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LORREN AU JR., THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Mater Dei's Cory Hahn has been selected the Orange County Player of the Year for the 2010 season.

Mater Dei's Hahn is the baseball player of the year

The senior, who led the Monarchs to the CIF-SS Division 1 title, is selected as the top O.C. player for the 2010 season.

OCVARSITY.COM

He pitched a two-hitter over five shutout innings, struck out four, was 2 for 3 with an RBI and made a diving catch in center field.

Then Cory Hahn got really serious.

Four days after that effort against Royal of Simi Valley in the semifinals, Hahn threw a perfect game for five innings, hit a 430-foot home run and made a running, over-the-shoulder catch in center field in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship game against Dana Hills.

"I've never seen anything like that," Mater Dei coach Burt Call said.

Few people have, coach. Hahn's one-of-a-kind performance last week, and throughout the season, makes Hahn the Orange County player of the year for 2010.

Hahn hit .411 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs. On the mound, the senior 5-foot-11 left-hander was 14-1 with a 0.89 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings.

His stellar play in the final week of his senior year, the 10-0 victory over Royal and the 2-0 triumph over Dana Hills, were not Hahn's only playoff highlights. He pitched a complete game in the first round against Newbury Park, giving up no earned runs on five hits with eight strikeouts in a 5-1 victory. He followed that the next week with six shutout innings, and hit a three-run home run, in the second round as the Monarchs beat Camarillo, 8-0.

The home run Hahn hit against Dana Hills in the final was the only home run in the four CIF-SS championship games Saturday at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore. A high-arcing home run, the ball cleared a 40-foot high display board in right-center field. His younger brother Jason retrieved the ball – it's the ball Hahn brought with him to the All-Orange County photo session.

Hahn did not expect to pitch this year. When projected No. 1 pitcher Matt Blanchard became unavailable because of an arm injury, Hahn was moved into a starting role. But he expects his baseball future – at Arizona State, which signed him, or in professional baseball (the San Diego Padres selected him Tuesday in the 26th round of the MLB Draft) – is as an outfielder.

"I discovered pitching this year and I liked it a lot," Hahn said. "But it's more fun to hit. I want to play every single day and give it everything I've got."

His baseball role model is a former Angel who was known for giving it all that he had – Darin Erstad. Erstad, too, was an outfielder and a pitcher as a teen before settling into the outfield and first base.

To get as far in baseball as Erstad did, Hahn knows he is going to have to keep working hard.

"To continue to succeed will require me to put in the time and effort, and not just in one specific area," Hahn said. "All the guys are going to be stronger and faster, and I'm going to have to push myself to keep up. In this game, you can't take a day off, especially when you get to a higher level."

Mater Dei freshman catcher Jeremy Martinez was inspired by Hahn, and figures Hahn has what it takes to make it.

"That kid works so hard, night and day," Martinez said. "He's just a gamer, a special player. I can't wait to see him in the 'bigs.' "


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