Coach Benji Medure said that Josh Hahn played the latter half of the Huntington Beach High baseball season with a strained right elbow.
Coach and player see each other often, and not just on the baseball field. Hahn said that Medure lives four houses down from him in Surf City.
The injury did not stop Hahn, a UCLA-bound senior left-hander, from pitching in all four of the Oilers’ CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff games, two starts and twice in relief.
On a warm afternoon in mid-May, Hahn took the mound on the road against Studio City Harvard-Westlake in the Division 1 semifinals at O’Malley Family Field in Encino. Hahn gave it everything he could against a tough Wolverines lineup, leaving with a 2-1 lead after throwing 91 pitches in four innings.
Harvard-Westlake rallied for a 6-2 victory over the No. 4-seeded Oilers, denying Hahn and his teammates a trip to Dodger Stadium for the Division 1 title. But anyone who watched Hahn pitch that day knew he left it all on the line.
“We just kept grinding, gave the younger guys experience of knowing what to do,” he said. “We still got further than we had in the past couple of years.”
Hahn, who also played first base, had a dominant senior season for Huntington Beach. He is the Daily Pilot Baseball Dream Team Player of the Year for the second straight year.
Hahn, the Surf League MVP who won his third straight league title with the Oilers, finished 5-1 with a 0.64 earned-run average for Huntington Beach (25-7). He also had three saves and struck out 49 batters in 43 1/3 innings. Medure said the ERA was a program single-season record, besting Nick Pratto’s mark of 0.72.
“I thought that record would never be broken,” said Medure, who has been in charge of the Oilers for 19 seasons. "[Hahn] got so stingy toward his senior year. I think he learned it from [2017 graduate] Nick Pratto. When Nick played, Nick just didn’t want you to score. He didn’t want you to get on first base, and Josh kind of adopted that and learned from Nick.”
Hahn wasn’t so bad at the dish either, batting .376 with nine home runs, 33 runs batted in and 23 runs scored. The nine home runs tied Oilers pitching coach Jeff Ruziecki for third in Huntington Beach single-season annals, three behind Hagen Danner’s 12 in 2017.
All of a sudden, by the time he was a senior, he was becoming a man and taking it on as his team. He wanted to win for his friends. It was impressive.
But it was the injured Hahn gutting out the dog days of the season that will probably stick with Medure.
“When he was a younger kid, I didn’t know how tough he was,” Medure said. “He wasn’t a baby, but he wasn’t that tough, you know? He did not have a high tolerance for pain. All of a sudden, by the time he was a senior, he was becoming a man and taking it on as his team. He wanted to win for his friends. It was impressive.
“It makes my hair stand up on my arms talking about it. You see a kid grow to that point, where he’s going to fight through pain to help his team win, that’s pretty freaking cool.”
Hahn said he just had fun coming up through the ranks with his Huntington Beach teammates, seven of whom are going on to play college baseball at the Division I level. Ten members of the 12-player senior class were also on the team that won the Sunset League freshman baseball title
When the teammates aren’t playing baseball together, they can sometimes be found playing pickup basketball or having competitions in the weight room.
“We don’t shy away from the spotlight at all,” Hahn said. “We kind of put our names out there, even though there are doubters against us. Every time you take the field wearing the black and orange, having ‘Huntington’ or ‘Oilers’ across your chest, you’re always playing for the school and your pride.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
VanMaanen, in his fourth year in charge, got his first senior class that he had seen all the way through. The Seahawks (24-11) looked like it, accomplishing big things on the diamond. Ocean View ran through the Golden West League with a 15-0 record, including three victories over rival Segerstrom that were decided by a total of four runs. The Seahawks then advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs before losing 2-1 at La Cañada in 11 innings.
P / Ocean View / Sr.
Kennedy is headed to Cal State Fullerton, and the right-hander pitched like someone headed to a big-time program. The Golden West League MVP finished 9-2 with a 1.09 ERA, and 82 strikeouts in 77 innings. An All-CIF Southern Section Division 3 selection, he was also named the MVP in the Orange County All-Star Baseball Game after helping the South earn a 6-3 win over the North. Kennedy, who threw a no-hitter against Western in league play, also hit .309 with one home run and 23 RBIs. He is a repeat first-team Dream Team pick.
P / Corona del Mar / Sr.
A right-hander bound for Tennessee, Wilcox had another stellar year for the Sea Kings. He was the Wave League Pitcher of the Year, finishing 3-2 with a 1.74 ERA. Wilcox struck out 48 batters in 48 1/3 innings and helped CdM (18-9-1, 5-4 in league) finish second in the competitive league and advance to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs, where the Sea Kings lost 2-1 at Villa Park in 13 innings in the first round. He is a repeat first-team Dream Team pick.
P / Estancia / Jr.
The Eagles (17-12) had a big season, winning the Orange Coast League and advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division 5 quarterfinals, their first quarterfinal appearance since 1989. Covey, a right-hander, was at the forefront. The Orange Coast League Pitcher of the Year, he finished 8-1 with a 0.37 ERA, and 109 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings.
