Los Angeles Preps: Orange County

Locals off board early in Day 2 of draft

June, 5, 2012
Right-handed pitcher Chase DeJong of Long Beach Wilson was selected 81st overall by the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday in the second round of the MLB Draft.

DeJong, a USC signee, has some family history with the Blue Jays. His older cousin, Jordan DeJong, played briefly with Toronto in 2007. DeJong was 4-3 with a 0.82 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings in his senior season at Wilson.

Joe Muņoz, a shortstop from Los Altos who has signed with San Diego State, went 90th overall to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Tyrone Taylor of Torrance was picked 92nd overall by the Milwaukee Brewers. Taylor, an outfielder who also starred on the gridiron, is a Cal State Fullerton signee.

Bishop Amat infielder Rio Ruiz, a two-sport star who was projected as a possible first-round selection before a blood clot sidelined him for most of his senior season, was taken by the Houston Astros with the first pick of the fourth round, 129th overall. Ruiz, a USC signee, was an AFLAC All-American selection and played on the U.S. youth national team last summer.

Kieran Lovegrove, a right-handed pitcher from Mission Viejo, was picked in the third round by the Cleveland Indians. He was the 110th overall selection.

In the sixth round, the Seattle Mariners selected Huntington Beach Edison shortstop Timmy Lopes, the 191st overall pick.

Ron Miller, a third baseman who left Gardena Serra after his junior season, was selected in the 10th round by the Miami Marlins.

Hunter Virant, a left-handed pitcher from Camarillo, was selected in the 11th round by the Houston Astros. He is committed to UCLA.

Trey Williams from Valencia High, a power-hitting shortstop, was picked in the 11th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. He hit .378 with five home runs and 24 RBIs in his senior season. Williams is committed to Pepperdine.

Jordan Guerrero, a left-handed pitcher from Moorpark High School, was selected in the 15th round by the Chicago White Sox.

RIVERSIDE -- Kiel Alcaraz had been away from baseball for close to seven years. He had strayed from the sport, gravitating instead toward football and track at Desert Christian of Lancaster.

Classmates begged Alcaraz to return to the diamond for one last hurrah. After all, he already had the skill set -- the power of football, the speed of track -- and he'd just need some fine tuning. Alcaraz eventually took head coach Dennis Shyrock up on his offer and, as it turned out, the decision paid off.

Alcaraz scored the winning run in Desert Christian's extra-innings win against Capistrano Valley Christian at UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon, guiding the Knights to their first CIF-Southern Section Division 6 baseball title. Alcaraz led off the eighth inning with a loud liner to the left-center field gap. That was the power of football. Next came the speed of track.

"I turned on the jets," Alcaraz said of his clutch triple.

Chance Gusbeth followed by lining a two-strike pitch to center for the go-ahead run. Fitting, if only because Gusbeth, a fellow running back, had been one of the main advocates in Alcaraz's ears after football season.

"It feels pretty good," Shyrock said. "It's a lot of pain and sweat that comes to even get to this game. It was two years ago that we were sitting outside."

Jared Nunez singled in Gusbeth for the two-run cushion, which reliever Justin Tition preserved in the bottom half of the frame. Capistrano Valley Christian had a chance to win in the seventh inning but stranded the bases loaded to send the game into extras.

Little-used sophomore Chris Bradley earned the victory, tossing 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

(Read full post)

Kaiser HS softballMartin Henderson for ESPNLA.comKaiser won the CIF-SS Division 4 softball title after falling short in the championship game in 2011.

IRVINE --In the end, somebody had to lose.

Even though nobody deserved to.

In a title game between a couple of unseeded teams, both played like champions Friday night at Col. Bill Barber Park in Irvine. What fans at Deanna Manning Stadium got was a pitchers' duel that had a little bit of everything.

Finally, in the bottom of the 11th inning, Jasmine Antunez's high pitch got away from catcher Jenevee Peres and Rebecca Garcia sprinted home to give Fontana Kaiser a 1-0 victory in the Southern Section Division 4 championship.

Kaiser (23-8) was in the championship for the second year in a row, but this was its first title.

