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Varsity Times Insider: The latest sports news from Southern California's high school teams

Eric Sondheimer has been covering high school sports for the Los Angeles Times since 1997 and in Southern California since 1976. Get his latest from the field and follow all our prep sports coverage and analysis here.

1830 posts

Former Mater Dei baseball coach Burt Call has been hired as the head coach at Villa Park.

Call spent 19 years at Mater Dei. His contract was not renewed.

Call is highly regarded among his fellow coaches and Mater Dei alumni.

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Legacy volleyball, made up of players from West Ranch, Hart, Saugus and Valencia, won the Junior National Championship.
Legacy volleyball, made up of players from West Ranch, Hart, Saugus and Valencia, won the Junior National Championship. (USA Volleyball)

The Santa Clarita Valley has been well known for producing outstanding football and baseball players. Now you can add volleyball to the list.

Legacy volleyball, a club team made up of 16-year-old players from West Ranch, Saugus, Valencia and Hart, won the Junior National Championship in Phoenix on July 7.

Zack Drake from West Ranch was named tournament MVP. Johnny Buchanan (West Ranch), Gavin Leising (Hart) and Daniel Compton (Saugus) were named to the all-tournament team.

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  • Baseball

A group of Southern California high school baseball players have been selected to play in the Area Code Games at Blair Field in Long Beach. The Area Code Games bring together mostly seniors who are considered possible pro prospects.

The players will play for the team representing the Milwaukee Brewers beginning Aug. 2. The only juniors on the team are the Harvard-Westlake duo of Pete Crow-Armstrong and Drew Bowser.

Here’s the link to the complete team.

The Southern Section has recognized its MVP athletic directors for the 2017-18 school year.

It was started in 2015 to encourage professional growth for high school athletic directors.

The honorees are listed below.

Narbonne’s football program has 19 transfers seeking eligibility this season, and 18 need to supply additional documentation before a final decision is made on eligibility, City Section Commissioner John Aguirre said Monday.

Aguirre met with 13 parents last week during a more than three-hour visit to Narbonne trying to review the transfers.

“The school has been transparent with everything and supportive with what we’re trying to do,” Aguirre said.

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  • Football

There’s new league alignments in the City Section this season for football, and several schools are going to go from struggling to potential league champs.

One of the biggest winners in the alignment is Los Angeles. The Romans were 1-10 last season and 1-4 in the Coliseum League. They are still in Division I but they move to a Metro League that includes Jordan, Maywood, New Designs Watts, Rancho Dominguez, Roybal and Sotomayor.

Another winner is Washington Prep. The Generals have left the Marine League and joined the Exposition League that includes Angelou, Jefferson, Manual Arts, Rivera, Santee and West Adams.

Harvard-Westlake established itself as the team to beat in high school boys’ water polo this fall by winning the High School State Championship on Sunday at Foothill High.

The Wolverines defeated Newport Harbor 11-8.

Mot Stothart and Alex Bucur each scored three goals.

  • Football
New field is nearing completion.
New field is nearing completion. (St. Pius X-St. Matthias)

St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in Downey is nearing completion of its $6-million field for football, soccer and track and field.

St. Pius X-St. Matthias will have its second year of varsity football this fall since the school became co-ed in 2013. The field should be available sometime this season.

Pius X High School closed in 1998. St. Matthias was an all-girls school in Huntington Park from 1963 to 2013. Now they’re combined.

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It’s summer break, and time to look back at some of my favorite stories, videos and moments covering high school sports. I’ll never forget Feb. 22, 2014, the day Neil Diamond came to open up the $3-million Sherman Oaks Notre Dame baseball stadium.

He sung “Sweet Caroline,” and it was so memorable.

“Maestro, play the music,” he said.

  • Baseball
The VIBL champion Saugus Centurions.
The VIBL champion Saugus Centurions. (Craig Sherwood)

Bobby Garcia pitched Saugus to a 4-0 victory over El Camino Real on Saturday night in the championship game of the VIBL playoffs.

Garcia, a left-hander who will be a senior this fall, threw a complete game one-hitter. He received help with RBIs from Tony Jacob and Andrew Sharp.

Saugus was 12-13-1 last season but figures to be much improved in a Foothill League that’s loaded with top baseball teams.