Prep Rally: Check out the baseball and softball players of the year

Thousand Oaks High School shortstop Max Muncy runs home following a home run
Max Muncy circles the bases after a homer earlier this season.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. It’s time to reveal The Times’ all-star baseball and softball teams. Max Muncy of Thousand Oaks is the baseball player of the year and Emily Gomez of Esperanza is the softball player of the year. Here’s the Muncy profile and here’s the Gomez profile.


Here’s the link to The Times’ all-area baseball team.

Here’s the link to the baseball coach of the year, Jared Halpert of Harvard-Westlake.

Here’s the link to The Times’ all-area softball team.

Here’s the link to The Times’ softball coach of the year, Jodi Borenstein of El Camino Real.

Saum vs. Saum

Charlie Saum (left) could be hitting against brother Jake when Stanford faces UCLA next season.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

There’s something to look forward to in 2022: Saum vs. Saum.

Jake Saum is a left-handed pitcher for UCLA. Brother Charlie Saum is headed to Stanford as a catcher.

They were once teammates at St. Bonaventure. If it’s Saum pitching against Saum, that should be quite a family moment.

Draft nears

The MLB amateur draft is set for July 11-13.

Among players based in Orange County/Los Angeles County, UCLA shortstop Matt McLain is projected to be a first-round pick. The Irvine Beckman prospect was a first-round selection when he came out of high school, decided to attend UCLA and has only improved his position.

The Pirates own the No. 1 pick, and shortstop Marcelo Mayer from Eastlake High in Chula Vista could be the pick.

Among high school grads, watch to see how many UCLA signees get selected. Pro baseball teams have been successful picking and signing John Savage signees. Pitcher Gage Jump from JSerra and shortstop Cody Schrier from JSerra could be early targets.

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Santa Margarita players celebrate their championship at the Edison seven-on-seven passing tournament.
Santa Margarita players celebrate their championship at the Edison seven-on-seven passing tournament.
(Luca Evans / For The Times)

St. John Bosco and Mission Viejo are hosting seven-on-seven passing competitions on Saturday.

July is all about these passing competitions allowing players to learn to compete against other teams in the skill position areas.


It was an all-Trinity League semifinal on Saturday at Edison’s Battle of the Beach tournament. St. John Bosco, Mater Dei, Servite and Santa Margarita made the championship bracket.

Santa Margarita emerged as champion. Here’s the link to the story. And here’s a story on the challenges summer present coming immediately after spring football ended.


The summer of college commitments continues.

Sierra Canyon had two offensive linemen announce commitments. Michael Wooten says he’s headed to Oregon. Kenji Swanson committed to Stanford.

Just a warning. These are only commitments. They can change at a moment’s notice for any particular reason — grades, change of mind, second thoughts. It remains pure speculation depending on signing a letter of intent. And even then, you can enter the transfer portal like Devin Aupiu of Oxnard Pacifica. He enrolled at Notre Dame this past year, never played a game and is in the transfer portal.

I’m not a big fan of mentioning every commitment because they seem to change pretty often and aren’t really commitments by the standard that recruiting is over. But this is the way the world is working and just want everyone to understand celebrations can end up being premature.


The All-CIF boys’ basketball teams can be found here.

The All-CIF girls’ basketball teams can be found here.


The All-CIF baseball teams can be found here.

The All-CIF softball teams can be found here.

Here’s the link to All-City basketball, baseball and softball teams.

Loyola names new coach

Damaine Powell is the new basketball coach at Loyola.

Loyola High has hired former USC basketball player Damaine Powell as its head coach replacement for Jamal Adams, who became the principal at La Salle.

Powell certainly isn’t lacking in credentials. He was the coach at St. Paul the last seven years. Before that, he was head coach at Cal State Dominguez Hills and also served as an assistant at USC and head coach at Compton College.

His experience makes him a good fit for the Mission League, which is loaded with top veteran coaches.


CIF imposes punishment

The CIF left little doubt last week that it holds administrators and coaches of Coronado High responsible for a tortilla-throwing incident during a June 19 regional basketball playoff game against Escondido Orange Glen that became a national story.

Punishment was imposed, including vacating a 4-A regional championship and placing the school on probation.

“In this instance, there is no doubt the act of throwing tortillas at a predominately Latino team is unacceptable and warrants sanctions,” the CIF said in a statement.

Here’s the link to the story.

Kudos to CIF executive director Ron Nocetti for not sitting back and letting the summer hiatus be an excuse for waiting to take action. It needed to be swift and consequential.


Gatorade honorees

Gatorade has selected Malik Thomas from Damien and Brooke Demetre from Santa Ana Mater Dei as its boys and girls state players of the year in basketball.

Thomas is headed to USC. Demetre will be playing for Stanford. Both were selected not only for their team and individual contributions but their character off the court.

Mia Barnett from Crescenta Valley is the Gatorade girls’ track and field athlete of the year in California. She’s a distance runner who dominated her competitors.

From the archives: Quincy Watts

Quincy Watts in a 2012 interview.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Quincy Watts was recently named program director at USC for track and field. He’s one of the all-time great athletes to come out of the City Section and Taft High.

I’ve been writing about Watts since the 1980s, when he was a star basketball and track athlete in the City Section, having graduated from Taft in 1988. He’d go on to play football and run track at USC and win an Olympic gold medal in the 400 meters in 1992.

What has always separated Watts is his humbleness. His father raised him well after moving from Detroit. He’s always been loyal and respectful, following his father’s leadership.


Here’s a 2002 story on Watts at age 32 coaching track at Taft.

Here’s a video presentation when he was inducted into the City Section Hall of Fame in 2013.

Here’s the YouTube video of Watts winning the gold medal in 1992. I remember screaming from my TV at home, “Run Quincy, run.”

Here’s a 2012 interview with Watts reflecting on what he has accomplished.

Kudos to Jrue Holiday

Former Campball Hall and UCLA guard Jrue Holiday is headed to the NBA finals with the Bucks.

Jrue Holiday has always been a great role model, going to tiny Campbell Hall, where his mother was the girls’ basketball coach. He went on to UCLA, then the NBA. Now he has a chance to win an NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks.


Holiday is one of three brothers to play in the NBA with brothers Justin and Aaron. All are focused on being good people, which is a tribute to their parents, Toya and Shawn.

Here’s a 2008 column on Holiday, who thinks he’s a normal high school student.


From the New York Times, a story at what the costs might be for high school basketball players who decide to go for the immediate cash payday.

From author John Grisham, his first basketball novel that I just completed about a promising high school prospect from South Sudan.

From the New York Times, a guest essay from Notre Dame president John I Jenkins entitled, “At Notre Dame, we believe ‘Student’ should come first in ‘Student-Athlete.”


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Until next time...

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