Senior Daniel White of the St. Monica's Varsity baseball smiles and celebrates with teamates after hitting the game winning hit which drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning at Marine Park on Friday May 7th 2010 as St. Monicas hosted Serra in an El-Camino Real League Varsity baseball game and won 7-6 in nine innings. (photo by Morgan Genser)

ST. MONICA — St. Monica’s baseball team’s reward for a successful two-season run in the Camino Real is a move to a more difficult league.

The Mariners completed this season second in league and won the Camino Real crown last season, which, by league rules, forces St. Monica to bump up to the more competitive Del Rey League, which includes perennial powerhouses Bishop Amat and St. Paul, Head Coach Jack White said.

“It’s tough for us to compete with them,” White said.

The bylaws of the Camino Del Rey Assoc. state that teams are shifted between the two leagues based on performance, with the more successful teams migrating to the Del Rey League every two seasons. From this year forward, the last place finisher in the Del Rey will move down to the Camino Real league each year with the Camino Real winner moving up.

St. Monica could have stayed in its league if not for a pair of late season victories over eventual Camino Real League champ Cathedral. Ironically, those wins factored heavily into the Mariners’ second place finish, forcing the move.

The last season St. Monica competed in the Del Rey League was the 2007-08 season. The Mariners struggled and finished with a dismal 1-11 league record.

As any coach would say, White is confident that his team will compete in the league with some of the lower-tier teams, but it’s Bishop Amat, winner of three-straight Del Rey titles, that concerns him the most.

White said that he’s in agreement with at least one other coach in the Del Rey League that Bishop Amat should be shipped out to an even more competitive league to even the playing field for the rest of the teams.

“The remaining teams are all pretty competitive,” White said.

He did add that the new rule helps teams who under-perform in the Del Rey, which could have saved Cantwell-Sacred Heart a bit of grief. The team finished 0-24 in league this past two seasons, something that would have been prevented if the new rule was in place.

“At least you only get one bad year instead of two,” White said. “What happened to Cantwell was just terrible.”

With next season bringing a host of new challenges, the Mariners’ most recent season in the Camino Real League has yielded positive results beyond the good finishes.

The Mariners were recognized for its success this season by earning a number of nods on the All-Camino Real League teams, which were released late last month.

Senior center fielder Danny White was named league Most Valuable Player. Shortstop/pitcher Michael Redondo and third baseman Kyle Schwan were named to the first team. Pitcher/first baseman Andy Loef, catcher Adrian Villasenor and utility man Marcos Munoz were named to the second team.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for your hard work,” White said about the selections.

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