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Huntington Beach outfielder Jake Vogel commits to UCLA

Huntington Beach's Jake Vogel, who has committed to UCLA after de-committing to the University of San Diego, hits a solo home run in the first inning against Vista Murrieta during a first round CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff game on May 18.
Huntington Beach’s Jake Vogel, who has committed to UCLA after de-committing to the University of San Diego, hits a solo home run in the first inning against Vista Murrieta during a first round CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff game on May 18.
(File Photo)

For a good chunk of the last decade, center field at UCLA has been patrolled by Huntington Beach High alumni.

It appears that trend may continue, as Oilers rising junior Jake Vogel has given his commitment to the Bruins.

Vogel had previously committed to the University of San Diego, but he de-committed due to coaching staff changes. The Toreros had promised playing time to Vogel, which won him over initially.

“They offered me a big scholarship, and they said I would start as a freshman,” Vogel said of the Toreros’ offer. “I was kind of all-in on that. I really liked the coach that was going to be coaching. All the coaches left, including the coach that I really liked.”

Vogel had been talking to the Bruins during his original recruitment, and the Bruins continued their pursuit the moment he went back on the market.

“I decided to de-commit, and then right as I de-committed, UCLA was back on me. They came out and watched me in Arizona for the Junior Olympics.”

The Amaral brothers, Beau and Daniel, also went on from Huntington Beach to become the starting center fielder at UCLA. Beau Amaral started for the Bruins from 2010-2012, and he was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh round (232nd overall) of the 2012 MLB Draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Daniel Amaral (at UCLA from 2016-2018) in the 14th round (414th overall) in June.

Brett Urabe (2013-2016) also played center field for the Bruins, but he was moved to the infield midway through his collegiate career.

“UCLA was one of my top choices, and we have a lot of alumni from Huntington that went to UCLA, a lot of center fielders,” Vogel said. “That’s literally been Huntington’s center field for the past four, five or six years.”

Oilers rising senior Joshua Hahn has also committed to UCLA.

Huntington Beach has perennially been a top baseball program in Orange County with Benji Medure at the helm. The Oilers have played in high-profile tournaments like the National High School Invitational and the Boras Classic, providing a wealth of exposure for Huntington Beach players.

“I feel so blessed,” Vogel said of being part of the program he has grown up in. “Benji, our coach, he’s an amazing coach. He gets all these guys out here, just constant hours of work getting scouts out here and college coaches. I owe a lot of that to him.”

Vogel was a standout player his sophomore year, posting a batting average of .345 with nine doubles, two triples and three home runs. He scored 29 runs, had 21 runs batted in, and he was successful on 12 of 13 stolen-base attempts.

andrew.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @ProfessorTurner


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