Former Clayton Valley Charter High and Diablo Valley College player Bill Ralston capped a breakout sophomore season at Metropolitan State University of Denver by earning third team Division II All-America honors this month from American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings.
Playing third base for the Roadrunners, Ralston started and played in 43 of the team’s 44 games as they finished with a 34-10 overall record.
They were second in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in the regular season and eliminated in the semi-finals of the conference playoffs by Colorado Mesa, which was the consensus No. 1 D-II team in the nation through the regular season.
The two-time all-league Ugly Eagles player graduated from Clayton Valley Charter in 2017 where he played for his uncle Casey Coakley. He was awarded a scholarship to Saint Mary’s College and redshirted for the Gaels in the 2018 season.
His one-year SMC baseball scholarship wasn’t renewed so Ralston went to Diablo Valley College and played in the final season of Hall of Fame coach Steve Ward. He had four home runs and drove in 23 that year for the Vikings.
Ralston then went to San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton to play under another renowned coach Reed Peters. That 2020 season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the infielder showed enough ability that Peters recommended him to Metro State, where Peter’s son Cade was playing.
Before gaining the All-America recognition earlier this month Ralston was named top third baseman on the first-team All-South Central Region Division II by three organizations: American Baseball Coaches Association, Division II Conference Commissioners Association and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
An All-RMAC first team selection, Ralston’s national rankings included 22nd in runs (53) and 31st in RBIs (52).
In the RMAC, he ranked sixth in batting (.395), tied for seventh in RBIs, and tied for eighth in homers (11) as well as first in sacrifice flies (6), second in walks (29), sixth in runs, seventh in on-base percentage (.484), eighth in hits (60), 10th in total bases (105) and 11th in slugging percentage (.691).
His dad, Bob Ralston, long-time local baseball coach at the high school and college level, says “perseverance and hanging in there” allowed his son to flourish this year.
Bill Ralston started playing this month in Charlotte, NC, in a summer wood bat college league. Two summers ago, after his year at DVC he played for the Yuba Sutter Gold Sox in his first experience with wood bats. Of course, there was no baseball last summer due to the pandemic.
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.