Garcia ran for No. 9 hitter Alyssa Dilay after her bouncer into the hole at shortstop gave Kaiser its fourth hit of the game. She took second on a sacrifice and third on a grounder to short. Then, on Antunez's first pitch to No. 3 hitter Jesslene Contreras, her high pitch glanced off Peres' mitt. Garcia raced home and was safe by a mile. It was scored a passed ball.

One of the longest championship games ever was finally over.

Garcia said her run home was the longest of her life. But, she said, she was "110 percent confident."

"I saw the ball die at the fence," she said. "I knew I was already there and it was our game."

(Read full post)

Baseball D2: Pacifica 3, Aliso Niguel 2 (10)

June, 1, 2012
Pacific HS baseball team celebratingTim Haddock for ESPNLA.comThe Pacifica baseball team celebrates its first CIF-SS title in school history.

LOS ANGELES – With two outs and a runner on third in the bottom of the 10th inning, Pacifica’s Trent Chatterton ended one of the longest playoff games in CIF Southern Section history with an RBI single down the left-field line.

He knocked in Daniel Ferrell to give Pacifica a 3-2 win over Aliso Niguel in the Southern Section Division 2 championship game at Dodger Stadium on Friday.

“I was just trying to put good swings on the ball all day,” Chatterton said. “There’s no better feeling. It’s just been a great time. I love it.”

It was the first CIF Southern Section baseball championship for Pacifica (28-5). The Mariners reached the championship game in 2003 and lost to La Quinta, 2-1. The last time a Southern Section title game went at least this long was 1955 when Montebello won in 14 innings.

Against Aliso Niguel, Pacifica had to erase a 2-0 deficit and rally in the 10th inning for the win.

Aliso Niguel (23-12) scored two runs in the first inning. Matt Molnar hit a two-run single that scored Kyle Paris and Justin Fowler.

Pacifica tied the score in the third inning. Chatterton knocked in a run with a one-out double and Kyle Davis added an RBI groundout.

The score remained tied until the 10th inning.

Aliso Niguel starter Brett Barker went nine innings and held Pacifica to eight hits. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.

(Read full post)

North: Five things from the weekend

May, 29, 2012
  1. Westlake defensive back Dashon Hunt picked up his ninth scholarship offer. Boise State joined the fray. Hunt, who will be a senior in the fall, has verbally declared to UCLA, but is still receiving offers from other colleges. He is the 12th ranked defensive back in the country by ESPNU. He has received offers from USC, Washington and Colorado among others. “I’m keeping my options wide open for any college that shows me interest at this point,” Hunt said in a text message.
  2. The Mira Costa boys volleyball team won the Southern California Regional Division II championship in five games over Oak Park at Irvine Valley College. Mira Costa, ranked No. 2 in the nation by ESPN HS, won its second regional championship in the past three years. Oak Park won the first game, 26-24, then dropped the next two. Mira Costa lost the fourth game, again by a score of 26-24, before winning the fifth game, 20-18. Mira Costa’s Christopher Orenic had a match-high 33 kills. Justin Parks had 23 kills and 12 digs for Oak Park. Oak Park won the Southern Section Division II championship and made its first appearance in the Southern California Regional playoffs.
  3. The Windward boys volleyball team won the Southern California Regional Division III championship, sweeping Campbell Hall in the title match. Windward’s Ryan Manoogian had 12 kills and eight digs to lead his team. Robert Cavanaugh recorded 26 assists and had trouble finding a flow in the Campbell Hall attack. Campbell Hall reached the semifinals of the Southern Section Division IV playoffs and lost to Santa Monica.
  4. Only one seeded team remains in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Mater Dei from Santa Ana, the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, takes on Newbury Park tonight in the semifinals at Blair Field at Long Beach State. Mater Dei is coming of a 5-2 win over Esperanza in the quarterfinals. Newbury Park, behind ace Luke Eubank, eliminated Saugus, 7-3, in their quarterfinal game. West Ranch plays Corona in the other semifinal at Blair Field at 4 today. West Ranch upset top-seeded Orange Lutheran, 5-4, in the quarterfinals. Corona, a wild-card team from the Big VIII League, has won four playoff games in a row and eliminated El Dorado, 7-4, in the quarterfinals. No. 3 seed JW North lost to Saugus, 7-4, in the second round. Third-seeded Long Beach Poly lost to Huntington Beach, 2-1, in the first round.
  5. San Fernando, the reigning City Section Division I champion, is still alive in the playoffs. The third-seeded Tigers play second-seeded Chatsworth in the semifinals at USC on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Neither team has allowed a run in the playoffs. San Fernando shut out Granada Hills, 3-0, in the first round, then ousted Birmingham, 2-0, in the quarterfinals. Chatsworth blanked Bell, 6-0, in the first round and Woodland Hills Taft, 11-0, in the quarterfinals. Top-seeded El Camino Real plays fourth-seeded San Pedro in the other semifinal at USC. El Camino Real beat Verdugo Hills, 5-1, to reach the semifinals. San Pedro beat Kennedy, 5-4, in the quarterfinals.

