Cory Hahn, who dominated the storyline on Saturday in the Southern Section Baseball Championships in Lake Elsinore, figured he would get drafted this week. He just didn't know where.
His height – he's listed at 5-foot-10, 160 pounds – is the compelling drawback in his game. Nevertheless, on three days rest, he had five innings of pitching availability remaining, and he made the most of it. He pitched the first five innings of a perfect game – getting an assist from sophomore Ty Moore – as Mater Dei-Santa Ana defeated Dana Hills, 2-0, to win the Division I title.
After retiring all 15 batters that he faced, the left-hander went to center field and made an over-the-shoulder catch to protect the perfect game in the top of the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, he hit a home run over the scoreboard, a moon shot that went every bit of 400 feet.
Hahn, who had never pitched in high school before this season, was 14-1 overall, meaning in games that he did not pitch, his championship-winning team went 7-9. He batted .411 and had 24 RBI. When he walked off the mound after the fifth inning, he was rightfully given a standing ovation.
Afterward, he said he didn't know where he might be selected in the draft. "That home run may have helped," he said of his 10th homer of the season, the longest ball he has ever hit.
Apparently, the home run didn't help.
Hahn was drafted in the 26th round, No. 784 overall, by the San Diego Padres. He was named Tuesday the Orange County Player of the Year by the Orange County Register, and other Southland honors are probably forthcoming.
Having already signed with Arizona State, he said his was a "win-win" situation. "The ASU baseball program is second to none."
And they will get a player whose performance was second to none, unless the Padres somehow convince Hahn to sign on the dotted in. In which case, they may have made the steal of the draft.
Major Leagues pick on Southland
A number of other Southland players were selected in Major League Baseball's Amateur Draft earlier this week, including:
Dylan Covey (6-2, 205), a right-handed pitcher from Maranatha-Pasadena who was selected the Gatorade State Player of the Year. He was selected 14th by the Brewers to lead all Southland prospects. "It was kind of nerve-racking, but it was fun," he told the Los Angeles Times.
Among the other selections: Christian Yelich, an infielder at Westlake-Westlake Village, was chosen No. 23 by Florida; Barstow pitcher Aaron Sanchez was taken No. 34 by Toronto; Taijuan Walker, a right-handed pitcher from Yucaipa, was selected No. 43 by Seattle; Peter Tago of Dana Hills, another right-handed pitcher, was chosen 47th by Colorado.
Vincent Velasquez, a pitcher at Garey-Pomona, went in the third round, No. 58 overall, to Houston; Griffin Murphy, a left-handed pitcher at Redlands East Valley, was selected in the second round, No. 61 overall, by Toronto; Cody Buckel, a pitcher at Royal-Simi Valley, was taken with the 72nd pick by Texas; Angelo Gumbs, a shortstop at Torrance, was the 82nd selection, final pick of the second round, by the New York Yankees.
Chad Lewis, a third baseman at Marina-Huntington Beach, was a fourth-round pick of Oakland; Austin Wilson, an outfielder at Harvard-Westlake-North Hollywood, was chosen in the 12th round by St. Louis; Scott Frazier, a pitcher at Upland, was chosen by Philadelphia in the fifth round; Jesus Valdez, a pitcher at Hueneme, went to the Angels in the fifth round; Adam Plutko, a pitcher at Glendora, was chosen by Houston in the sixth round; Gabriel Encinas, a pitcher at St. Paul, was chosen by the Yankees in the sixth round.
Tyler Shreve, formerly of Redlands East Valley, was selected in the 10th round by Toronto. He was expelled from school after allegedly attacking his baseball coach and was listed on the draft board as a member of independent-study Phelps County High. Interestingly, he was drafted by the same organization that took his former teammate at REV, Murphy, in the second round.
Zack Weiss, of Northwood-Irvine, was chosen in the 10th round by Pittsburgh; Michael Lorenzen, an outfielder at Fullerton, was taken in the 10th round by Tampa; Austin Reed, a pitcher at Rancho Cucamonga, went to the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round; Sean O'Connell, a catcher at Chatsworth, was selected in the 15th round by the Chicago White Sox; Stefan Sabol, a catcher at Aliso Niguel-Aliso Viejo, was drafted in the 17th round by Atlanta.
Detroit made a run on area athletes by choosing Jake Hernandez, a catcher at Los Osos-Rancho Cucamonga, in the 22nd round; Dominic Ficociello, a shortstop at Fullerton, in the 23rd round; and Daniel Poncedeleon, a pitcher at La Mirada, in the 24th round.
Steve Landazuri, a pitcher at Carter-Rialto, was selected by Seattle in the 22nd round; Brando Tessar, an outfielder and pitcher at Chaminade-West Hills, was chosen by Toronto in the 25th round.
Others selected, and the round they were chosen: Ernesto Zaragoza, Kaiser-Fontana, RHP (25), Julio Espinosa, Rialto, SS (28), Tim Helton, Upland, C (28), Garret Levsen, Sonora-La Habra, RHP (29).
