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2012 All-SCV Baseball Player of the Year J.C. Cloney: Much respect due

Cloney’s prowess as both a pitcher and hitter kept doubters at bay this season

Posted: June 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch’s J.C. Cloney was an all-around great player, contributing heavily as a pitcher, a hitter and a fielder. He was undefeated as a pitching in Foothill League play.

Before the season began, West Ranch pitcher J.C. Cloney got his respect.

All the coaches in the Foothill League chose him as the Santa Clarita Valley’s top pitcher in a preseason poll.

But one could still get the feeling that Cloney hadn’t earned everyone’s respect.

Take the hitters for one.

Or at least one opposing Foothill League hitter, who before the season, was asked about Cloney.

In typical youthful arrogance, the hitter declared that Cloney was not all that good.

Then the season played out and this hitter’s team had exactly four hits against Cloney in two games — both victories for the senior left-hander.

Prior to the year, Cloney committed to Long Beach State, but as the season went on and Cloney kept throwing strikes and winning games, he was mostly ignored by Major League Baseball scouts.

It turns out that a guy who throws consistently in the mid-80s, who can get up in the upper 80s, isn’t worth the scouts’ attention.

It’s eerily similar to seven years ago.

A kid with the same body-type, who threw left-handed and pumped strikes, who was also his team’s best hitter, was mostly ignored by people beyond the Santa Clarita Valley.

It’s because he threw in the mid-80s, sometimes in the upper 80s.

That kid was the 2005 All-Santa Clarita Valley Baseball Player of the Year.

He’s now pitching in the starting rotation for the Oakland A’s — Saugus graduate Tommy Milone.

Cloney never saw Milone pitch in high school, but the two have met briefly.

Their senior years are very comparable to each other, without going into numbers.

They were each the valley’s dominant pitcher, both were power hitters and both led their teams to Foothill League titles.

Cloney went 8-1 on the mound with a 1.84 ERA, striking out 100 batters in 72 1/3 innings.

In Foothill League play, he was 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA.

At the plate, he batted .378 with three home runs and 19 RBIs with 31 hits and 17 runs scored.

He was regularly avoided, even being intentionally walked in the CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinal, which translated to a .471 on-base percentage.

Cloney was even stellar in the field. He may have been the best fielding pitcher in the Foothill League and at first base, he was steady.

It was pretty clear that the best player on the best team in the valley, the kid who helped lead his team to its first-ever Foothill League title and its first appearance in a division semifinal, was J.C. Cloney.

For all of those reasons and more, Cloney gets our respect as the 2012 All-SCV Baseball Player of the Year.



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