Prep Rally: A great weekend of high school baseball at Dodger Stadium

Chatsworth pitcher Jose Ruedas celebrates in the arms of catcher Isaiah Granados.
Chatsworth pitcher Jose Ruedas celebrates in the arms of catcher Isaiah Granados after Chatsworth’s 2-0 win over Birmingham in the City Section Open Division championship game at Dodger Stadium.
(Craig Weston)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. What a weekend it was at Dodger Stadium for the City Section. A crowd of perhaps more than 4,000. Great games. Chatsworth and Garfield leaving as City champions. And the regional playoffs begin this week.

Chatsworth is Cinderella

Chatsworth players standout outside their disabled school bus at Dodger Stadium
Chatsworth players standout outside their disabled school bus at Dodger Stadium after winning the City Open Division championship.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

You didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

After winning the City Section Open Division championship at Dodger Stadium, Chatsworth players were stuck in the parking lot more than an hour after the celebration on the field because their bus broke down. It wouldn’t start. They were waiting for a tow truck and a new bus. There was plenty of humor, though. The Chancellors, seeded No. 9, defeated No. 2 Birmingham 2-0 to win their record 10th title.


“When we brought in the trophy, when the bus was ready to leave, it was, ‘One last thing boys, we can design a ring. The seniors can design the ring,’ ” coach Marcus Alvarado said. “Then the thing wouldn’t start. Are you serious? It was hot in the bus until we finally got out. It was a Cinderella story. It ended the right way on the field. Time to go home and the carriage didn’t start.”

Here’s the story on Chatsworth’s triumph.

Here’s the story on Garfield winning the Division I title.

Here’s the link to regional baseball pairings that take place this week.

Here’s the link to regional softball pairings.


Gardena Serra's Roderick Pleasant, center, celebrates after winning.
May 28, 2022: Gardena Serra’s Roderick Pleasant, center, celebrates after winning the boys’ 100 meters at the CIF state track and field championships in Clovis.
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

For the first time since 2019, the state track and field championships were held in Clovis. Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra lived up to expectations winning the 100 and 200.

Reign Redmond of Carson won the girls’ 100 and broke a City Section record that existed since 1977 in the process.

Here’s the report from Clovis on Saturday’s final day.

Anaheim hero

Jillian Albayati of Anaheim allowed one run in nine innings of pitching .
Jillian Albayati of Anaheim gave up one run in nine innings of pitching May 21, 2022.
(Nick Koza)

Jillian Albayati has “dagger-ish” eyes.

That’s the term coach Mike Barrera likes to use. Glance at a picture of the Anaheim High senior on the mound; you’ll see the whites around her corneas practically popping out of her skull as she goes into her windup.

The daggers are always there, every start. Parents watch in awe as a girl — yes, a girl — blows mid-70-mph fastballs by stunned boys. Opposing teams shout a little louder than normal, Barrera said, to try to get in Albayati’s head. It never works.

“I’m just there,” Albayati said, “an athlete trying to compete.”

The mounting pressure, the growing attention that’s come with being the first girl to start a CIF baseball championship game doesn’t faze Albayati.

Here’s a profile.

From Canoga Park to Harvard

Harvard-bound Dulce Gonzalez of Canoga Park running at the state championships in Clovis on Friday.
(Steve Galluzzo)

There’s something more important than winning a race. It’s called conquering life, and 17-year-old Dulce Gonzalez of Canoga Park High is headed on a journey that has teachers, classmates and strangers alike cheering for her.

The senior competed in Friday’s state championships in the 1,600 and 800 in Clovis. She didn’t qualify for the finals.

After crossing the finish line in her final high school race, she said, “I was tired. It was crazy that was it. But in my mind, that wasn’t it. I want to keep going and see where it leads.”

The road is leading to Harvard.

On New Year’s Eve, at the urging of classmates, a sleep-deprived Gonzalez pushed the button on her computer just before midnight to submit her final application.

“I wasn’t expecting to get in,” she said. “It was through the help of my team, my family, my friends. They were all encouraging me to try.”

On March 31, surrounded by Canoga Park track and field teammates after practice, she opened her computer and clicked to see if she had been accepted. Then came screams from friends. Gonzalez started to cry.

“The best part of getting into Harvard was knowing if I could do it, my teammates could,” she said.

A profile on a teenager who wants to make a difference.

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Three Heisman winners together

Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young poses under the updated Heisman Lane sign at Mater Dei.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

It was a historic day in Santa Ana, the bringing together of three quarterbacks from Mater Dei High who won the Heisman Trophy.

Mater Dei went all out to make it a celebration to remember.

The entire student body watched from the bleachers of the Meruelo Athletic Center. There were posters, videos, red rally towels, an updated Heisman Lane sign, a new trophy case and a podium for John Huarte (Mater Dei Class of 1961), Matt Leinart (2001) and Bryce Young (2020) to be honored with speeches from coach Bruce Rollinson and former president Patrick Murphy.

Young’s father, Craig, created an emotional moment telling the audience how proud he is. Bryce grew up in Pasadena, wasn’t the tallest athlete but found a way to master the quarterback position while retaining his humility and belief in his faith and family.

Here’s the report.

Colin Sahlman performance

Colin Sahlman of Newbury Park is the nation's top distance runner.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Colin Sahlman of Newbury Park passed on the state track and field championships to run in Oregon on Saturday in the Prefontaine Classic meet, and what a performance he pulled off.

He ran the third fastest mile by a high school athlete in history at 3:56.24.

Here’s a profile of Sahlman and the impact he will have in the coming years.

Notes . . .

Eric Lane is the new athletic director at St. John Bosco. . . .

Will Burr is leaving Viewpoint to become the girls’ basketball coach at Oak Park. . . .

Jazz Gardner, a 7-foot junior, and his brother Jai are leaving Los Altos to transfer to West Ranch. . . .

James Parker has been hired to coach girls’ basketball at Capistrano Valley. He’s a former Vanguard University coach. . . .

Jacob Moore is the new boys’ water polo coach at Orange Lutheran.

From the archives: Drew Bowser

Drew Bowser (left) now at Stanford and former Harvard-Westlake teammate Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Drew Bowser (left) now at Stanford and former Harvard-Westlake teammate Pete Crow-Armstrong.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Drew Bowser was a standout shortstop at Harvard-Westlake on the same team with first-round draft pick Pete Crow-Armstrong. Bowser chose to pursue college baseball and his education first, and things are going well at Stanford.

He helped the Cardinal win the Pac-12 regular season title hitting .283 with eight home runs. In the Pac-12 tournament this past week, Bowser got hot. He had a home run and three RBIs against Arizona State. He had two home runs and four RBIs against Arizona. He finished the tournament with four home runs. His batting average is nearing .300.

Here’s a column from 2020 on Bowser and Crow-Armstrong and the impact they were making in high school.

Both lost much of their senior seasons because of the COVID-19 shutdown in March of 2020.


From the Los Angeles Times, a story on a high school softball team that lost every game but learned plenty.

From the Ventura County Star, a story on Rio Mesa’s retiring baseball coach, David Soliz.

From the Dallas Morning News, a story on what the high school football program in Allen, Texas, offers that will play St. John Bosco this fall.

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Until next time...

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