For what it's worth, John Kukuruda, the East Nicolaus (Calif.) pitcher who threw four consecutive no-hitters earlier this season, was selected in the 28th round, 856th overall, appropriately enough by Texas, whose president is Nolan Ryan.
Attendance down for finals
Attendance at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore was 6,165 for the four championship games that were played there on Saturday. Although the site – chosen because of a conflicting date at Angels Stadium with a U2 concert that had since been canceled – was understandably inconvenient (read: Highway 91) for a number of schools, it was not significantly out of the way or more difficult to reach for at least two programs who were competing: Palm Desert and Yucaipa.
City chooses top player
Joe Cardona, a junior right-handed pitcher who went 11-1 with a 1.56 ERA for El Camino Real-Woodland Hills, has been selected by a panel of sportswriters as the Los Angeles City Section's Baseball Player of the Year.
Kennedy has top City softball player
Victoria Chiodo, an outfielder at Granada Hills Kennedy, has been selected the City Section Player of the Year. Her teammate, Christian Carbajal, was named the City's pitcher of the year.
City Section news
The Los Angeles City Section, because of budget cuts and furlough days for district employees, will do away with football games in the L.A. Unified School District on Friday, Sept. 10 and Wednesday, Nov. 24. The latter was traditionally the date of a City playoff game the night before Thanksgiving; those games will now be played on Friday or Saturday of that week, making it a more conventional week than it has been in the past. A lot of people think that's just fine. "Some traditions aren't all that good," said Elijah Asante, the new Carson coach.
The City is also finalizing plans to impose a one-time $24 transportation fee to offset a $650,000 cut in transportation funding.
Sal Velasco, principal at Eagle Rock, was selected new City Section president to replace Heather Daims, who will become the president of the California Interscholastic Federation. The section also reduced from 56 to 32 the number of tennis entries in individual singles and doubles.
Title games are unsoftball-like
Apparently, the schools playing in the Southern Section Softball Championships on Friday and Saturday at Barber Park in Irvine forgot that it's a pitcher's game.
The marquee contest was Santa Margarita and Corona in Division I. Both teams were unseeded, and Santa Margarita carried a 12-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning only to give up eight runs for a 12-9 victory. Apparently, pitches that had been strikes through the first six innings suddenly weren't strikes anymore. Imagine what that will do to an ERA?
Amy Letourneau, the pitcher for Santa Margarita, told the Orange County Register that she wasn't worried as the hefty lead continued to shrink: "The whole time I knew we were going to win it, it was just when we were going to finish it. We had two outs."
The final out came at third base, of all places, when losing pitcher Loie Kesterson, a sophomore, tried to take the extra base on an error at first. Had Kesterson remained at second base, Corona would have had the tying run at bat.
That wasn't all. The championship scores were remarkably one-sided in what is traditionall a very competitive sport. Here are the results, in descending order from Division II: Upland 10, Temecula Valley 2; Ayala-Chino Hills 5, Warren-Downey 4; Santa Monica 11, North Torrance 3; Whittier Christian 4, South Hills-Covina 0; La Salle-Pasadena 6, Marymount-Los Angeles 0; Kern Valley-Lake Isabella 8, Rolling Hills Prep 0.
The Division III victory by Ayala was particularly stirring. Warren got two two-run homers by sophomore Tina Iosefa and took a 4-0 lead over fourth-seeded Ayala. The runs scored by Warren were the first against UCLA-bound pitcher Jessica Hall in the playoffs. Ayala got it all back and then some in the top of the fifth inning on a grand slam by Wisconsin-bound leadoff hitter Mary Massei.
Tragedy for Santa Monica
Norm Lacy, athletic director at Santa Monica High, collapsed and died May 29 after suffering an apparent heart attack while vacationing in Indio. He was 56. Lacy had coached football teams to two Southern Section titles for the city of Santa Monica, guiding tiny St. Monica to a Division XI championship in 1998, and Santa Monica to the Division X title in 2001. He resigned from coaching in 2003.
Lacy had been an offensive lineman at USC in the 1970s. He is survived by his father, wife Patricia, and two daughters, a sister and two brothers.
Conner Preston, a quarterback at Gardena Serra, has committed to Southern Methodist.
The transfers among you
Xavier Johnson, a sophomore basketball player at Chaparral-Temecula, has applied to Mater Dei-Santa Ana.
Ishmael Adams, a sophomore running back at Dunwoody (Ga.), will play with the football team at Oaks Christian in the fall.
Comings and goings
Craig Cieslik has resigned as football coach at Bassett (La Puente) after a little more than one month. He reportedly only had 13 players show up for spring practices. Cieslik was hired after a lengthy search. He was replaced in about a week's time by Aubrey Duncan, who is the school's track coach and also a coach for the Los Angeles Amazons professional women's team. Duncan, part of the football coaching staff last season, had applied for the job originally but was eschewed in favor of Cieslik. Bassett went 4-6 last season under Leon Ward, who was fired after three seasons. The program has not had a winning record since 2003.
