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All-Northern Section baseball and softball teams announced – Chico Enterprise-Record

Chico High head coach Brian Thomas (center) calls a meeting on the mound with his pitcher Rex Edwards (third from right) during the Panthers' 6-5 loss to Pleasant Valley on Monday, April 1, 2024, at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif. (Ben Mota/All Axis Sports)

With graduation ceremonies upon us and the class of 2023-24 preparing for the next step in their lives, it is time to announce the players and coaches who received All-Northern Section Baseball and Softball honors.

Teams across the Northern Section are selected by regional media representatives from Enterprise-Record, Paradise Post, Redding Record Searchlight, Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Red Bluff Daily News, Shasta County Sports and MaxPreps.

The Chico High baseball team won 14 of its last 16 games, including its last 11 Eastern Athletic League games, to claim the Northern Section Division II championship. The Panthers were led by new coach Brian Thomas, who received Coach of the Year honors.

“It is a great honor to receive this award, especially given the number of outstanding coaches in our area,” Thomas said via text message on Friday. “I could not have received this award without the support of my assistant coaches. I am over the moon to have Andy Quiring and Tom Miles on my team. Of course the players are a big reason and this would not have been possible without them, but without my assistants we would not have been able to achieve these successes this year.”

“To accomplish this in my first year is an incredible feeling,” he continued. “It's a testament to the hard work my players have put in all season. The guys have relied on attitude and effort, the two pillars of the program.”

Thomas noted that he knew there would be a transition early this season as the team got to know each other and developed an identity, as evidenced by the Panthers' 7-5-1 start, but once the team got into gear, success continued.

“After talking to (last year's coach) Fred Ludwig and getting a look at the players, I knew we had a good chance to do something special,” Thomas said. “My guys have been playing together for a long time and they all came together to achieve a common goal. It was my job to steer the ship and hold them accountable to the goal they wanted to achieve. It just wasn't too difficult to keep them on the right track.”

Panthers first baseman Luke Henderson and third baseman Malachi Bosschart were named to the first team, while pitcher Rex Edwards and all-around player Jaden Neugebauer were named to the second team. It was the second consecutive first-team honors for Henderson and the second consecutive second-team honors for Edwards.

Gridley, which won its first NSCIF playoff game of the 2022-23 season, came out of the losers bracket and defeated Lassen 6-3 in the NSCIF D-III championship. Outfielder Garrett Francis represents the Bulldogs on the First Team.