West Ranch upsets top-seeded OLu

May, 25, 2012

STEVENSON RANCH – West Ranch freshman second baseman Jagger Rusconi played five of the roughest innings of his young high school baseball career in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs against top-seeded Orange Lutheran.

He took a hard ground ball off his knee playing defense. He fouled a ball of his other knee in one of his at-bats. It’s safe to say he was pretty banged up when he came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning.

With West Ranch down by a run, Rusconi hit a bases-loaded, ground-rule double that scored two runs and gave his team the lead. The Wildcats went on to win, 5-4, and eliminated Orange Lutheran, ranked No. 4 in the nation by ESPN HS, from the Division 1 playoffs.

“He’s never acted like a freshman this year,” West Ranch coach Casey Burrill said. “We’ve never felt that way. Every time he comes to the plate, we think he’s going to put the barrel on the ball and hit something hard. With the bunch of curveballs they were throwing him, we all in the dugout thought they’re going to hang one and he is going to absolutely crush it. That’s exactly what happened. He does not play baseball like a freshman.”

Rusconi’s two-run double gave West Ranch its first lead of the game. Orange Lutheran had leads of 1-0 and 3-1, but West Ranch came back each time to tie the score. Orange Lutheran starter Art Moran-Vidrio fell victim to four errors and gave up only one earned run on seven hits.

“I think what happened today is a tribute to West Ranch’s hitters doing a great job,” Orange Lutheran coach Eric Borba said. “They took advantage of any mistake Art made. They never made it easy on him and made him throw a lot of pitches. They’re hitters deserve the credit. I think Art had some of the best stuff he’s had all year.”

Orange Lutheran broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the sixth inning. Dalton Frize drove in Travis Blue with a two-out single. But Frize was thrown out at second to end the inning.

West Ranch starter JC Cloney pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits. He struck out seven and walked five.

“I think JC will be the first one to tell you he didn’t have his best stuff today,” Burrill said. “He couldn’t go to some pitches he was able to go to in the past. After giving up three runs and us being down, he put up some zeros. He kept us in this game so we could have this ending.”

Rusconi’s two-run double scored Justin Hovis, who led off the inning with a ground-rule double, and JD Krauskopf.

Tyler Woldanski hit a solo home run for West Ranch to lead off the fourth inning.

Josh Morgan was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and scored two runs for Orange Lutheran.

West Ranch plays Corona in the semifinals of the Division 1 playoffs on Tuesday. Corona, a wild-card team, beat El Dorado, 7-4, to reach the semifinals.

Baseball: Glendora upsets Cypress in Div. 2

May, 22, 2012
Senior pitcher Wyatt Wood tossed his first complete game of the season Tuesday afternoon to help Glendora upset fourth-seeded Cypress, 5-2, in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 baseball playoffs.

Wood, who has dealt with control issues in his first true year as a pitcher, gave up a two-run homer in the first inning but was spectacular the rest of the way. He responded with a two-run blast of his own in the bottom half of the inning.

"What he did was special," Glendora head coach Dan Henley said.

