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Daily Pilot Baseball Dream Team: Estancia's Rios rises to top

Shortstop/pitcher, headed to UC Riverside, was leader for Eagles and top baseball player in the area.

July 05, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(SCOTT SMELTZER…)

Back in mid-May, Tyler Rios learned his Estancia High baseball team's fate depended on his right arm. This was a week before he even knew whom he was going to pitch against in the wild-card round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.

Estancia relied on that same arm of Rios' before in a must-win situation. To keep their hopes of finishing second in the Orange Coast League alive, the Eagles needed to beat the same team twice in as many days.

Rios got the first chance on the mound in the final week of the regular season. He didn't really falter, as he threw a complete game, allowing only three runs. His team just failed to provide any run support against Calvary Chapel and the Eagles lost, 3-0, and their shot at second place.

Soon after, Coach Nate Goellrich gave Rios a heads up on what to expect next. Goellrich knew the third-place finish in league would put Estancia in a wild-card game on the road for the second time in three years.

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"We're going to go with you," Rios said Goellrich told him before saying, "just get us to the next round, get us past the wild-card round."

Rios took the ball and never gave it back to Goellrich. The senior started the playoff opener and finished it.

The one player who Goellrich trusted to come through in a big spot delivered. Rios went the distance, helping the Eagles beat Montebello, 7-1, and register their second wild-card victory in three years.

Rios played a key role in both wild-card triumphs. The playoff wins are Estancia's only two in the past 21 seasons.

Rios helped change the culture at Estancia during his four years as a starter on varsity. He turned a losing program into a playoff one right away.

Rios' standout final season and his impact on Estancia are why he is the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year in baseball. Whether he was at shortstop, on the mound, in the batter's box, in the dugout, or shagging balls in the outfield, Rios led the Eagles with grace and class.

"He was a coach on the field for us with his senior leadership and knowledge of the game," Goellrich said. "He was a great teammate and also did a great job mentoring our younger players in the program. It was a privilege coaching him the past two years, as opposed to coaching against him the first two years while [I was an assistant coach] at Costa Mesa.

"His work ethic and dedication to the game was excellent and he helped make the other players around him better."

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