They come from divergent cultures and are a generation apart.
But Touching all the Bases proudly awards its most treasured honor, the Matt Johnston Award for heart-and-soul dedication to baseball, to Lawrence High senior Jose Cedano.
Why? Simply put, through baseball and their love of the game, the late Johnston and Cedano are so alike.
Johnston was a former Central Catholic dirt dog and later an Eagle-Tribune sports intern, who dove into baseball head first.
Not blessed with great natural skills, he persevered and climbed over every hurdle to make the varsity team.
That description has to ring familiar with Lawrence High coach Brendan Neilon, one of Cedano’s biggest fans.
“In an era where everyone loves to fall in love with stats, Jose is the hardest working player we have ever had, most likely the hardest worker in the area,” said Neilon.
“We have had some great players here with loads of talent but as far as the will and drive to win in any way, Jose is at the top of that list. He is the guy we could not win without this year and was voted our MVP.”
Cedano’s unspectacular .286 average and even this year’s all-conference selection pale to what matters most in his eyes.
“He has two MVC championships under his belt here and has done everything to help his team win,” said Neilon, noting how his Salem State-bound backstop refuses to take even a pitch off.
“He blocks every baseball thrown at him regardless of the count, the score, in a real game or practice.”
Cedano’s career at LHS was all about getting on the field and winning. He is the perfect choice for the 2013 Johnston Award.
YENNACO AWARD TO WHITTIER’S WELLS
You got the feeling watching Whittier Tech ace Andrew Wells that he savored every strikeout.