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DIVISION I BASEBALL HONORS: Decolati’s development rewarded

Niko Decolati was a four-year starter for Cimarron-Memorial’s baseball team. But he was far from the same player all four seasons.

Decolati hit one home run as a freshman, but grew into one of the area’s top power hitters by his senior year. He hit 10 homers this spring for the Spartans, and was voted as Division I Southern Nevada Player of the Year by area coaches.

“It was awesome to see him grow,” Cimarron coach Mike Hubel said. “From a skinny little freshman to what he blossomed into, that’s awesome to see. It’s why I do what I do.”

Decolati, who has signed with Loyola Marymount, batted .411 with 25 RBIs this season and led the Spartans with 39 runs. The shortstop batted third in the order as a junior, but moved to leadoff for his final season.

“We didn’t really have a true leadoff hitter,” Hubel said. “Move him up and give him as many at-bats as possible. I don’t know how many times he’s led off a game with a home run, but that’s huge.”

Five of his home runs came leading off the first for the Spartans, and almost half of his 37 hits went for extra bases. He had seven doubles and a triple.

Defensively, Hubel said his shortstop was able to make all the routine plays, and his improved arm strength helped him make plays the average high school shortstop couldn’t.

“He’s able to make a lot of throws that a lot of kids can’t and get to some balls and make some plays,” Hubel said. “He’s an everyday player that makes everyday plays, and that’s all I can ask.”

Decolati was one of four infielders selected by coaches on the All-Southern Nevada first team. He was joined by Silverado’s Dillon Johnson, Bishop Gorman’s Cadyn Grenier and Centennial’s Jake Portaro. Arbor View’s Ryan McHale was the first baseman, and Silverado’s Vincent Taormina was the catcher.

The outfielders were Liberty’s Preston Pavlica, Gorman’s Brandon Wulff, Green Valley’s Jarrett Perns and Arbor View’s Sam Pastrone.

Centennial’s Zachary Dixon was the designated hitter, and Shadow Ridge’s Eric Jordan was the utility player.

The pitchers were Cimarron’s Larry Quaney, Desert Oasis’ A.J. Landis, Basic’s Tanner Roundy and Pastrone.

Pavlica, who batted .526 with four homers and 36 RBIs, was the Northeast League Player of the Year, and Silverado’s Brian Whitaker was the Northeast Coach of the Year.

Decolati was the Northwest Player of the Year, with Desert Oasis’ Paul Buboltz taking the coaching honor.

Basic swept top honors in the Southeast League, with Ryne Nelson taking Player of the Year and Scott Baker winning Coach of the Year. Nelson hit .412 with four homers and 22 RBIs and went 6-1 with a 2.03 ERA.

Wulff, who batted .459 with eight homers and 54 RBIs, was the Southwest Player of the Year, and Durango’s Sam Knapp was Coach of the Year.

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters.

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