Rio Mesa's Mitchell to Play Baseball at UCLA

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rio Mesa High first baseman Mike Mitchell said Wednesday that he has accepted a scholarship offer from UCLA, ending a recruiting battle that included USC and Pepperdine.

Mitchell, a first-team All-Ventura County and Channel League selection last season, said he was recruited as a left fielder. Mitchell, who leads Rio Mesa (17-7) with a .466 average and has 10 doubles and seven home runs, is a left-handed hitter who predominantly has played first base at Rio Mesa.

But he played left field the past two summers for various teams. Mitchell's American Legion coach, Scott Cline, played at UCLA from 1986-89 after graduating from Camarillo High.

"He (Cline) said I was going to be recruited as a left fielder," Mitchell said. "So it doesn't surprise me."

Mitchell's smooth swing has caught the eye of scouts who have flocked to Rio Mesa to watch Dmitri Young, one of the top high school players in the nation. "It would be a big thrill to be drafted, but I'm not sure how high I would go," Mitchell said. "I'm pretty set on playing at UCLA anyway."

Mitchell, who said he scored 940 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, hit .457 as a junior with seven home runs and a region-leading 44 runs batted in.

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