Video: Early Contenders - #3 Buchanan
See the fun and images from our visit to the defending national champions.
Tom Donald2015-16 record:
30-1, No. 1 in MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Baseball Rankings, presented by the Army National GuardState Association:
California Interscholastic Federation - Central Section Division 1Enrollment:
Repeating as national champion is never easy, but the Buchanan Bears have an excellent chance of turning the trick.
Based on the Baseball America national rankings that date back to 1994, only one team has ever won back-to-back national championships. That was Chatsworth (Calif.) in 2003 and 2004. The Xcellent 25 national rankings have had one repeat champion with Sumrall (Miss.) winning in 2009 and 2010.
With five key starters back from a team that went 30-1, Buchanan could join that list. The Bears play in the always rugged Tri-River Athletic Conference, which will help boost them in the rankings, and in April they are participating in the National Classic in Orange County, one of the toughest tournaments in the nation.
Buchanan thus begins the season ranked No. 3 in the MaxPreps Preseason Baseball Early Contenders preview. MaxPreps is counting down the top five teams in the country with a full rundown on the top 25 set to post next week.
Coach Tom Donald can field a team that has a murderer's row in the middle of the lineup with Zach Presno, Jamal O'Guinn and Quentin Selma. The trio all batted over .333 with Selma earning All-Area Offensive Player of the Year honors by the Fresno Bee and Presno hitting a team-high six home runs. The offense outscored opponents by an average score of 7-2, although Donald will have to replace MaxPreps All-American Grant Gambrell, who batted .363 with 35 RBIs and five home runs.Gallery: Buchanan preseason Top 25 Early Contenders photo shoot
The returning pitching is equally impressive, with All-State pick Hunter Reinke returning on the mound. He was second on the team in wins (behind Gambrell's 12) with an 11-0 record.
The league schedule figures to be challenging. Clovis West and Clovis have long been the most noteworthy opponents in the TRAC, but Clovis North has joined the mix to give Buchanan a tough gauntlet to navigate in league play. Perhaps the toughest test will be the final two weeks of the season when the Bears play Clovis on May 2 and 5, then Clovis North on May 9 and 12.Players to watch
Zach Presno (C, Senior)
- .338 batting average, 25 RBIs, six doubles, six home runs, .518 on-base percentage... Committed to Fresno State.... Area Code Games participant.
Quentin Selma (3B/RHP, Senior)
- .443 batting average, 29 RBIs, 10 doubles, five triples, four home runs... Committed to Cal-Berkeley ... Fresno Bee All-Area Offensive Player of the Year... Area Code Games participant.Jamal O'Guinn (SS, Senior)
- .343 batting average, 25 RBIs, eight doubles, 26 runs scored, .395 on-base percentage... Committed to Southern California ... Area Code Game participant.Hunter Reinke (RHP, Senior)
- 11-0 pitching record, 2.20 ERA, 58 strikeouts vs. 31 walks, three complete games, one home run allowed.Chase Rocamora (Utility, Senior)
- .400 batting average, nine RBIs, five doubles... Ability to play multiple positions.Storylines
Five years after posting a school-record 30 wins in 2011, the Bears equaled that mark last year in winning the mythical national championship. Coach Tom Donald carries a 438-121-4 record (according to Central Section historian Bob Barnett) into the 2017 season. His teams have twice been named national champions and the Bears have won six section championships in Donald's 18-year tenure.
* Coach Donald calls Chase Rocamora a "super utility" player, so much so that he intends to have Rocamora play a game this year in which he plays a different position each inning.
Feb. 28 - vs. Bullard (Fresno, Calif.)
, defending County Metro Athletic Conference champion.
March 9 - vs. Beyer (Modesto, Calif.)
, defending Modesto Metro Conference champion.
March 24, April 25 and 28 - vs. Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.)
, key Tri-River Athletic Conference (TRAC) matchup.
March 28, May 2 and 5 - vs. Clovis (Calif.)
, key TRAC matchup.
March 31, May 9 and 12 - vs. Clovis North (Fresno, Calif.)
, key TRAC matchup.
April 10-13 - at National Classic (Orange County).