Glendora (18-9), which finished in a tie for first place in the Baseline League, will face Trabuco Hills on Friday. Cypress (25-7) became the latest team to fall in an upset -- top-seeded Harvard-Westlake also stumbled, losing 3-1 to Placentia Valencia.

"We knew we'd have to play all facets of the game to be competitive," Henley said. "We're a young team and I'd hate to use the term 'rebuilding' but this was a game our kids were looking forward to. ... [Wood] picked a great time to shine."

Mission Viejo keeps repeat hopes alive

May, 22, 2012
Anthony ShewBlair Angulo for ESPN.comAnthony Shew found his groove again in leading Mission Viejo over Damien

LA VERNE -- The pitcher with the funky delivery picked the right time to snap out of his funk.

Mission Viejo right-hander Anthony Shew had been knocked around in recent weeks, failing to fool opponents with his uncommon throwing motion. The senior seemed to recapture his deceptiveness in a complete-game effort Tuesday afternoon, leading the Diablos to a 9-1 victory over Damien in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 baseball playoffs.

Defending section champion Mission Viejo advanced to the quarterfinals, where it will meet second-seeded Pacifica of Garden Grove on Friday.

Shew had been tagged for 35 hits over his last four starts but gave up just five -- all singles -- on Tuesday. The lone run Damien mustered came in the first inning. Shew struck out six and closed the door by retiring the last seven batters in order.

"It's great to see him bounce back," said senior first baseman Mitch Holland, whose three-run double in the fourth broke the game open. "He's one of my best friends and I know how hard it is on him when he doesn't pitch well."

Holland continued his torrid hitting. He had a pair of three-run home runs in a first-round win last week and, on Tuesday, extended his hot streak.

"He's a big, strong kid. He's been a three-year varsity player and a team leader," Mission Viejo head coach Chris Ashbach said. "He's the nicest kid in the world, so I couldn't be happier to see this happening for him right now."

Holland's bases-clearing rocket to dead center field knocked out Damien starting pitcher Grant Hockin, a highly regarded sophomore who has already verbally committed to play at UCLA. Hockin had beaten Mission Viejo, 3-0, in a tournament game at Chino last month.

"I've been hot lately and looking for the fastball early," Holland said. "He left the ball out over the plate after working me in and out really hard. I hit it hard and luckily it dropped."

(Read full post)

For those in Orange County looking for the best game on Tuesday in the second round of the playoffs—in baseball or softball—might we suggest filling the gas tank and heading to Simi Valley? Garden Grove Pacifica, ranked No. 2 in the nation by ESPN in softball, will play Simi Valley Royal, which is ranked No. 25.

Statewide, It's No. 2 vs. No. 8.

And, we remind you, this is a second-round game in the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.

The Mariners, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation before losing their Empire League finale to Cypress, got three home runs in a 7-0 victory over Fullerton Rosary in the first round. It was the first time this season that Rosary had been shut out, but the Royals were unable to score against the pitching combo of Kaley Winegarner and Kaylee Carlson.

But unlike Rosary, Royal counters with one of the Southland's outstanding pitchers, Nancy Bowling, who has committed to Arizona. Bowling (25-2) has 240 strikeouts in 156 innings, and her 0.36 earned-run average is lower than both Winegarner's and Carlson's.

Not that Bowling is going to have an easy time of it. In Pacifica, Bowling is facing a team that bats a collective .348 and has 30 home runs, led by Nicole DeWitt's eight.

(Read full post)

1. Corona del Mar's hopes of winning a second consecutive Southern Section volleyball championship ended in four games as the second-seeded Sea Kings were dethroned by top-seeded Oak Park, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-21, on Saturday in the Division 2 finals. More bad news came Sunday: CdM was not selected to play in the Southern California Regional playoffs, leaving Orange County in the rare position of not having a representative playing for a regional title.

2. James Kaprielian and Irvine Beckman were almost a casualty of the first round. Kaprielian is one of the Southland's outstanding pitchers, but the second-seeded Patriots needed a two-out, seventh-inning RBI single by Torin Goldstein—who drove in Jake Hazard—to provide a 1-0 victory over El Rancho. Kaprielian (10-2) pitched a two-hitter and struck out 12. In his last nine appearances—five of which were seven innings—Kaprielian has allowed three hits or fewer. In that span: 49 2/3 innings, 13 hits, 4 walks, 68 strikeouts.

