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The Dodgers will be opening their first Dodger Training Academy in Redondo Beach in support of youth sports.
The Dodgers will be opening their first Dodger Training Academy in Redondo Beach in support of youth sports. (Jon SooHoo)

The Dodgers are putting their brand, money and reputation behind a commitment to improve the youth sports experience in Southern California.

The first Dodger Training Academy is set to open in Redondo Beach as part of E|L1, a new youth sports platform. The Dodgers are partnering with six-time All-Star Nomar Garciaparra and former MLB prospect Aaron Trolia.

Youth baseball and softball athletes age 5 through high school will be the target audience. The aim is to address challenges in the youth sports experience, from gaining proper instruction, educating about overuse injuries and attacking the prohibitive costs associated with youth sports.

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  • Football
Quarterback Jayden Daniels of Cajon passed for 62 touchdowns last season.
Quarterback Jayden Daniels of Cajon passed for 62 touchdowns last season. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The Times’ nine-part series previewing Southern California’s top high school football players by position begins Aug. 7.

In a sneak peek, I’ll be reviewing some of the players to watch. First up is quarterback.

Let’s just say that Orange County is loaded this season at the position, from Ryan Hilinski of Orange Lutheran (who has committed to attend South Carolina) to Joey Yellen of Mission Viejo (Arizona State).

There’s also Paul Piferi of Villa Park (Purdue), three-sport standout Nathan Manning of Capistrano Valley and Brendan Costello of San Clemente (Oklahoma State). Add standout juniors Bryce Young of Mater Dei and Ethan Garbers of Corona del Mar and you see what all the fuss is about.

The No. 1 junior in America might be D.J. Uiagalelei of St. John Bosco. The junior class is outstanding and includes Luca Diamont of Venice, Jaden Casey of Calabasas, Ben Gulbranson of Newbury Park and Doug Brumfield of Gardena Serra.

Among the seniors, two standouts from last season in the Inland Empire, Hank Bachmeier of Murrieta Valley and Jayden Daniels of Cajon, are raring to go. Bachmeier, who’s committed to Boise State, passed for 42 touchdowns. Daniels passed for 62 touchdowns.

There are also seniors Ryan Stevens of Chaminade, Darius Perrantes of St. Francis and Nathan Priestley of Loyola, all with the potential to enjoy breakout seasons.

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  • Baseball

Frank Mutz has resigned as baseball coach at Chaminade. He will be moving to Las Vegas to become a high school athletic director at Calvary Christian.

Mutz enjoyed success at Chaminade for 11 seasons, sending numerous players on to college and several to pro ball while making the Division 1 playoffs.

Chaminade athletic director Todd Borowski said he plans to open up the position to outside candidates.

  • Football
4-year-old Robert Garcia Jr. is future lineman

At 4 years old, standing 4 feet tall and weighing 78 pounds — plus a little bit more while wearing shoulder pads and carrying around a big yellow helmet — Robert Garcia Jr. sure looked like he was having fun running around the San Fernando High football field on Friday.

The son of San Fernando coach Robert Garcia won’t arrive for high school until 2027, but he already resembles a future lineman. He’s huge for his age and seems to enjoy the physicality of the sport while dressing up with San Fernando players for fall practice.

His father won’t need his son’s help this season. The Tigers have plenty of linemen and lots of talent, but the younger Garcia won’t be a pushover against anyone.

Taft has begun searching for a new football coach after the resignation of Matt Holly last week.

Holly was head coach for one season.

Holly hired a number of quality assistant coaches, and all of them are staying, Assistant Principal Neezer McNab said. They have been running practice this week.

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Saturday is going to be a big day for former Harvard-Westlake pitchers Lucas Giolito and Max Fried, along with their former coach, Matt LaCour.

Giolito will be the starting pitcher for the Chicago White Sox at home against the Toronto Blue Jays. Fried will be the starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves at home against the Dodgers. Both games start at 4:10 p.m. PDT And LaCour will be doing his best to watch both while watching his daughter play water polo.

“Saturdays were made for the iPad and iPhone while watching water polo on a pool deck,” he said.

  • Football
Mason White is a 15-year-old junior receiver-defensive back at Birmingham.
Mason White is a 15-year-old junior receiver-defensive back at Birmingham. (Eric Sondheimer)

West Valley League football has been inconsistent in recent years with coaching changes and players coming and going. This season, from top to bottom, stability appears to have returned.

There’s one new head coach, Rick Hayashida at Chatsworth, and he had been a fixture at the school previously. Taft, though, is looking for a new head coach after the resignation of Matt Holly last week.

Cleveland made it to last year’s Division II championship game. Birmingham and El Camino Real continue to be the teams to beat. Granada Hills should be competitive after winning two Division II playoff games last season.

These are uncertain times for City Section football teams hoping to have more than just a varsity team this season.

Practice began on Monday, and with school not starting until Aug. 14, there’s a shortage of players for the freshman-sophomore teams.

Take perennial power Crenshaw. Coach Robert Garrett said he has a total of 33 players out for football for his two teams, including nine freshmen. If he had to play tomorrow, there would be no freshman-sophomore team.

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Former Santa Margarita quarterback K.J. Costello takes over as starter at Stanford.
Former Santa Margarita quarterback K.J. Costello takes over as starter at Stanford. (Getty Images)

USC and UCLA are loaded with their usual group of former Southern California high school football standouts, but let’s take a look at other players from the Southland who could produce big seasons at schools across the country.

David Long (Loyola) should be one of the best defensive backs in the Big Ten playing for Michigan.

Greg Gaines (La Habra) is a key senior defensive lineman at Washington. Myles Bryant (Loyola) and JoJo McIntosh (Chaminade) will be important players in the secondary for the Huskies.

Junior quarterback Bryce Young of Mater Dei committed to USC on Wednesday.
Junior quarterback Bryce Young of Mater Dei committed to USC on Wednesday. (Patrick T. Fallon)

USC has been having success with quarterbacks from Santa Ana Mater Dei, so why not keep the connection going? The Trojans received another strong endorsement on Wednesday when junior quarterback Bryce Young announced he has committed to the Trojans.

Young transferred to Mater Dei in January from L.A. Cathedral after quarterback J.T. Daniels announced he was leaving Mater Dei a year early to enroll at USC. Now Young will probably join Daniels on the Trojans’ roster in 2020.

Matt Barkley and Matt Leinart are former Mater Dei quarterbacks who enjoyed great success at USC.