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River Valley's Bevacqua headed to Oklahoma State
He may not be the biggest guy on the hill, he may not be the hardest of throwers, but if Kenton Bevacqua can do one thing it's pitch.
From his Little League days playing for Sutter Buttes, to his prep career at River Valley High, two years at Solano College and two summers for the Marysville Gold Sox, Bevacqua has been honing his craft for years.
Now, all the hard work has paid off.
In the midst of a sensational summer pitching for the Gold Sox, Bevacqua was noticed by one of the nation's most storied programs, and recently received a partial scholarship to toe the rubber for Oklahoma State next season.
Bevacqua caught the eyes of the Cowboys earlier this summer when scouts from Oklahoma State were in Marysville to watch catcher Victor Romero. Romero was a teammate of Bevacqua's at Solano, however the coaches saw something they liked when the little lefty came in from the bullpen and threw nothing but strikes.
"Their coach was at one of our games, saw me pitch and decided he needed a guy like me for next year," Bevacqua said. "I was hoping for it, but I really wasn't expecting something."
Bevacqua made four starts and appeared in 10 games for Solano this spring, going 3-1 with a 5.87 ERA. But while his collegiate numbers might not jump off the board, Bevacqua's performance this summer with the Gold Sox certainly has.
He has become Marysville's No. 1 stopper out of the bullpen and his 16 appearances are second on the team. He has a modest record of 1-2, but has allowed just eight hits and has struck out 19 over 20 innings this summer. He also boasts an ERA of 1.80 and has held opponents to a paltry .116 batting average in the process.
"I'm just a strike-thrower basically," said Bevacqua, who stands just 5-foot-11 and weighs 165 pounds. "I don't try to overpower people, I just try to keep people off balance and let my defense work behind me."
Bevacqua said that the Cowboys plan on using him in a relief role next year, though there is a possibility he could get some spot starts.
"He's such a great kid and he has so much to offer," Gold Sox manager Jack Johnson said. "There's a need for situational left-handers who know how to throw strikes and get outs."
Besides Johnson, Bevacqua credited former Gold Sox pitcher Cody Keroher, River Valley assistant coach Josh Howard, Solano coach Scott Stover and family friend Troy Richardson for helping him get to this level.
"It's a top Division-I program so he's going to have to earn everything he gets," Johnson said. "He's got to show up and compete with the big boys. He's been the underdog his whole life, but I think he can do it."
The Cowboys have won 30 Big 12 titles and their 19 College World Series appearances are the sixth most in history behind powerhouses Texas (34), Miami (23), Arizona State (22), USC (21) and Florida State (20).
He will major in business management and will make his way to Stillwater, Okla., when the Gold Sox's season ends on Aug. 7.
"It's always been my goal to play Division-I baseball, it just happens to be a Big 12 school," Bevacqua said. "I've never been (to Oklahoma) before, so it's going to be different."
The Sox open a crucial series tonight against Neptune Beach.