Here are Scorebook Live’s preseason Top 25 Southern California high school baseball rankings. Our rankings encompass the Southern Section and LA City Sections. The rankings are compiled by Scorebook Live California reporters Connor Morrissette, Bodie DeSilva and Lance Smith and will be released weekly during the regular season, which begins on Saturday.
1. Orange Lutheran
The Lancers have three great pitchers in senior Max Rajcic (UCLA commit), senior Christian Rodriguez (Cal State Fullerton) and sophomore Louis Rodriguez. Sophomore Kai Negrete is another name to know too. That pitching depth will make them difficult to beat on any given day.
2. La Mirada
Head coach Jimmy Zurn “expects big things” this season from La Mirada. The Matadors return eight starters from last year’s team that lost a nine inning playoff game to Cypress, the eventual Division 1 champion.
Jared Jones, a Texas commit and future pro, is the team’s best pitcher. He throws in the mid to upper 90’s. Emilio Morales, a USC commit, will pitch as well along with Michael DeHaro, a UC Santa Barbara commit. All three of these guys can hit too.
JSerra is loaded. The Lions are led by four 2021 UCLA commits: Gabe D’Arcy (OF), Luke Jewett (RHP), Cody Schrier (SS) and Gage Jump (LHP).
“We have 23 kids that are exceptional baseball players,” head coach Jared Halpert said at Southern California Baseball Media Day.
High school baseball fans will remember Pete Crow-Armstrong (Vanderbilt commit) and Drew Bowser (Stanford commit), from last year. They’re two of the best hitters in the country.
5. Santa Margarita
The Eagles return 15 seniors, including star shortstop Milan Tolentino, a UCLA commit. Matt McClure has been a starter for two years at Santa Margarita and is also back. He’s committed to LMU.
Star pitcher Brett Wozniak, a Kansas State commit, returns for the reigning Division 1 champions. He got the save in last year’s 2-0 championship game win over Harvard-Westlake. Luke Davis, a sophomore catcher and pitcher whose committed to USC, is back for Cypress too.
7. Huntington Beach
A recent national poll put Huntington Beach at no. 30 in the country. The Oilers are led by seniors Jake Vogel, an outfielder and UCLA commit and Jag Burden, an outfielder and Cal commit.
8. Bishop Amat
The Lancers have a very strong pitching staff. Bishop Amat is led by Iziah Ayala and Jake Vargas, two Cal State Fullerton commits. Tyler White, a Long Beach State commit, will start in center field for the Lancers. Head coach Joe Hoggatt thinks White, “can become the best player he’s ever coached.”
9. Thousand Oaks
The Lancers have five Division 1 baseball commits led by Scott Ellis (Oregon), Max Muncy (Arkansas) and Roc Riggio (Oklahome State). They added Charlie Saum, a Stanford commit, from St. Bonaventure.
10. Dana Hills
Dana Hills has a loaded pitching staff which will make them tough to beat in the postseason.
11. Notre Dame Sherman Oaks
Notre Dame is banged up right now, but very talented when healthy. Star pitcher and Texas commit Lucas Gordon returns for the Knights and will be ready to go when the season starts this week.
Senior Kevin Parada is the top catcher in the region.
Isaiah Greene is Corona’s top player. He’s a 2020 Missouri commit who plays in the outfield. Corona head coach Andy Wise says he has pro potential. Corona has 15 seniors, which is the most Wise has had in his 11 year Corona tenure.
14. Capistrano Valley
Senior captain Pablo Moser returns for last year’s South Coast League champions.
15. San Pedro
Just about everybody is back from last year’s 27-5 team. Narbonne transfer Hasan Standifer makes the Pirates the City Section favorites.
Brock Kleszcz (UC San Diego), Grant Weiss (LMU) and Steven Gonzalez (USC) are the Vikings’ top hitters.
Alex Rodriguez, Matty Clark and Shaun Montoya, three Division 1 commits, all return for the Spartans. The Spartans boast a strong lineup, but how far they go in the playoffs will be determined by what they get on the mound.
18. Mira Costa
Their best returner is senior UCLA commit Kyle Karros, a third baseman. Mira Costa also landed a dominant hitter from Northern California named Petey Halpin. He’s a senior outfielder whose committed to Texas.
UC San Diego commit Dustin Allen, a pitcher, is the Apaches top player.
Travis Hobbensiefken, Nicholas Zolferino, and Connor Valenzuela return from last year’s 25-6 team.
21. Mission Viejo
Mission Viejo returns its top three pitchers from last season led by seniors Hayden Cody (Cal State Northridge commit) and AJ Anzai.
The Thunderbirds lost ten seniors from last year’s team, but Yucaipa is always dangerous. Caiden Huber, a USC commit, is back.
23. Redondo Union
Brett McCauley, Liam Critchett, Mason Grace, and Matthew Dalquist all contributed for Redondo a season ago and return.
24. Crescenta Valley
Will Grimm, an LMU commit, will be tough to beat whenever he takes the mound.
25. El Camino Real
Adam Christopher is the top pitcher in the LA City Section.