Kobayashi to Gonzaga and Gomez to Cal State Fullerton as Citrus has pair of baseball standouts move on

Sam Gomez and Kanta Kobayashi. (Photos by Brianna Jara)
Sam Gomez and Kanta Kobayashi. (Photos by Brianna Jara)

GLENDORA - Two of Citrus College's top baseball players will continue their playing careers at the NCAA Division I level as Kanta Kobayashi and Samuel Gomez have accepted scholarships. 

Kobayashi heads to Gonzaga University, while Gomez doesn't have to travel too far as he joins the Cal State Fullerton roster.

Kobayashi, a sophomore outfielder from Tokyo, led the Fighting Owls with a .341 batting average this year, including .411 on-base and .435 slugging percentages. Last year, Kobayashi earned All-Southern California ABCA/Rawling, California Community College All-Southern California and All-Western State Conference East honors.

"Citrus will always be a place that challenged me and has given me many memories, both good and bad," said Kobayashi. "I'm thankful for my teammates. They are great players and humans and thanks to them, I was able to achieve better results than I thought. Unfortunately, we could not finish the season due to the corona virus this year, but I am grateful to have been able to play with my teammates. Everything I've learned from my coaches at Citrus will help me at the next level at Gonzaga."

Kobayashi chose Gonzaga, the West Coast Conference 2020 preseason favorite, because of the level of baseball the Zags play at and he wanted to experience another state in the USA.

"Even though I will miss California with my friends, Gonzaga will be a great opportunity for my personal growth," said Kobayashi.

Gomez, a sophomore left-handed pitcher from Hacienda Heights, Calif., was the Owls' ace this year, finishing with a team-best 1.37 ERA. He averaged 12.36 strikeouts per nine innings, which ranked sixth in the State, and had a game where he tossed 15 knockouts. Last year, Gomez earned All-Western State Conference East recognition.

"I appreciate my time at Citrus because it allowed for me to grow not only as an individual, but also as a better teammate," said Gomez. "I'm thankful for the coaches I've had these past two seasons and learned so much, especially from Coach Justin Grijalva. He has taught me so much and helped develop me in the pitcher I am today."

Gomez joins a well-established ball club with the Titans, a team that has never had a losing season at the NCAA Division I level.

"I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to compete at a high level next year," said Gomez. "I'm excited to hopefully make an impact at Cal State Fullerton next year, but I'll miss all my teammates that I never got to finish my last season off with. I'm grateful for all the close friendships I have made with everyone."

(Andrew Wheeler, Citrus College)