college and major league scouts before choosing to go pro or into the four-year collegiate ranks, the 6-3 hurler said his thoughts haven’t drifted away from the present.

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