Two-sport star Sotelo shows fierce determination

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San Benito High second baseman Andrew Sotelo avoids the sliding baserunner as he turns a double play against Christopher in a April 16 game. 

Coaches love athletes like Andrew Sotelo, an incoming San Benito High senior who practices everyday with fierce determination while being able to transfer that energy to game day.
Sotelo, a two-sport star in baseball and football, has drawn rave reviews from longtime San Benito football coach Chris Cameron and baseball coach Billy Aviles.
“Andrew has all of the intangibles in that he knows how to play the game,” Aviles said. “He’s always in the right spot, and he’s got the tools to go along with knowledge of the game.”
A second baseman and shortstop, Sotelo’s combination of skills was on display at the Bay Area World Series, a premier showcase event that took place in mid-July at Santa Clara University in front of dozens of scouts and college coaches.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking at times, but you do what you have to do to perform your best,” he said.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Sotelo was impressive enough that he received a scholarship offer last week from Cal State Los Angeles, a solid Division II program. Aviles said it’s no surprise Sotelo has garnered the attention of four-year schools, especially after his showing at the Bay Area World Series.
“From what I heard, Andrew swung the bat well,” Aviles said. “He’s got a really short swing and great hand-eye coordination. He’s not 6-4 and 225 pounds, but he swings the bat like he is. The kid can fly and he’s great defensively.”
Sotelo has had a busy summer; his typical day had him waking up at 5:30 a.m. for 6 a.m. football practices/conditioning before playing games in the evening with the traveling club team Watsonville Aggies.
He played a whopping 46 games this summer, and he also attended three weeks of summer school.
“This is the first two weeks I’ve been able to sleep in and relax,” Sotelo said. “I had a lot of fun playing baseball this summer, but I’m glad it’s over.”
He has a week off before football practice starts again Aug. 14. A returning all-league strong safety—he also plays receiver and returns punts—Sotelo can’t believe he’s entering his final season of high school sports.
“It’s crazy. I remember as a sophomore being in the CCS championship game,” he said. “I’ve had a great experience here playing both sports. I have a little more fun playing football than baseball, but whatever sport is going to take me to the next level, I’m going to have to take it.”
Sotelo displays playmaking ability in both sports, combining physical talent with a strong mental approach. Coaches like the way Sotelo handles himself, meaning he is a no-nonsense athlete whose only concern is doing the right things to help the team win. Sotelo said the key to playing well in games is staying loose.
“Once the game starts, I relax and everything comes naturally,” he said.
At the Bay Area World Series, Sotelo said the only time he was actually nervous was during the drill portion of the event, when infielders took turns taking four groundballs in a row. Otherwise, Sotelo let the game come to him, and he enhanced his stock to prospective college programs.
“I felt like I played really well,” he said. “During the games, I hit the ball hard and felt like I took a lot of good swings.”

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