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Watsonville native San Jose State student drafted into MLB

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION) A San Jose State University junior and Watsonville native has been drafted into the MLB in the fourth round.

The player, Ruben Ibarra, graduated from St. Francis High School in Watsonville back in 2017. According to San Jose State, he earned all-league for baseball, football and basketball while there and earned the MVP award for baseball. The university said he also holds the record for most home runs in St. Francis' history.

Ibarra was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds and was the 119th pick. While at San Jose State, he received All-Mountain West recognition at the end of the 2021 season. He is also ranked among the best in all of Division I in many categories, according to the university.

From an early age, Ruben Ibarra describes baseball as his first love and always knew he wanted to play for the big leagues. All his efforts, sacrifice, and dedication paid off the moment he realized he was being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, the moment felt surreal.

"This is just something that's like my hair is standing up, it's kinda hard to sit still a little bit. This is something I've always dreamed of as a little kid. There's more than butterflies going on. This is the opportunity of a lifetime," said Ibarra.

Those who have seen Ibarra grow up and helped him play since he was about 10 years old say it's an accomplishment that's well deserved.

"It was very exciting. It almost feels like it's our kid. We've pretty coached him since he was 10 and we knew it was going to be something special," said Phil Gomez.

Ibarra's mother, Nicole, says he couldn't be more proud of her son. She says that he's been a great role model for his siblings and neighborhood kids.

"He's such a great example to his older brothers. He's a great example to kids in this neighborhood. I can't tell you how many kids, he has helped coach through the little league with his little brothers that all wanted to here for the draft," said Nicole.

He never plans on forgetting this neighborhood but is ready to go big and play major league baseball.

"It hasn't sunken in yet because it feels like I'm the same guy. I just want to go out there and prove myself," said Ibarra.

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Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Stephanie Aceves

Stephanie Aceves is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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