Prep Baseball Report

SoCal Southern Section Games of the Week: 4/15 - 4/19

Steven Hardesty
Central Coast/North LA Area Scout



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Ventura, Calif. - As the entirety of the of the California High School sections are fully underway including sections all across Southern California playing games Prep Baseball California will be highlighting a weekly game of the week.

This weeks match up from SoCal Southern Section Games of the Week was one of the most difficult selections of the year as heading into the week 8 different leagues have the top 2 teams in the standings facing off against each other, but these two matchups take center stage with first the #1 Corona Panthers taking on the Centennial Huskies in a huge Big VIII series and farther north the Hart Indians square off against the West Ranch Wildcats for the top spot in the Foothill League.

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#1 Corona Panthers vs. Centennial Huskies

+ Date: 4/15/24 & 4/17/24 & 4/19/24

+ Time: 4:00 PM for all games 

+ Location: Corona / Centennial / Corona

+ Corona 2024 Record:   19-2 Overall

+ Head Coach:  Andy Wise

+ Centennial 2024 Record:   18-3 Overall

+ Head Coach: Ryan Simpson

+ Key Players (Corona): 

+ '24 LHP Ethan Schiefelbein - UCLA 

+ '24 C/3B Josh Springer - Oregon 

+ '24 LHP/1B Sam Burgess - TCU 

+ '25 SS Billy Carlson - Vanderbilt 

+ '25 RHP/1B Seth Hernandez - Vanderbilt 

+ '25 SS Brady Ebel - LSU 

+ ’26 INF Trey Ebel 

+ '26 OF Anthony Murphy 

+ ’27 LHP/OF Mason Sims 

+ Key Players (Centennial): 

+ '24 OF Ryder Dykstra - USC commit

+ '24 SS/RHP Matthew Bernath - Pt. Loma commit

+ '26 C/INF Michael Nonis 

+ '24 C/INF Wyatt Arellano 

+ '26 UTL Aiden Simpson

+ '24 OF RHPEspn Simpson

+ '25 OF/1B Charles Rogers 

+ '24 OF/LHP Danny Retzlaff 

+ '24 OF/RHP Michael Malki 

+ '24 LHP/OF Jayden McNeely St. Marys Commit

Game Preview:  Both programs come into this series playing outstanding baseball and stand in the top two spots in the Big VIII league. Corona is fresh off winning the NHSI National Championship tournament in Cary, NC and will come home to face off with another very good program as the the Huskies enter the series with an explosive offense averaging 6.8 runs per game while having allowed just 65 runs in 21 games slighlty over 3 runs per game, but the Panthers boast one of the strongest pitching staffs in the state possibly the country having allowed only 42 runs in 21 games while plating 149 runs for an average of 7.1 runs per game. Individually the Huskies have an impressive 7 regulars hitting over .300 with 3 of those in the .400 range including Retzlaff, Nonis and Bernath while Malki leads the team with 4 HRs on the spring. For their part the Panthers have 6 regulars hitting over .300 on the spring having faced impressive pitching all year while SO. Anthony Murphy tops the team at .402 with SR. catcher Josh Springer nipping on his heels at .397 and JR. 2-way star Seth Hernandez has crushed 7 HRs to lead the Panthers. Centennial has the arms to hold the Pathers at bay with McNeely, Malki, Retzlaff and E. Simpson handling the bulk of the work and McNeely in his own right has been electric with a .57 ERA in 36.2 IP, 42 punchouts and 4 wins. The Huskies will be tested to put together runs against the formidable staff of Schiefelbein, Hernandez, Skelskey, Sims and Burgess. Schiefelbein and Hernandez together have been nearly untouchable with ERAs of .24 and .56 in 29 and 37.2 innings for each, but FR. Sim has been just as outstanding with 15 innings pitched, 12 Ks and a .93 ERA. The winner of the 3 game series will put themselves comfortably in the top spot of the Big VIII league with the CIF-SS playoffs looming at the start of May.

