Season Preview: Modesto Christian Crusaders
February 12, 2019
With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California (CCS games start 2/18/19), we've been rolling out team previews from around the state. The Central and Southern sections are already underway.
Today we look at the Modesto Christian Crusaders from San Joaquin Section, Division 5. The Crusaders have groomed their youth over the last few years and are looking to have that youth step up in 2019 to consistently produce as they make a deep playoff run.
(Players, be sure to search our database and claim your profile. Don't see your profile? You can create a free PBR profile here)
Team: Modesto Christian
Section: San Joaquin Section, Division 5
League: Trans-Valley League (TVL)
Head Coach/Years at school: Mark Butler (4th season)
Team Twitter Handle: @MCBaseball209
2018 Overall Record: 18-12 (6-6, 3rd Place in League)
2018 Postseason Finish: Semi-Finalist in San Joaquin Section, Division 6
Number of Returning Starters: 7
Number of Returning Pitchers: 7
Top Returning Players:
‘19 C Cody Brockman, ‘19 RHP Calvin Pless, ‘20 INF/RHP Jovon Watkins, ‘21 SS/RHP Cameron Butler
Other Players to Know:
‘19 C/3B Ben Laffoon, ‘19 2B Dillon Johnson
College Commitments: N/A
With only a couple hundred kids on campus, the Modesto Christian Crusaders seem to have found the best possible athletes and turned them into a solid group of baseball players. The Crusaders made an unlikely run to the Division 6 semi-finals in 2018 after going 5-19 in 2017, tripling their wins and giving their young roster loads of experience to take and carry over for 2019. Stepping up to Division 5 in the San Joaquin Section will be another chance for the Crusaders to prove doubters wrong and the youth they’ve carried the last few seasons will be counted on to make a name for themselves here in 2019.
Coach Butler has a core group of veterans returning and that will create a deep lineup with seven starters and seven pitchers returning from 2018. When you return a core group in your lineup and almost your entire pitching staff, expectations should be high for the Crusaders. Coach Butler raved about the team’s ability to block out distractions and come together to show strong team chemistry while getting the most out of their talents. He’s counting on the young players to have matured and is looking for more consistency in their day-to-day process for 2019 as they become the veterans and teach the youth the Crusader way to play.
Leading that core group of returners is ‘21 SS/RHP Cameron Butler. Butler led the team in most offensive categories hitting .496 with 21 extra base hits and an unheard of 46 stolen bases, leading the state. One of our Top 2021 players, Butler is instant offense showing off plus speed, bat speed and arm-strength giving opposing pitchers and catchers nightmares. He’s supported by ‘19 C Cody Brockman, a big and strong catcher who flashes pop from the right side with a big arm to match. Brockman hit .438 with 19 extra base hits and 22 stolen bases showing he’s more than just a middle of the lineup threat. ‘20 INF/RHP Jovon Watkins was the Pitcher of the Year in League and his ultra-athletic frame has him competing as a two-way player for the Crusaders. On the hill, he struck out 54 in 56 IP while hitting .414 with 9 extra base hits at the plate. ‘19 RHP Calvin Pless is another two-way player that Modesto Christian will be counting on, hoping he repeats his strong 2018 season that saw him pitch 52 innings while being a middle of the order threat. Add in ‘19 C/3B Ben Laffoon and ‘19 2B Dillon Johnson and that gives opposing teams little chance to pitch around the Crusaders best hitters.
The Crusaders are hoping to build upon the success of 2018 where they saw 9 players play 27 or more games for them. If that group of returners can continue to show day-to-day consistency and growth, opposing teams in the Trans-Valley League will have to circle the Crusaders on their schedule and be at their very best to compete this Spring.
|Solano-Sac Junior Future Games Trials||CA||02/24||Vacaville Christian HS|
|SoCal Junior Future Games Trials||CA||03/09||O'Malley Field - Harvard Westlake|
|East Bay Junior Future Games Trials||CA||03/24||Athenian School|
|North Bay Junior Future Games Trials||CA||04/28||Clyde P. Smith Field - Cardinal Newman HS|
|Northern California Future Games Trials||CA||05/26||Islanders Field|
|SoCal ProCase||CA||06/08||Hart Park|
- CA Season Preview: Grace Brethren Lancers 2/18/19
- CA Season Preview: La Mirada Matadores 2/15/19
- CA Season Preview: Clayton Valley Ugly Eagles 2/15/19
- CA Season Preview: St. John Bosco Braves 2/15/19
- CA Season Preview: Cardinal Newman 2/14/19
- CA Season Preview: Ayala Bulldogs 2/14/19
- CA Season Preview: Torrey Pines Falcons 2/14/19
- CA Season Preview: Soledad Aztecs 2/12/19
- CA Season Preview: Modesto Christian Crusaders 2/12/19
- CA Season Preview: Prospect Panthers 2/12/19
- CA Season Preview: Etiwanda Eagles 2/12/19
- CA Season Preview: Serra Padres 2/11/19
- CA Season Preview: Bellarmine Bells 2/11/19
- CA Season Preview: Orange Lutheran Lancers 2/09/19
- CA Season Preview: JSerra Lions 2/09/19