Scotts Valley High senior Blake LaRiviere was lights out on the mound for the Falcons during the 2024 season. LaRiviere was named the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League's Most Valuable Player by coaches within the league. (Juan Reyes/Press Banner)

Blake LaRiviere had the initial plan of playing for both the Scotts Valley High football and baseball teams to close out his senior year with a bang. Instead, he decided to opt out of the football season so he could focus on baseball and develop physically.

It was a tough decision for LaRiviere, but ultimately it became the best one he ever made.

Following an exceptional season on the diamond, the Falcons star baseball player was recognized as the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League’s Most Valuable Player for the 2024 campaign.

“We just had a great season as a team and it means a lot to get that award, it’s just amazing,” he said.

The Falcons finished with a 17-8 overall record and were runner-up in the SCCAL with a 10-5 record in league play, closing out the regular season on a nine-game win streak. They earned the No. 4 seed in the Central Coast Section Division IV playoffs and advanced to the semifinals by beating No. 5 Willow Glen in the opening round.

LaRiviere was a stud on the mound, finishing with a 4-1 overall record in 10 appearances. He had a 2.36 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings pitched for the Falcons, according to statistics on the MaxPreps website.

Apart from being the team’s ace pitcher, LaRiviere also had stellar glove play as Scotts Valley’s first baseman. He accounted for 59 putouts and seven assists with just four errors in 70 total chances.

LaRiviere also solidified himself in the No. 6 spot in the batting lineup. He batted a .329 average (26-for-79) with two home runs, one triple, eight doubles, 19 runs scored, 17 RBIs and six stolen bases.

At one point during the season, LaRiviere was batting fourth in the lineup as the cleanup hitter. It was a spot he was not comfortable in, at all.

Scotts Valley head coach Sean Coyne made the swap and the rest was history.

“I think just dropping down for a game or two made him refocus, and then he started hitting again,” Coyne said.

Coyne said LaRiviere was the perfect guy to earn the league’s top honor, and believes most of the coaches echoed the sentiments that Coyne brought up.

“[LaRiviere] was at the top, he was our leader,” Coyne said. “He led with his arm and his bat.”

Coyne said it was a unanimous decision amongst the coaches and he was stoked for his star player, especially after all the hard work he put in during the 2023 summer.

Coyne was always impressed with LaRiviere’s tenacity and the way he approached the game. 

“[LaRiviere’s] got it all and he’s gone all in on training, conditioning himself to become a better pitcher,” Coyne said.

Ever since his sophomore year, LaRiviere wanted to be a pitcher mostly because he likes the thrill of being on the mound and the one player who’s dealing the entire game. 

LaRiviere’s goal during the offseason was to improve his pitching, and through that he gained weight and strength. In return, it also helped with hitting at the plate.

In the past, LaRiviere put more emphasis on weightlifting or powerlifting.

Prior to the 2024 season, he began a weighted ball and weightlifting program that focused on more rotational power, generating speed and velocity down the mound.

“I really just had to focus in and kind of go back to my fundamentals for pitching during the summer, and it ended up working out,” LaRiviere said.

Coyne was named the SCCAL’s Coach of the Year by his peers within the league. Aptos High head coach Jason Biancardi nominated Coyne, which then became a unanimous vote by the rest of the roundtable of coaches. 

Coyne told the Press Banner that he was stepping down from his position following a 3-0 loss to Homestead on May 22, making this award that much more significant.

“It’s pretty special being that it’s my last year. I’m going out on top, we had a really good season,” Coyne said. “It’s pretty special being recognized by your peers.”

Scotts Valley senior outfielder Jack Sanders and San Lorenzo Valley junior infielder Jaden Shabry each earned All-SCCAL First Team Honors.

LaRiviere and fellow teammate Colin Melrose—who earned all-league second team honors—are taking their talents to West Valley College in 2025.

Scotts Valley seniors Jake Abel, Colin Melrose and Quinn Turowski also earned All-SCCAL Second Team honors.

“To win games, you need people that can make plays and to get the ball in play when it needs to be,” LaRiviere said. “They showed that they could and that’s why they won the award, and they deserved it fully.”

2024 All-SCCAL Baseball

Individual Awards

Player of the Year: Blake LaRiviere (Sr.), Scotts Valley

Pitcher of the Year: Jorden Espinoza (Sr.), Aptos

Coach of the Year: Sean Coyne, Scotts Valley

First Team

Matt Hood (Aptos), outfielder, Sr.

Isaiah Work (Aptos), infielder, Jr.

Cole McGillicuddy (Aptos), utility/designated hitter, Fr.

Carlos Cruz (Harbor), infielder, Sr.

Cole McCombs (Harbor), pitcher, Jr.

Jaden Shabry (San Lorenzo Valley), infielder, Jr.

Nick Bogomilsky (Santa Cruz), outfielder, Sr.

Kaden Smith (Santa Cruz), catcher, Sr.

Damos Deworken (Santa Cruz), infielder, Jr.

Morgan Toohey (Santa Cruz), pitcher, Jr.

Jack Sanders (Scotts Valley), outfielder, Sr.

Second Team

Edward Peters (Aptos), infielder, Sr.

Jake Fiorenza (Harbor), infielder, Sr.

Cam Fusari (Santa Cruz), outfielder, So.

Jake Abel (Scotts Valley), catcher, Sr.

Colin Melrose (Scotts Valley), pitcher, Sr.

Quinn Turowski (Scotts Valley), infielder, Sr.

Gabe Virgalito (Soquel), infielder, Jr.

Brady Downs (Soquel), outfielder, So.

Jake Escalante (Soquel), outfielder, So.

Dylan Hull (Soquel), pitcher, So.

Honorable Mention

Josiah McKenzie (Aptos), Sr.

Jack Reed (Aptos), Sr.

Colin Karwick (Harbor), Sr.

Ferris Vitali (Harbor), Sr.

Anthony Griffis (SLV), Sr. 

Cody Houston (SLV), Sr.

Emmet Desmond (Santa Cruz), Sr. 

Fernando Dacosta (Santa Cruz), Jr.

Corbin Giesen (Scotts Valley), Sr.

Kaleb Wing (Scotts Valley), Jr.

CJ Clayton (Soquel), Sr.

Cash Moren (Soquel), So.

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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.


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