Across Southland, No. 10 takes the field to remember South Torrance baseball player

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The high school baseball community in Southern California has been united in helping South Torrance High players, coaches and fans try to deal with the sorrow of losing 16-year-old sophomore Jesse Esphorst Jr. in a car crash on March 7.

Players have written No. 10, Esphorst’s jersey number, on their wristbands and their own wrists. Teams have sent condolence cards and written letters. One team wants to put its flag at half-staff during a game.

On Saturday, Simi Valley Royal Coach Dan Maye asked for permission to have each of his 18 varsity players wear a No. 10 jersey during their game against South Torrance. He spent two days digging through cabinets and even pulling jerseys off walls. He found 20 No. 10 jerseys that have been around since he took over as coach in 1990.


His players dressed in all different colors of No. 10.

“I thought it was an incredibly touching tribute and class act from the coach and players from the program,” South Torrance Coach Grady Sain said.

Maye knows what Sain is going through, because he once lost one of his players to a vehicle accident.

Sain said he’s grateful for the support around the Southland.

“It’s very heartfelt,” he said. “We understand the sentiment. It’s greatly appreciated. We’re all doing this together.”

On Sunday, a memorial service was held for Esphorst.

Good pitching: Thousand Oaks pitchers have recorded four consecutive shutouts and are 8-2 overall and 3-0 in the Marmonte League under first-year Coach Jack Wilson, a former major-league shortstop.


“They’re throwing strikes,” Wilson said.

It helps to have a standout catcher in Ben Martz, a Cal State Northridge signee who has hit six home runs. Senior pitchers Royal Wilson and Blake Campbell have been terrific.

Headed to North Carolina: Huntington Beach (9-0), ranked No. 1 by The Times, will be headed to Cary, N.C., this week to compete in the National High School Invitational running Wednesday through Saturday. Joining the Oilers are West Covina South Hills, Dana Hills and Orange Lutheran. If one of those teams doesn’t win the tournament, it will be a big surprise.

Hot hitter: Jackson Lyon, a junior outfielder for Irvine Woodbridge, has at least one hit in all 10 of his team’s games this season. He’s batting .548 (17 for 31).

Rivalry resumes: Chatsworth and El Camino Real have each won nine City Section championships. The last time they played was at Dodger Stadium last season and El Camino Real won, 2-1.

They resume their rivalry with a two-game West Valley League series on Monday at El Camino Real and Wednesday at Chatsworth.


Twitter: latsondheimer