3. So much for baseball rankings. The Sunset League laid the hurt on the Moore League as at-large Huntington Beach won at fourth-seeded Long Beach Poly in the opening round Friday, 2-1, as Shane Grace scattered five hits and Matt Urabe went three-for-three and drove in both runs. Another Sunset League school, Huntington Beach Marina, KO'd highly regarded (and seventh-seeded) Lakewood, 2-0, behind Austin Olivas' four-hitter. It was fairly indicative of Orange County's performance: in games that two O.C. teams weren't playing each other in the first round, the county went 5-2; the only setbacks were Marmonte League champ Agoura's home win over Brea Olinda, 6-1, and third-seeded Riverside North beating (another Sunset League team) Huntington Beach Edison, 11-2. In both cases, the O.C. teams had to win play-in games before going on the road.

(Read full post)

Volleyball: Mira Costa wins Div. 1 title

May, 19, 2012
Mira Costa captured its seventh CIF-Southern Section boys' volleyball title Saturday night by upsetting top-seeded Loyola in the Division 1 final at Cypress College. The Mustangs won an exciting five-set match, 25-18, 25-22, 25-27, 21-25, 15-12.

Loyola (33-2) never faced a two-set deficit all year and nearly completed the comeback.

"We wanted to give them trouble," Mira Costa coach Mike Ninnis told Fox Sports Preps Zone Live. "Things worked out for us."

Third-seeded Mira Costa (32-4) had lost to Loyola twice during the regular season, but won the one that mattered. Loyola, which swept through every set in the playoffs, dodged two match points in the third set.

In the Division 2 final, Oak Park defeated Corona del Mar in four sets to win its first section title. South Torrance beat Warren in four sets to claim the Division 3 title, and Los Angeles Cathedral ousted defending champion Santa Monica in five sets to win Division 4. Chadwick swept Viewpoint in Division 5.

Agoura guts one out against Brea Olinda

May, 18, 2012

AGOURA HILLS -- Agoura’s Justin Cana was sick, both literally and figuratively, in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I baseball playoffs against Brea Olinda.

After leading off the game with a triple and scoring on a wild pitch, Cana puked in the dugout. He collected two more hits, a double and another triple, drove in three runs and led Agoura to a 6-1 win over visiting Brea Olinda on Friday.

“Apparently he was sick all day today,” Agoura coach Mike Cordero said. “He was throwing up in the second inning. He comes in and hits a lead-off triple, goes and throws up, hits a double, then he came out with another triple. Pretty impressive I think.”

Agoura starter Jordan Shulman was equally ill on the mound, tossing a complete-game and scattering nine hits.

More importantly, Shulman provided the pitching staff with a prescription for success saving the Agoura arms for future playoff games.

“He has no idea how big this is,” Cordero said. “Everyone wants to get a complete game in CIF playoffs. That’s something he’ll remember, a complete game. We have our whole staff intact. We’re in pretty good shape.”

Agoura (24-4-1) blew open an otherwise tight game scoring four runs in the sixth inning. Cana capped the rally with a two-run triple. Drew Lutzke, who was 2-for-3, added a run-scoring single in the inning.

Agoura took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Brea Olinda tied the score in the second inning. The score remained tied until the fifth inning when Cana knocked in his first run with a one-out double. Cordero said it was nice to see Cana swing the bat so well in the first game of the playoffs.

“I think the week-and-a-half off really did him some good,” Cordero said. “He’s rejuvenated and he finds a way to do it for us. He’s swinging the bat better than he has all year.”

Shulman, meanwhile, held Brea Olinda at bay. He wiggled out of trouble throughout the game. His defense turned two double plays, and nearly had a third on a lineout to shortstop in the third inning.

Shulman struck out three and didn’t walk a batter. But he only sent the Brea Olinda batters down in order once.

