Kofa's Sanchez signs with AWC; Valencia, Neal sign with four-year
Like father, like son.
Former Kofa shortstop Angel Sanchez has signed his letter of intent to play for Arizona Western next season.
Sanchez, whose father, Angel “Bombi” Sanchez Sr., played second base for the Matadors in 1991-92, started three seasons for the Kings and had Kofa on the brink of making the playoffs a year ago.
“He's talked to me about how it went back when he was playing and he went with me going to sign with Coach Keehn, so he had a big influence in my signing there,” the younger Sanchez said about his father.
During his senior season, Sanchez hit .407 with 10 doubles and was named to the first team All-Gila Valley Region in both his junior and season years.
“I realized he had the tools to play at the next level the first couple times I saw him play,” Kofa coach Richy Leon said. “He really understood the game and we knew he had the ability to play in college.”
“We're excited to have Angel join our program,” Matador coach Drew Keehn said. “We see the way he's matured over the last couple of years and with our young team that found the ability to grow and mature throughout the year this past spring, we think Angel has a chance to fall right into place with that attitude.”
Sanchez's older brother, Sergio, also played for the Matadors his freshman year in 2010. Sergio hit .313 and ended up leading the Matadors in RBIs.
“I don't think it's weird at all. I think it's pretty cool that I get to sort of follow the legacy,” Angel said about becoming the third member of the family to play for the Matadors.
While one Kofa graduate is planning to play at the junior college level, another is moving to a four-year school.
After leading the Arizona Western College baseball team to its best season in six years, third baseman Claudio Valencia and pitcher Kahana Neal are moving to a four-year college.
Both players signed their letters of intent to play for University of the Cumberlands, an NAIA school in Williamsburg, Ky., which went 26-28 last season playing in the Mid-South Conference.
Valencia, a graduate of Kofa, led the Matadors with 37 RBIs to go with a .307 batting average and three home runs. As the team's closer, he finished with four saves and didn't allow an earned run in 10 innings pitched.
Neal finished his sophomore season with a 10-3 record, a 2.55 ERA and led the team in strikeouts (63) and innings pitched (99). He was named first team All-Region I and first team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.
The Matadors finished 33-24 in 2012 and reached the Region I playoffs for the first time since 2006.