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2013 baseball preview: O.C. Top 10
O.C. PRESEASON TOP 10
1. Mater Dei: The Monarchs went 24-6 in 2012 and reached the Division 1 semifinals, but they lost the Register’s player of the year, Ty Moore, to graduation. Senior catcher Jeremy Martinez is widely ranked as the top high school prospect at his position. Senior pitcher Davis Tominaga signed with Portland, senior infielder Ryan McMahon signed with USC and senior outfielder Austin Grebeck signed with Oregon.
2. El Toro: Senior pitchers Chasen Ford (Yale) and Stephen Villines return for the Chargers, who were 25-7 and South Coast League champions last year. Pitcher Ryan Kayoda signed with Cal State Fullerton. Senior infielder Dan James batted .364 with 25 RBI last year and was All-Orange County first team. Senior catcher Gavin Collins signed with Mississippi State.
3. Cypress: An abundance of experienced players, college signees and a deep pitching staff should make the Centurions contenders for the CIF-SS Division 2 championship. Catcher Tyler Alamo and shortstop David Fletcher are among the best at their positions in Southern California.
4. Orange Lutheran: The Lancers return plenty of good players from last year’s Trinity League championship team. All three outfielders, Dalton Frize, Jason Martin and Joey Sanchez, have committed to or signed with college programs. The infield defense is strong, too, including slick-fielding second baseman Travis Blue.
5. El Dorado: The pitching staff will feature many new faces, but there are plenty of returnees elsewhere from a team that was 19-11 and reached the CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinals in 2012. Chris Rivera is an outstanding shortstop and was an effective relief pitcher in 2012. Matt Lucas was promoted from assistant coach to head coach during the summer at El Dorado.
6. Aliso Niguel: The Wolverines have several juniors who helped them go 23-12 and reach the Division 2 championship game in 2012. Junior shortstop Justin Fowler was All-CIF last year when he batted .350 with 13 RBI. Sophomore pitcher Kyle Molnar was 5-3 last year.
7. Los Alamitos: The Griffins return five all-league players from last year’s team that went 20-8 and won the Sunset League championship. Among them are senior pitcher Greg Harris (Oregon) and junior pitcher Jacob Nix. The infield is led by seniors Frank Padulo and Cody Marshall.
8. Capistrano Valley: Senior first baseman Tyler Gnesda batted .385 with 19 RBIs for last season. Senior catcher Aaron Barnett signed with Pepperdine.
9. Trabuco Hillls: The Mustangs move to the South Coast League after advancing to last year’s Division 2 semifinals. Seniors Adam Vargas and Kevin Wade were All-Sea View League first team last season.
10. JSerra: The Lions could be better than last year’s team that finished third in the Trinity League. The pitching staff is led by sophomore left-hander Quentin Longrie and junior right-hander Parker Joe Robinson.
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•Newport Elks Tournament, Saturday-March 8, various sites
•Loara Tournament, Saturday-March 9, various sites
•Mater Dei vs. Orange Lutheran at Hart Park, March 20
•El Dorado at Canyon, March 20
•JSerra at Mater Dei, March 23
•Anaheim Lions Tournament, March 30-April 3, various sites
•Hard 9 National Classic, April 1-4, various sites
•Boras Baseball Classic, April 1-5, JSerra and Mater Dei
•Dana Hills at Aliso Niguel, April 8
•CIF-SS playoffs, May 14-June 1, various sites
•CIF-SS championships, May 31 at Dodger Stadium, June 1 at UC Riverside