P / Edison / So.
Aoki made news early in the season with a one-hit shutout against Mater Dei, and the right-hander kept things going for the Chargers (17-15). He finished 6-1 with a 1.16 ERA, striking out 41 batters in 54 innings. Aoki was the Surf League Pitcher of the Year.
P / Marina / Sr.
The right-hander got it done on the mound and at the plate, helping the Vikings (19-11) win the Wave League title and sharing the league MVP award with teammate Rocco Peppi. Lewis, bound for UC Santa Barbara, was 3-0 with a 0.88 ERA in 39 innings pitched, and he also struck out 26 batters. Lewis also hit .258 with two home runs and 12 RBIs.
C / Costa Mesa / Sr.
Rodriguez had the nickname of “Benny” a nod to the “Benny the Jet” character from the baseball movie, “The Sandlot.” The leadoff hitter was as valuable to the Mustangs (15-12), who advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 6 title game — their first CIF title appearance since 1962 — before falling 9-7 to Arcadio Rio Hondo Prep. Rodriguez, a second-team All-Orange Coast League selection and first-team All-CIF Division 6 honoree bound for Irvine Valley College, hit .403 with a home run and 15 RBIs.
IF / Marina / Jr.
Peppi earned Wave League co-MVP honors with his Vikings teammate Cory Lewis and he also was an All-CIF Southern Section Division 3 selection. Peppi hit .450 for Marina and had 15 RBIs, 10 doubles and 19 runs scored. The shortstop struck out just three times in 114 plate appearances.
IF / Huntington Beach / Sr.
Barrera, a second baseman, and teammate Cole Minato at shortstop contributed to a strong up-the-middle defense for the Oilers. As Huntington Beach’s cleanup hitter, the Stanford-bound Barrera hit .330 with two home runs and 21 RBIs. He was a first-team All-Surf League selection.
IF / Huntington Beach / Sr.
Medure said that he considered Minato the best defensive shortstop in Orange County, as well as the best shortstop in his 19-year head coaching tenure at the school. A first-team All-Surf League selection, the Gonzaga-bound Minato still did plenty with his bat. He hit .294 with a home run and 12 RBIs.
INF / Newport Harbor / Sr.
Olmstead, a shortstop bound for USC, is a repeat first-team Dream Team selection. The first-team All-Wave League selection earned the honor after hitting .345 for the Sailors (16-10). Olmstead had team-best totals of seven home runs and 22 RBIs for Newport Harbor, which finished third in the league.
OF / Huntington Beach / Jr.
Burden, primarily a left fielder, moved up the Oilers’ batting order all the way to the leadoff spot by midway through the season. The dynamic player kept hitting, as Burden finished with a .343 average, a team-best 12 doubles and 13 RBIs. He was a first-team All-Surf League selection.
OF / Fountain Valley / Jr.
The Barons (8-17) had a tough year, finishing last in the Surf League, but Wentz, a left fielder, led the way offensively. He hit a team-best .367 with a home run and 17 RBIs, and coach Deric Yanigisawa said he didn’t commit an error in the outfield all season. Wentz was a first-team All-Surf League selection.
OF / Huntington Beach / Jr.
Vogel was the Oilers’ center fielder and also one of their top hitters. Despite missing time late in the season with an ankle injury, the UCLA commit and second-team All-Surf League selection still hit .341 with six home runs and 16 RBIs. Vogel hit the eventual game-winning home run in the Oilers’ 2-1 win at Aliso Niguel in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals. He is a repeat first-team Dream Team pick.
DH / Laguna Beach / Sr.
Clawson, who played first base and pitched for the Breakers (15-13), was one of the top hitters in the area. He hit .346 with team-best totals of six home runs and 20 RBIs, and he was also 6-4 with a 2.30 ERA. Clawson was drafted in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Washington Nationals, but plans to play at BYU next year.
U / Costa Mesa / Sr.
Chapman was a true utility player for the Mustangs, as he played first base, shortstop, outfield and also pitched. He won each of Costa Mesa’s four victories in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs, three as a starter and one in relief, helping the Mustangs reach the title game. Chapman, a first-team All-Orange Coast League selection bound for Vanguard University, hit .403 with 15 RBIs and a team-best 25 runs scored.
Position, Name, School, Year
P Edward Pelc, Huntington Beach, Sr.
P Ashwin Chona, Sage Hill, Sr.
P Chase Hennessey, Marina, Sr.
P Sheldon Knowles, Ocean View, Sr.
P Kelly Austin, Newport Harbor, Sr.
C Elias Delgadillo, Los Amigos, Sr.
IF Blake Morton, Edison, Sr.
IF Sebastian Murillo, Fountain Valley, Jr.
IF Reece Berger, Corona del Mar, Sr.
IF Luc Stuka, Corona del Mar, Sr.
OF Troy Huber, Estancia, Jr.
OF Garrett Runyan, Edison, Sr.
OF Hayden Pearce, Estancia, Sr.
DH Omar Muñoz, Costa Mesa, Sr.
U Clay Liolios, Newport Harbor, Jr.
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