The Inland Valley Buccaneers begin their third season under Kevin Bowler on June, 1. The Bucs made strides in season two, qualifying for the SCCBL playoffs and are hungry to build upon that success in 2016.
A lot of familiar faces return for the 2016 season. The Bucs will have 14 returning Inland Valley players, half of which are former Pirates.
Former SCCBL all-stars Kevin Riley (twice), Kyle Jackson (twice), Justin Gomez, Jonathan Hopkins and Anthony Virgen are all back.
Kyle Jackson enters his senior season at Georgetown College. As a junior, he hit .291 and notched 55 hits in 52 games. Before Georgetown, Jackson starred at Chaffey College where he was named a first team All-Foothill selection and won a gold glove.
Jackson is no stranger to the Inland Valley program as he embarks on his fourth campaign with the red and black. This time he’ll make the switch from the Pirates to the Bucs. Jackson is the most prolific player in Pirate history scoring the most runs (34), RBI (28), hits (68) and SB (16). He hit higher than .300 all three previous summer seasons.
Junior Kevin Riley has been the cornerstone for the Bucs since the program started in 2014.
He’s notched the most hits (60), RBI (25) and runs (35) in Buc history. Riley will play the next two years at CSUN after completing two stellar seasons at Chaffey College. This past season, Riley was named the Foothill Conference player of the year finishing with a .392 BA, .467 OBP, 56 RBI, 48 runs and 8 HR in 43 games. As a freshman, he was also a first team all-foothill selection.
Azusa Pacific sophomore Justin Gomez led the Pirates in hits last season with 33. He also knocked in the most runs (14) and boasted a .464 OBP. His maiden voyage at Azusa Pacific saw him go .285 including a Pac West player of week nod.
Jonathan Hopkins was the Bucs’ #1 starter in 2015. The junior-to-be hurled the most innings in a single season in Buc history (44.2) and recorded the second most strikeouts in a single season (36).
Anthony Virgen is back for his fourth season with Inland Valley playing all three previous seasons with the Pirates. He had the most RBI in a single season for the Pirates (17) and added the highest slugging percentage in club history at an astounding .526 in 2014. Virgen, a senior, led Midland University to the NAIA playoffs this season with a .372 BA and .471 OBP.
Another key returner is Erik Trask, who played for the Bucs in 2014, jumped ship to the Pirates in 2015 and now returns to the Bucs in 2016. He’s logged 84 innings, tied for the most in Inland Valley history. His 69 career strikeouts is second most in program history.
Brett Early joins Trask for his fourth go-around with Inland Valley. Early is the all-time strikeouts leader (96) and is tied for the most innings pitched in the red and black (84).
CSU Bakersfield junior Drew Seelman comes back for his second season with Inland Valley. Seelman hit .356 with a .474 OBP last summer.
Key new additions include: Brad Lewis (Western Nevada), Aaron McCann (Chaffey College) and Anthony Necochea (Valley City State).
The Bucs will open the season at home against the Gamers on June, 1 at 4:30 p.m.