East County Sports

Ernie Arambula: Destination Chico St.

Monte Vista senior Ernie Arambula.



By Dave Dickens



SPRING VALLEY (6-3-2021) – There have been many crazy and indifferent things to happen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A complete shut down of prep sports for almost exactly a year in March 2021, for example.

As outdoor sports were given the green light as a result of the ICU number of beds occupied had dropped dramatically below 15 percent as the COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out very quickly for the elderly, who were at most risk, and according to science today, our younger children and teen athletes were the least vulnerable, according to the experts.

Let us also include the “Let Them Play“ movement throughout the state prior to the green light given by Governor Gavin Newsome, we all know why, but that is for another time.

As vaccinations were increased and football games were scheduled, baseball and other outdoor sports resumed. Not too long after, San Diego County schools, and in particular, the Grossmont Conference readied itself in a hurry with football dates, and indoor sports were resumed and scheduled shortly thereafter.

The administrations and coaches quickly scrambled as all sports were going to overlap.

The toughest leg of prep athletics overlap began in late March of this year. baseball, softball, the ending of six-week football season with no playoffs, and also the beginning of boys and girls basketball sharing time with volleyball.

This would be a test for multi-sport athletes, coaching staffs, parents, student-athletes, and even the press. It was and has been a juggling act. And with a lack of conditioning, injury numbers would rise.

Amongst all of the political, scientific, and new COVID policies put into effect, what about the whole reason the student-athlete plays his junior and senior year in particular? To be scouted, recruited, and hopefully, end up with a scholarship to a top university.

It has been several years since two student-athletes from the same school, and the same sport were recruited and given a full ride.

From a team in Spring Valley, built from the ground up since they were freshmen, head coach Craig Neu knew he had a special group playing for his varsity Monte Vista Monarch baseball team. However, did any of us know that such a pair of talented players would rise from one team?

Those two athletes would be ANDY CANEDO, a sure-fire pitcher with a fastball that echoes as it hits the catcher’s mitt, and a shortstop, that would end up being one of the best in San Diego County.

Monte Vista’s Andy Canedo, Ernie Arambula, David Vega, coach Travis Griffin, and Jake Savoy.

This story belongs to the rising and talented shortstop ERNIE ARAMBULA.

As with any young player, and almost a whole team of youngsters, there are typically gonna be growing pains.

As Little League players reach the height of their talent in Pony, some also play travel ball.

They have pitched, hit, ran bases, and made fabulous catches, and yet they get older, stronger, and must learn how to play the game of baseball at a whole different level, and even at the high school level, the competition is fierce.

“Everyone’s dream is to play at the next level and how I got the chance to further my baseball career was by being surrounded by more talented guys who played by your side,” Arambula said. “Competing just as hard as I did, I would receive several little tips on what to do in certain situations.

“Coach Neu had always believed in me and knew I could be something one day as he pushed me to perfect my craft each day. Andy Canedo, Jake Savoy, and David Vega were always my go-to guys. They always had my back and if I missed a ball early on in my younger years, they would tell me, ‘c’mon E, you’ll get the next one,’ always lifting me up.”

Ernie was loved by teammates, other coaches, and Coach Neu himself, who saw that special talent and baseball IQ from day one.

“Ernie went from .287 hitter his freshman year to .494 his senior year,” Neu said. “Improving .200 points just doesn’t happen. The kid worked incredibly hard when no one was looking. His work ethic, attitude, and effort are off the charts.

“The Chico State coach (Dave Taylor) is over the moon excited about landing him. He is a phenomenal player.

“Ernie is always a guy you can lean on as a teammate and a person. He brings a lot of energy and a good attitude everywhere he goes no matter what the score is. He always tries to help teammates when they need it.

“Ernie is a big bat in our lineup, obviously, and he is the guy that has helped us defeat many opponents this year, especially.”

“Ernie makes a lot of spectacular plays. I love him as a teammate and person and will always be like a brother to me,” said Savoy.

Not only teammates but opposing coaches that competed against Arambula tell the story of how talented and classy this kid was from day one.

“I recall opposing Ernie as a freshman, a young kid, but he had all the stuff,” said Mount Miguel Head Coach Frank Coit. “Ernie had the right mechanics and a great baseball mindset. He became better and better each year

“As one of the better shortstops in our league, you would see how great he was with the younger players as a leader, as he was always encouraging them.

“Ernie is the complete package you look for in a star. Ernie leads vocally, makes plays, clutch hits. Even if things are not going their way that day, he plays hard up until the last out is recorded.

“Ernie Arambula would make a name for himself anywhere he went to school, which is exactly what he will do at Chico State, make a name for himself and deserving to play at a Division 2 school.”

Also weighing in was one of his other teammates Ernie had stated assisted in his positive reinforcement when balls were overthrown or missed grounders early on in his career.

Vega had also some kind words to say regarding his play on the field and in the classroom.

“I have been lucky enough to spend most of my entire high school career playing right next to Ernie as being the second baseman and he being the shortstop,” Vega said. “If you need someone to make a big play or get a clutch hit, Ernie for sure is that guy.

“I always knew he was going to be great, and Chico State for sure got a good one.

“I was also lucky enough to have classes with him throughout high school, and he is just as focused in the classroom as he is on the field.

“He will always be a guy I can count on whether on the field or off.”

Saving the last gentleman for his thoughts, as he has known Ernie from day one, this gentleman is also getting a full-ride scholarship. Canedo, one of the best pitchers in the Grossmont Conference for the last two years plus:

“I first met Ernie when I was nine years old and joined his travel ball team,” Canedo said. “Ernie was actually the very first person I played catch with as a travel ball player.

“After that, we played together for three years, then we ended up on different teams in travel ball competing against each other in All-Stars a number of times.

“In eighth grade, we rejoined on the same travel ball team, The San Diego Diamonds.

“We played that year together and found out later that we were going to be attending Monte Vista High School together.

“Being the only two freshmen on the varsity team, Ernie and I grew a bond that could never be severed.

“Hearing about Ernie’s commitment to Chico State makes me proud as a teammate, but also as a friend and a brother.

“I’m extremely proud of Ernie and excited to see where his baseball career takes him.”

Until that time comes, the Monarchs finished 13-11 and 7-4, and second in the Grossmont Valley League. Mt. Carmel will be their first opponent for the SDS-CIF playoffs, and the Monarchs should be commended on a phenomenal season.

Ernie Arambula shall definitely be a name you shall hear in the playoffs, as well.


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