Jessie Gonzalez slugged and pitched his way this year from Carter High School onto a scholarship to do the same next season at UC Riverside. Gonzalez was always a hard hitting outfielder for Carter but this year added the role of hard throwing ace pitcher for the two-time San Andreas League champion Lions. Gonzalez led Carter in nearly all statistical categories. His impressive foot-speed helped him to 24 stolen bases and a .436 batting average in 27 games.
In need of starting pitching this season, Carter coach Sammy Lopez decided to try the strong arm of Gonzalez on the mound. The result was a 10-1 record with a .0.96 ERA, leading to All-CIF, league MVP, All-Inland Empire and to Carter’s Ken Hubbs Award winning boy athlete. “I had pitched an inning here and there but never good enough to expect this. I just kept improving every year,” said Gonzalez, a four-year varsity starter.
The stats that Gonzalez put up his senior year is the kind that usually get a player drafted by the pro’s. He said there were some scouts who nibbled but no team was ever officially interested, said Gonzalez. “I’m real happy about going to UCR. They told me that I can pitch and play right field as long as I produce. It will give my body a chance to develop and I can work on my business administration degree.” He is currently listed at 5-11, 165 pounds. “Oh yes. I definitely would like to become the first player from Carter to reach the Big Leagues.”
Gonzalez called his walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning this season against El Rancho High, as his most memorable baseball event. He was also the game’s winning pitcher. Gonzalez said that UCR’s coaches first saw him pitch in a practice game against Redlands East Valley. “They didn’t come to see me. They came to see the pitcher from REV but I did pretty good.” Gonzalez said that Long Island University in New York also offered him a scholarship to play baseball.
He currently stays in baseball shape as a member of club teams, the Colton Nitehawks and the High Desert Heat. He just completed coaching the Mets farm team at Rialto Little League and helping as a handyman at his church.