Scotts Valley High senior Corbin Giesen had a spectacular 2024 season on the mound for the Falcons baseball team. (Paul Firenzi/special to the Press Banner)

There was a time during the 2024 regular season when the Scotts Valley High baseball team was embarking on a collision course to implode.

They talked as a group about the need to step their game up.

Nothing major was discussed, yet senior catcher Jack Abel let his teammates know something had to change in order to be successful.

“We all kind of just locked in,” he said.

The Falcons are now headed to the postseason. They earned the No. 4 seed in the Central Coast Section Division IV playoffs.

Scotts Valley will host No. 5 Willow Glen High in the quarterfinals on Saturday at noon. 

Abel said the team chemistry has really taken off and he knew they could make a push for the playoffs, but only if they truly put in the effort.

The Falcons were off to a great start before hitting a brick wall in late March.

It started with a 14-3 loss to Soquel High, followed by back-to-back losses to Aptos, including a 4-3 defeat on April 9.

Scotts Valley bounced back with two straight wins before losing two straight to Harbor High and Westmont High on April 19 and 20, respectively.

Abel said those losses became fuel going into the following week and for the rest of the season. The Falcons are currently riding a nine-game win streak since the loss to Westmont.

Scotts Valley finished runner-up in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League standings with a 10-5 record in league play behind champion Aptos (10-4-1).

During the streak, the Falcons’ bats have gotten a lot hotter.

Senior outfielder and co-captain Jack Sanders has been roping the ball, while senior infielder Quinn Turowski looks impressive as the speedy leadoff hitter who can also steal a base when the time is right.

“Playing situational baseball [and] having more fun,” Abel said. “Not worried about the outcome of the overall game and just plan to have fun, enjoying the time with your friends.”

Abel admits he struggled when they played Aptos twice on April 9 and 12. He had a streak that no batter wants, which was consecutive at-bats with strikeouts.

He was aiming to have fun, but Abel also wanted to play well.

“I started swinging it a lot better and it’s more fun to play well,” Abel said.

Scotts Valley head coach Sean Coyne was there when Abel got his chance to start as a sophomore. Since then, Abel has turned into one of the best catchers and hitters in the league.

“The kids respect [Abel]. He’s looked up to and I lean on him myself, as well, because I respect his opinion,” Coyne said. “He’s very well versed.”

Everyday at practice, Abel talks with the pitchers about their craft and what they want to work on. Especially going into the subsequent weeks.

“[It’s] building a connection so they can have more trust in themselves,” Abel said. “It’s a comfort with me behind the plate where I can try and steal some strikes for them and stuff like that.”

Coyne has a solid rotation of pitchers in seniors Corbin Giesen, Colin Melrose and Blake LaRiviere. Also referred to by the head coach as the “three-headed monster.” 

“We’ve been using those three guys, those are our workhorses,” Coyne said.

Freshman pitcher Bryce McDonnell was called up to the varsity team. He had a pair of great performances against Willow Glen and San Lorenzo Valley High in the final week of the regular season.

Lukas Bloom and Jack Parker have been a huge surprise on the mound for Coyne.

Bloom tends to slow the game down by sticking with the curveball, slider and change-up, while Parker’s unique wind-up gives him the ability to throw a “country hard” fastball, as Coyne puts it.

“Instead of bringing it all the way back and firing, [Parker] brings it right up to his ear, and he just throws darts,” Coyne said.

Other contributors include Kit DeForest, Kaleb Wing and Turowski, who pitched for the first time this season during Senior Night against SLV on May 7.

Coyne believes having those extra arms in the bullpen shortens up the game for his starters who don’t have to go the distance.

“They’re kids and their arms do get sore and tired. We just want them to rest and be ready whenever we need them,” Coyne said.

Scotts Valley’s skipper might need them in Saturday’s playoff game against Willow Glen (15-12, 10-8).

The Falcons beat the Rams—members of the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mt. Hamilton Division—in the teams’ regular season finale May 11, which extended their current win streak to nine.

“We don’t focus on that, we just focus on one game at a time. It’s kind of got to be the mantra,” Coyne said. “The kids are well aware of it, but I try to refocus them on who’s in front of us, not what’s ahead of us.”

The ultimate goal is to win a CCS championship. Coyne said from here on out, it’s focusing on the little things, such as not committing errors, solid throws and communicating.

Abel is heeding to his coach’s advice by not looking too far ahead at the moment and taking on this new journey one game at a time.

“Just looking forward to more of what we’ve done,” he said. “The team’s the best it’s been, right now, and that’s all we can ask for going into CCS. Everyone’s kind of excited about how far we’ve come from how the season started, and can’t ask for a better time to be hot.”

Previous articleScotts Valley’s Quinn Turowski, Taylor Wilson named Preps of the Week | Press Banner Sports Ticker
Next articleScotts Valley takes down SLV to capture SCCAL crown | High school softball
A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here