Alex Navarrete crowned baseball MVP of the Sunkist League


R. Corral, Richpics

Alex Navarrete was named Sunkist League MVP for the 2020 baseball season. Alex posted an ERA of 0.76 and batted .375.

Jeremiah Dollins, Pepper Bough Adviser

Colton, CA—Alex Navarrete just won the MVP award for his remarkable individual play on the baseball diamond this past season, but he wants to talk more about his team.

When asked about the moment he knew he was having a special season, he brought it back to the guys in the dugout. “As a team I think it was last year. When our season got cut short ‘cause of COVID, our team was great. Our team was good.”

Alex was also good. Very good. With a batting average of .375, an on-base percentage of .436, and only five strike outs in 173 plate appearances, Alex was a menace to the Yellowjacket’s rivals.

As remarkable as he was in the batter’s box, Alex was at his best on the mound. His ERA was a soul-crushing 0.76 and he held his opponents to a staggering .175 batting average. These numbers made him the most feared pitcher in the Sunkist League.

Navarrete gets one of his 57 hits in this at-bat. (R. Corral, Richpics)

“Alex is the hardest working player I have coached,” said Michael Esquivel, assistant coach. “He is always willing to get extra work after practice is over.”

That preparation is what earned Alex the MVP. “Every game I had something to work on,” he said. “And I had to keep going to the next game and the next game. You know, the results are there.”

Besides his individual numbers, Alex led the Yellowjackets to their first Sunkist League Championship since 2012 with an overall record of 7-3 and a trip to the playoffs. They lost that final game to Temecula’s Linfield Christian, 6-4, but after a high school career spent chasing a spot in the CIF playoffs, Alex was proud to have finally achieved that goal.

Alex graduated with the class of 2020, and already has his immediate future mapped out. In the fall he will attend Long Beach State University, where he was recruited to play baseball. The list of major league ballplayers that have come out of the school is long and impressive.

“Watching Evan Longoria, Danny Espinosa, Jered Weaver, y’know,” Alex said with a star struck smile. “They all went to Long Beach State. I always wanted to go to Long Beach State. I wanted to be a Dirtbag.”

The plan for Alex is to go all-in on becoming a professional big leaguer. “That’s my dream,” he said. “But I just gotta keep working, see what God has planned for me.” Getting recruited by a Division I school like Long Beach State is a great start. Alex even found himself scouted a couple times during the season by professional scouts. He is proud to be on their radar.

Still, with Alex, the word “we” is used far more than “I.” The only thing he might talk about even more is all the work it takes to be the best you can be.

“In baseball, you fall a lot. And if you don’t get up, that’s where you’re gonna be stuck at.”