Jacob McFarland was 1-for-3 with a stolen base and scored the lone run for Brea Olinda (16-14-1). Kyle Kasser was 2-for-3, a pair of singles, and stole a base.

Agoura will play Corona, a surprise 4-2 winner over Camarillo, in the second round of the Division I playoffs on Tuesday.

Here are the results from the CIF Division I first round playoff games:

(Read full post)

When the Southern Section released its softball playoff pairings on Monday, only one Orange County softball team was seeded No. 1. It was Mission Viejo, which earned the prime location atop the Division 2 playoffs. The Diablos will open the playoffs in the first round on Thursday with a game against West Covina, which won a wild-card game to get into the bracket.

(At the bottom of the blog is a look at all seeded teams in softball)

Yet most of the Orange County representation was in Division 1, where Garden Grove Pacifica (26-2) was seeded No. 2, Orange Lutheran (25-4) was No. 3, and Los Alamitos (22-6) was No. 4. The top-seeded team was Norco (26-2), which has a victory over Pacifica but a loss to OLu.

Orange County teams went 3-1 in wild-card games on Tuesday, including Fullerton Rosary's 2-1 victory over Fountain Valley in nine innings. That moves Rosary (18-11) into the first round against Pacifica (26-2), and we can't help but think that it will make the Mariners grimace a little; Rosary has a tendency to play David to other teams' Goliath. It has three victories in the last dozen years over a team ranked No. 1 in the nation. The last time it happened was 2010 when the Royals took out top-seeded Corona Santiago in the first round. Pacifica, by the way, was No. 1 nationally as late as a week ago (more about that later) but are currently No. 2 -- behind Norco in the ESPNHS rankings.

Led by junior third baseman and St. John's commit Kaitlin Fitzgerald (.475, 4 HR), whose 32 RBIs is one shy of the school record set by Katie Chifcian in 2005, Rosary has not been shut out this season, and it has scored at least two runs in 23 games. As for Pacifica, it has won 14 games by shutout, but is coming off a season-ending 1-0 loss to Cypress. The Mariners, who also flex plenty of offense (25 games in which they have scored at least two runs) are led by young pitchers, sophomore Kaylee Carlson (who had perfect game through 19 batters against Cypress) and freshman Kaley Winegarner (who had a no-hitter in her last outing).

Make no mistake, Pacifica didn't draw the second-worst team in the playoffs as a first-round opponent.

(Read full post)

Five of 10 wild card games in the Southern Section Division 1 baseball playoffs had winners from Orange County; only one of the games featured two O.C. teams facing each other, and that ended in a surprising 3-0 victory by Brea Olinda over JSerra.

Brea (15-13-1) finished fifth in the Century League while JSerra (12-16) finished in a tie for third place in the Trinity League but gave top-seeded Orange Lutheran a battle last week before losing, 1-0, and fell a week before that to second-seeded Mater Dei, 5-4.

Credit to Brea's Nick Kern for firing a one-hitter, and getting RBI support from Cameron Bishop, Kyle Cawdrey and Cody Stoerck.

O.C. went 4-2 in other games involving opponents from outside the county: Capistrano Valley beat Oxnard Pacifica, 4-2; Huntington Beach beat Temecula Great Oak, 7-0; Edison beat Temecula Chaparral, 2-0; El Modena beat Bellflower St. John Bosco, 6-1; Riverside Poly beat Anaheim Canyon, 7-6, in nine innings; and Corona Santiago beat San Clemente, 11-2.

(Read full post)

The two teams from the Marmonte League won their wild-card games in the CIF Southern Section Division I baseball playoffs.

The two teams from the Foothill League lost.

Moorpark shut out Milikan, 3-0, in their wild-card game and advanced to the next round against top-seeded Orange Lutheran.

Simi Valley eliminated Hart, 7-4. Spencer Dubaich had four strikeouts and no walks for Simi Valley, which plays Esperanza next.

Valencia lost to Corona, 3-0. Corona starter Daniel Pena tossed a two-hitter and struck out six. The Panthers play Camarillo on Friday.

Here is a look at the wild-card results in the Southern Section baseball playoffs:

(Read full post)