A short time after it began, the coronavirus pandemic forced the CIF to cancel the rest of the spring sports season, which meant an abrupt ending to the high school careers of spring sports seniors around the central valley. As a way of honoring some of these outstanding seniors, our Sports Central team will be presenting a series of stories called “Senior Standouts” each Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday through the end of June.
FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — If there was no coronavirus, the Mountain West Baseball Tournament would have taken place this past weekend, with the Diamond ‘Dogs looking to defend their title. But with no college baseball season to talk about, it’s time to start looking ahead to next year, when the program will welcome a dynamic combo from Clovis West — pitchers Ixan Henderson and Noah Galvan.
This righty-lefty duo was hoping to lead the Golden Eagles to their first Valley baseball championship since 2004.
“Every time we’d be out here working late at night and stuff,” said Henderson, while being interviewed in the outfield grass at Stan Bledsoe Field, the home ballpark for Clovis West. “I’d always look at that (the field’s scoreboard, which lists the 2004 Valley title on it), and just want it to say 2020 on there (as well).”
“Having a 1-2 (pitching combo) is something that is needed,” said Galvan. “We were confident that we could shut down any team with the pitching staff we had.”
Henderson was the lefty, and fellow senior Galvan, the righty. Both can reach the 90’s on the radar gun.
“Righty-lefty. That’s pretty dirty. Noone really had that,” said Henderson.
We missed out on their final high school run together, but we’re not done seeing these good friends competing here in the Valley. They’re headed down the road to Fresno State in the fall, as both committed to play for the Bulldogs on the same day last summer, on an official visit together.
“I’ve always looked at Fresno State as a really, really top-tier program for me,” said Henderson. “Especially being so close to home.”
“Your dream in high school. Go on with your high school buddy. Play college ball. Isn’t anything else I’d wanna do really,” added Galvan.
Noah played his first two years of high school baseball at Madera High. He had a 1.64 ERA with 80 strikeouts, in 76.2 career innings on the mound for the Golden Eagles.
“Playing in the TRAC (Tri-Rivers Athletic Conference) also gives you a lot of exposure,” said Galvan. “It’s one of the best sections in the state, and that really puts your name on the map.”
Henderson meantime, had been nasty to start this season. He was 2-1, with a 1.05 ERA, and 39 strikeouts in his first 20 innings pitched, before his senior season was halted. And Ixan can do more than just pitch. He also played centerfield and first base for Clovis West, and was hitting .348 with a couple homers through the Eagles first nine games this year.
“I like to swing it,” said Henderson. Hopefully, I still get to swing it in college.”
Either way, both these guys can’t wait to be the latest in a long line of local guys to join Mike Batesole’s program.
“It’s definitely really cool having Valley guys in there,” said Noah.
“I’ve gone to the Fresno State football games for years. Basketball, baseball games for years, since I was a little kid,” summed up Ixan. “And the fact that I get to play for that team now, that brings me pride you know.”