Hart Indians vs. West Ranch Wildcats

+ Date: 4/17/24 & 4/19/24

+ Time: 3:30 PM for both games

+ Location: Hart / West Ranch

+ Hart 2024 Record: 17-5 overall

+ Head Coach: Jim Ozella

+ West Ranch 2024 Record: 17-5-1 overall

+ Head Coach: Ryan Lindgren

+ Key Players (Hart):

+ ‘24 INF Brayden Jefferis - Michigan

+ ‘24 RHP Troy Cooper - Cal Poly 

+ 24 LHP Taj Brar - Biola 

+ ‘25 INF Michael Hogen 

+ ‘25 RHP Carson Maymo 

+ ‘25 OF Lincoln Daly 

+ ‘25 C Brady Werther 

+ ‘25 LHP Tristan Purfoy 

+ ‘26 LHP/OF Hayden Rhodes 

+ ‘26 RHP/OF Joshua Whitson 

+ Key Players (West Ranch):

+ ‘24 LHP Jackson Banuelos - CSUN 

+ ‘ 24 LHP Ben Cushnie - Southern California 

+ ‘25 OF Ryan Oh - Loyola Marymount 

+ '25 C Nolan Stoll - Stanford 

+ ‘24 OF/INF Aidan Bunitch 

+ ‘24 INF Brett Ishikawa 

+ ‘ 25 INF Landon Hu 

+ ‘25 RHP/1B Hunter Manning 

+ ‘25 OF/1B/LHP Mikey Murr 

+ ‘26 INF Ty Diaz 

+ '24 RHP Ricky Sturm 

+ Game Preview: Hart and West Ranch came into the spring as potential favorites in the always competitive Foothill League in the Santa Clarita area and with just 2 weeks left in league play the 2 teams sit in 1st and 2nd place separated by 1 game with West Ranch holding the top spot. The Wildcats have been consistent on both offense and defense over the course of the spring featuring a lineup that is averaging 5 runs per game with SRs. Ishikawa and Buntich both hitting over .300 presently while JRs. Manning and Hu sitting over .300 late in the spring. Hu and Buntich have both been consistent run producers for the Wildcats. On the mound SR. LHP Banuelos has been the ace of the staff throwing 40.2 innings on the spring with 57 punchouts, 5 wins and a 1.03 ERA. Manning has been a 2-way star for the Wildcats as the former Future Gamer for Team California has thrown 27.1 innings punching out 36 picking up 4 wins with a eye popping .77 ERA. Sr. reliever Sturm has been dynamite out of the pen with 18.1 IP, 1 win, 1 save and a .76 ERA. For the Indians in 22 games this spring their lineup has plated a consistent 5.8 runs per game for a total of 128 runs which is lead by the bats of Jefferis, De La Maza, Hogen, Daly, Werther and Whitson. On the mound the duo of Cooper Maymo front a staff which has allowed just 59 runs for the season while Brar, Purfoy, Edwards, and Rhodes have provided solid innings. With just one more week left in league play after this week if one of the two teams can claim both games they would be in excellent position to claim the Foothill League crown with the Valencia Vikings nipping on their heels.

Additional 1 vs. 2 League Matchups:

Oak Hills Bulldogs vs. Sultana Sultans (Mojave River League)

San Marino Titans vs. South Pasadena Tigers (Rio Hondo League)

Bishop Amat Lancers vs. La Salle Lancers (Del Rey League)

Summit SkyHawks vs. Bloomington Bruins (Sunkist League)

Trinity Classical Academy Knights vs. Vazquez Mustangs (Heritage League)

Arcadia Apaches vs. Burroughs Bears (Pacific League)

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Showcase State Date Location
Rising Stars ID: VTA County CA 04/21 Thousand Oaks High School
SoCal Rising Stars Game CA 05/12 Mater Dei High School
FUTURE GAMES TRYOUT: Orange County CA 06/01 Fullerton College
FUTURE GAMES TRYOUT: Ventura County CA 06/09 Westmont College