Patrick Fitzsimmons, baseball coach at Villa Park, has resigned after five seasons.
Does that make him Father Rollo?
Who saw this one coming? Bruce Rollinson, football coach at Mater Dei (Santa Ana), has been selected as a Father of the Year by the Fathers Day Council of Orange County. Rollinson, who built the Catholic school into a national power over 21 seasons, won two mythical national titles and five Southern Section championships, will be honored with three other winners on June 17 at a dinner that benefits the American Diabetes Assn. Rollinson and his wife, Laurie, have two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.
One of the major passing league tournaments of the football offseason is on Saturday with the Dana Hills Nike Air Strike, one of the major passing league tournaments of the offseason, is scheduled for Saturday. The title game will be at Dana Hills at 3 p.m. Among the included teams: Servite-Anaheim, Edison-Huntington Beach, Long Beach Poly, Mater Dei-Santa Ana, Los Alamitos, Loyola-Los Angeles, and Narbonne-Harbor City. Games begin at 9 a.m.
Southland shines in track
At the California State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High in Clovis, there were four Southland athletes that turned in national bests in gold medal-winning performances, and the Long Beach Poly program continued to be a major player at the state level.
Kori Carter of Claremont ran the nation's fastest 300 hurdles in 40.44 seconds; second-place Thandi Stewart of James Logan High in Union City clocked 40.45, the fastest non-winning time in American history. Carter also won the 100 hurdles in 13.33.
Amy Weissenbach, a sophomore from Harvard-Westlake-Westlake Village, won the girls 800 in 2 minutes, 7.52 seconds.
Josh Mance of Don Lugo-Chino won the boys 400 in 45.9; he also took fourth in the 200.
Sean Krinik of Valencia-Placentia won the boys 800 in 1:48.20.
Long Beach Poly's girls were the team champion, giving the Jackrabbits their 11th state title and third in a row. Junior Akawkaw Ndipagbor ran the anchor leg of the 1,600 relay (Neausha Logan, Azia Walker, Arielle Stevenson) that beat its state-best time by four seconds, 3:39.15, and provided or helped provide 30 points toward the winning tally, including third-place finishes in the 400 (53.49) and 200 (23.87).
Rancho Verde-Moreno Valley (Ashley Marshall, Gabrielle Estell, Alycia Herring) won the girls 400 relay in 45.74 seconds, same time as the state-winning foursome from 2007 that wore the Rancho Verde colors.
Remontay McClain of Covina won the boys 100 (10.448) and 200 (28.85) to deny Serra's George Farmer the distinction of winning state titles in football, basketball and track in the same year. McClain beat Farmer (10.449) in the 100 in a paper-thin finish among juniors. Farmer finished seventh in the 200, and was not a member of Serra's winning 1,600 relay.
Other winners on the girls side included: Chloe Curtis of Redondo, who won the 1,600 meters in 4:46.63; Chimere Ezumah, a freshman from Serra-Gardena, who won the 400 in 52.97; Lydia French of Thousand Oaks in the high jump (5-10); Jasmine Burrell of North Torrance in the shot put (47-6½).
Other winners on the boys side: Elias Gedyon, a junior at Loyola-Los Angeles, won the 1,600 in 4:21.12; Jonathan Cabral, a junior at Agoura, won the 110 hurdles in 13:54; Sam Pons, a junior at South Pasadena, won the 3,200 in 8:55.40, an event in which Gedyon finished fourth; Scott Cook of Mater Dei won the pole vault by six inches, at 16-3; Niko DiMartino of Oaks Christian-Westlake Village won the long jump at 23-10½.
Long Beach Poly (Kyle Byrdsong, Kiree Jabril, Kameron White, Kaelin Clay) won the 400 relay in 41.13 in a race in which the top four teams finished within three-tenths, including second-place Rio Mesa at 41.15. Gardena Serra (Francisco Olloqui, Pete Lauderdale, Devin Spann, Robert Woods) won the 1,600 relay in 3.08.72, nearly three seconds ahead of Poly (3:11.66).
Poly finished second in the boys standings, four points behind Sacramento Jesuit's 36.
Golf goes to a playoff
Patrick Cantlay of Servite rolled in a six-foot birdie putt on the second holed of a playoff to win the CIF state golf championship at Santa Maria Country Club. He had finished in a three-way tie for first place with Jack Perry and Shane Lebow of Santa Barbara; all finished with a 4-under-par 68. Cantlay was a shot down with two holes remaining, but made it up with a birdie on 17. Santa Barbara won the team title, five strokes better than Servite.
Martin Henderson began covering Southland preps in 1993 for the Los Angeles Times. He contributes to the Orange County Register, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and San Bernardino Sun, and offers up motorsports opinions at Racescribe.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.