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2015 Baseball preview: O.C. top 10 teams
A breakdown of the top 10 teams in Orange County for the 2015 baseball season.
O.C. TOP 10
1. JSerra: The best teams are good at pitching, hitting and fielding. JSerra could be great at all three. The pitching staff is as deep as it is talented. Some teams wish they had one ace. The Lions seem to have four, and they have a terrific catcher who can handle them. The batting order is as strong as any in Southern California. JSerra will be challenged by a schedule that includes the Boras Classic, the NHSI Tournament and the Trinity League. The Lions have the talent to thrive through it all. JSerra is No. 2 in the CalHiSports.com California top 20, behind College Park of Pleasant Hill.
2. San Clemente: The Tritons’ Kolby Allard, a senior who signed with UCLA, might be the best pitcher in Orange County. Senior catcher Lucas Herbert, who also signed with UCLA, is among the county’s best at that position. If its pitching depth comes through, this could be the San Clemente’s best team ever.
3. Huntington Beach: Senior Noah Davis and sophomore Hagen Danner give the Oilers an outstanding 1-2 pitching combination. Center fielder Daniel Amaral, who signed with UCLA, was team MVP and All-CIF last season. Senior first baseman Cooper Moore signed with Utah, and third baseman/pitcher Logan Pouelsen is one of the top juniors in the nation.
4. Aliso Niguel: Among the players in the “he’s the best in Orange County” discussion is senior pitcher/outfielder Kyle Molnar. He was All-Sea View League first team last year as were senior third baseman/outfielder Domenic Colacchio, junior catcher Blake Sabol and senior pitcher/first baseman Eric Wagaman. Molnar signed with UCLA, Sabol committed to USC. The Wolverines were 23-10 last year and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 2 championship game in which they lost to Temecula Valley.
5. Dana Hills: The Dolphins return plenty of their top players from last year’s team that won the Sea View League championship. Now in the South Coast League, Dana Hills brings back senior shortstop Luke Williams, who set the school record for stolen bases last year and signed with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, catcher/first baseman Jay Schuyler who was all-league first-team last year, and senior pitcher Marrick Crouse who was 8-2 last year and signed with University of San Francisco. Junior catcher David Clawson, who transferred from Mater Dei, will contribute once he becomes eligible in early April. Sophomore pitcher Hans Crouse is a prospect.
6. Cypress: Consistently good for many years, the Centurions have a good corps of returnees, including right-handed pitcher James Acuna who was All-Empire League first team last season and has signed with Oregon. Also returning are center fielder Dominic Fletcher, who was all-league first team last year as a sophomore and committed to Arkansas, and first baseman Brandon Alamo and outfielder/pitcher Garret Brockel, who were all-league second team last season. Shortstop Isaiah Parra is among the county’s better sophomores.
7. Foothill: The Knights sort of snuck up on everybody in the playoffs last year when they advanced to the CIF-SS Division 1 championship game before losing to Santa Margarita, 3-1. And that was a young team, too. Back for more are three players who were All-Century League first team last season: senior shortstop Dylan Doherty, senior outfielder Jerry Carillo and junior outfielder/pitcher Dillon Brown.
8. Edison: Pitching is the Chargers’ strength. They bring back senior Noah Kronfly, who was All-Sunset League first team last season and has signed with Oregon. Senior outfielders Michael Mahony and Nick Mailman were all-league last season. The Chargers should be a factor in the always-tough Sunset League.
9. Mater Dei: The Monarchs should do better than the Trinity League fourth-place finish and .500 record they had last year. They should be solid defensively, with a fine second baseman-shortstop combination in second baseman Bryan Call, a BYU signee, and USC-signee Brandon Perez. Pitcher Nick Pratto, who committed to USC, was 4-0 last season as a freshman.
10. Santa Margarita: If knowing how to win big games is important, then the Eagles should be fine. They won the CIF-SS Division 1 championship last season and return three All-Trinity League senior players: catcher/pitcher Nick Meyer, who committed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; outfielder/infielder Nick Wallace; and first baseman Andrew Mendonca. The pitching and defense look good to go, and if the Eagles can score runs they will have another good year.
More in the 2015 O.C. baseball preview: