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2013 Hot Stove Award Winners Announced02/06/2013 5:45 PM ET
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno Grizzlies are proud to announce the 52nd Anniversary Hot Stove Gala award winners. The Hot Stove awards recognize exceptional high school student athletes from the 2012 baseball and softball seasons. Niko Pacheco from Bullard High School and Rachel Rodriguez from Central High School have been named the 2013 Gus Zernial Male and Female Player of the Year, respectively. Jay Preuss, head varsity baseball coach for Kerman High School, is the 2013 Coach of the Year while his squad from a season ago is the 2013 Team of the Year.
The winners will be presented with their awards at the 52nd Anniversary Hot Stove Gala on Thursday, February 7th at the Fresno Convention Center in Downtown Fresno. The Al Radka Award winner will be announced during the event.
Pacheco, a senior in 2012-13, was the catcher for the Bullard High School varsity baseball team in 2012, helping lead the Knights to a Division I Central Section championship and No. 11 ranking in the state by Cal-Hi Sports. He caught all of the Knights' 230 innings last season, and at the plate, Pacheco batted .364 with 37 RBIs. Pacheco has accepted a scholarship from Cal State Fullerton.
Rodriguez, a junior in 2012-13, helped guide the Central varsity softball team to its first ever Central Section championship in 2012 as the Bears defeated Clovis West in the Division I final. Rodriguez was named to the Tri-River Athletic Conference All-Star team last year after going 9-2 with a 0.64 ERA. She also batted .397 with seven doubles, four triples, four home runs, and 23 RBIs.
Preuss and the Kerman High School varsity baseball team captured the Division IV Central Section championship in 2012. The Lions also won the North Sequoia League championship for the third consecutive season. They finished with a 22-9 record during their 2012 title run. Preuss coached the County team in the City-County All-Star baseball game as well.
The 52nd Anniversary Hot Stove Gala benefits the Fresno Grizzlies Community Fund, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that manages several community programs such as Wild About Reading, Junior Grizzlies, and Farm Grown. This year's Hot Stove dinner will feature guest speakers Ryan Vogelsong, Doug Fister, and Bob Mariano.