"Arizona education," a taunting UCLA signee Nathan Hadley tells Arizona-bound Kyle Beadles after he trips on a pickoff move.
"The Stanford band sucks," Beadles jeers at Stanford-bound Quinn Brodey.
"Their GPA combined is less than mine," Brodey jokes about his fellow Pac-12 recruits.
See what happens when three pitchers from the same high school baseball team sign with Pac-12 schools?
It's rare for one prep team to have two pitchers headed on scholarships to Pac-12 schools. But Los Angeles Loyola has three, and that should make the Cubs' pitching staff one of the best in Southern Section Division 1. A fourth pitcher, Jack Poulsen, is headed to USC as a walk-on.
For now, they are friends and teammates, but their future Pac-12 loyalties produce the occasional trash talking and competitive sneers.
"It's just really fun," Hadley said. "I've known Kyle since I was 12 and I'm really good friends with Quinn. It's something I and the other pitchers are very proud of. I don't know of any other school like that. We take pride in our work."
Hadley is a 6-foot right-hander who possesses a nasty slider, throws a fastball in the low 90s and has an intensity and coolness under pressure that's ideal for big games.
Beadles is a 6-4 right-hander who throws strikes and has an improving curveball.
Brodey is a 6-1 left-hander with a 90-mph fastball and the ability to hit the ball out of any park when he's not pitching.
Together, they helped Loyola make it to the Division 1 semifinals a year ago and finish as co-Mission League champions with Harvard-Westlake, which won the Division 1 title and finished as Baseball America's national champions. The two schools are expected to have another memorable season-long duel beginning Saturday, joined by Orange County powers Huntington Beach, Orange Lutheran, Santa Ana Mater Dei, JSerra and Los Alamitos.
The biggest decision for first-year Coach Mike Cordero will be deciding who gets to start on the mound in two league games each week.
"I feel lucky," Cordero said. "These kids have worked hard to put them in this situation. With each day, I'm growing more impressed. They all want to be starters. The big thing is establishing their roles and getting them to buy in."
Said Brodey: "Last year we were starters, closers, relievers. Whatever was needed, we were able to fill those roles. It's a good problem to have, where you can rely on any one of us and feel confident that we can take on anybody."
Hadley has demonstrated he can be an overpowering closer, but he also may be too valuable not to use in a starting role. Brodey, being a left-hander, also can be a terrific closer. And Beadles seems comfortable in either role.
"We always know we have someone coming out of the bullpen to get us out of any situation," Beadles said.
What's certain about the 2014 season is that the margin of error will be very small, because there are lots of teams throughout Southern California with top pitchers and good fielders capable of winning close games. That puts the pressure on pitchers to throw strikes and not make mistakes.
Hadley learned that lesson in last year's semifinal against Huntington Beach Marina, when he gave up a two-out, two-strike, two-run single in the sixth inning of a 6-5 loss.
"I'm just not going to allow that to happen again," he said.
The first priority will be trying to figure out how to beat Harvard-Westlake and pitcher Jack Flaherty, the reigning Division 1 player of the year who went 13-0 last season. Can three Loyola pitchers outlast Flaherty?
It will be one of the intriguing story lines for 2014.