Coming off their extraordinary 33-1 season, it is no surprise that a trio of Colusa RedHawks including Ethan Lay, Luke Kalfsbeek, and Coach Eric Lay occupy prominent positions on the 2022 All-Northern Section team; however, the accolades perhaps hold more significance this season given that each has a particular historical connection.
Topping the list is Ethan Lay, the Most Valuable Player and Colusa’s first in baseball team history.
A right-handed pitcher, Lay put together a remarkable senior season, etching his name into the section record book, after going 83 consecutive scoreless innings in 2022 and 95 straight dating back to his junior year.
In doing so, he broke the previous record of 57 belonging to Maxwell’s Steven Perry, who, in a twist of fate, played for then Panther coach Eric Lay when he set the mark in 2011, and this season joined the RedHawk staff as an assistant.
Lay was the team’s workhorse, logging 85 innings and 14 wins, and while he did not break the section record for strikeouts in a single season, 180 set in 1988 by Maxwell product Greg Wells, he did crack into the national ranks, finishing fourth this year with 155 punch outs and a miniscule 0.16 ERA, which was good for 20th.
Also garnering All-Section honors was the second half of Colusa’s dynamic duo, Luke Kalfsbeek, who, in another nod to history, replicates an honor that his uncle, Matt Vedo, now another RedHawk assistant, achieved in 2008.
In addition to 68 innings of work on the mound, Kalfsbeek, one of two sophomores on the first team, also put in time at first base and in the outfield.
Kalfsbeek was third in the section, recording 98 strikeouts and sported a 0.51 ERA, while at the plate led Colusa with a .404 batting average and 1.125 OPS.
Making all the right moves for the RedHawks in their record-breaking season was Coach Lay, who for the third time was recognized as the section’s Coach of the Year.
Yet, this one is a little more meaningful given that for only the second time the Northern Section, a parent and child received the Northern Section’s COY and MVP in the same season, as Lay and son Ethan have now done.
With Lay and son Ethan accomplishing the feat, they join only one other pair, which dating back to 2008, when Red Bluff’s Kim Wheeler was selected COY, while daughter Jacklyn was the MVP.
As a result of this year’s achievement, Lay jumps ahead of other distinguished baseball coaches, including Winters’ Jeff Ingles, Chico’s Chip Carton and Central Valley’s Bob Anderson, who each have two COY awards to their credit.
Sports writers from various North State media outlets select the All-Northern Section team. ■