By: David Carter/GCU Staff
“To be honest, I had no idea that I was close to getting that award.”
A surprising, yet truthful reaction from GCU Club Baseball’s Jason Ochoa after he earned a spot on the 2019 Rawlings All-American 2nd Team list for the National Club Baseball Association.
Ochoa’s reaction echoed how this past season went for GCU Club Baseball as a whole: somewhat of a surprise.
Mired in the middle of their conference in April, the Lopes had to win nine straight games to have a chance to make regionals, and 12 straight to return to the NCBA Division I World Series.
They did both.
Ochoa was a big reason why, since if the Southern Pacific Regional Playoffs actually chose a most valuable player for the tournament, Ochoa would’ve likely brought home that hardware from Lancaster, California.
“Things were flying on all cylinders,” said Ochoa. “I was happy I could help the guys get to the World Series – maybe a little bit more than I thought I could have. Nothing beat their reaction, and I was happy to help contribute.”
Ochoa hit a blistering .615 in the Lopes’ three tournament games, going 8-for-13 with a triple, two doubles and a stolen base. He was also directly responsible for over 1/3 of the 29 runs the Lopes plated over that weekend; knocking in seven runs, and scoring three himself.
“He definitely stood out as the best hitter at regionals,” said Head Coach Rich Warnol. “Every time he made contact, he hit the ball hard, and most of the time, he was on base because of it.”
In a twist of fate, that was where Ochoa’s season ended.
“I wish I could have been out (at the NCBA World Series) with them, but I had an internship starting then,” said Ochoa. “I am just proud of them for making it that far.”
Since the World Series is where the All-American discussion is usually finalized and voted on, and sometimes can give those players who aren’t at the tournament a disadvantage, earning the national accolade despite missing out on club baseball’s biggest stage showed just how much Ochoa’s season meant to the Lopes’ success.
“It was definitely special for me,” said Warnol. “He was one of our best hitters all season long. He definitely deserved to be considered an All-American.”
“I’m thankful for such great guys who helped me have such a successful season, and thanks to Coach Rich for bringing me on and helping me on my first year on the team,” said Ochoa. “It is that type of team that you look forward to playing with: a hard-working, humble group of guys.”