On the same day that Major League Baseball was announcing which players are going to this year’s All-Star Game, we were finalizing the picks for the 34th annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state first team. All of these players will be listed in the state record book, and we’ll be posting all of them later this summer.
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Congratulations to these players who’ve been named first team overall for the 34th annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state baseball honors program:
Chris Hudgins (Valhalla, El Cajon) Sr.
It was quite a battle for the other catching slot on this team once it was decided we were going for just two on the first team alongside State Player of the Year runner-up Alex Jackson. It turned out to be another from the San Diego Section. Hudgins was among the state leaders with 12 homers, drove in 40 runs, earned All-San Diego Section honors and was Co-Player of the Year by East County Sports. Hudgins also has signed with Cal State Fullerton.
Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) Sr.
Regarded as the runner-up to Brady Aiken for Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year and also as the nation’s No. 1 hitting prospect, Jackson gains his third all-state baseball honor. He batted .400 with 11 homers and 31 RBI and for his career he finished with 47 homers, 156 runs and 127 RBI. Jackson also was the sixth pick in the first round of the recent MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners.
Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) Sr.
The nation’s No. 1 pitching prospect and top pick overall in last month’s MLB Draft, Aiken was more than just some hot-shot prospect. He actually had an impressive prep season. He struck out 111 batters in 59.2 innings with a 1.06 ERA. The San Diego Section Player of the Year also already has been chosen as the Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year.
Griffin Canning (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Sr.
Showing why he was signed by UCLA and named pitcher of the year in the Trinity League, Canning struck out 11 when the Eagles captured the CIF Southern Section Division I championship at Dodger Stadium. Named to the LA Times all-area first team, he went 11-3 on the mound this year. He also was drafted in the 38th round by the Colorado Rockies.
Jack Flaherty (Harvard-Westlake, North Hollywood) Sr.
Last year’s Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year was a finalist for that honor once again this season. Flaherty went 10-0 with a 0.63 ERA and was unbeaten since his sophomore year. In 78 innings, he walked just 12 batters while striking out 125 before becoming a first round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals. He also hit .280 while driving in 18 runs.
John Gavin (St. Francis, Mountain View) Sr.
When St. Francis was in contention for State Team of the Year before faltering in the CIF Central Coast Section playoffs, Gavin also looked like he was in the running for Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year. The Cal-State Fullerton bound standout was the WCAL pitcher of the year after striking out 100 batters in 78 2/3 innings as the Lancers shared the league title with Archbishop Mitty of San Jose. On the year, he also finished 8-1 with a 0.71 ERA to finish his high school career 26-3 with a 0.98 ERA.
Nathan Hadley (Loyola, Los Angeles) Sr.
While Jack Flaherty of Harvard-Westlake was the Player of the Year in the Mission League, Hadley was the Pitcher of the Year. In the 7-2 win by the Cubs over Alemany that clinched the league title, the UCLA-bound Hadley tossed a five-hitter and struck out eight. Early in the season, he had a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts and just one walk in a win against St. Francis of La Canada.
Grant Hockin (Damien, La Verne) Sr.
When not on the mound, Hockin played shortstop and hit .379 but it’s on the mound where he was most impressive as he went 9-3 with a 1.49 ERA and struck out 99 batters in 80 innings with a fastball that hit up to 95 mph. Committed to UCLA, he will instead start his pro career after being drafted in the 2nd round of the MLB Draft and signing with the Cleveland Indians. Hockin, who is a grandson of the late Harmon Killebrew (an MLB Hall of Famer), already was named Player of the Year by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
Luis Ortiz (Sanger) Sr.
We would say working with major leaguer Matt Garza last summer paid off well for Ortiz as he was picked in the first round by the Texas Rangers (30th overall) and is already signed and starting his pro baseball career. Ortiz’s season stats were somewhat modest, but he wasn’t playing on a great team and in 43 2/3 innings he struck out 72 and walked just seven. He also had a 1.04 ERA. In the end, it’s just too hard leaving off a legit first-round MLB pick and it’s not like any other deserving player from the CIF Central Section wasn’t picked to make room for him.
Jayson Rose (Granite Hills, El Cajon) Sr.
Named to the All San-Diego Section first team, this pitcher and outfielder was undefeated on the mound as he went 8-0 with a 1.07 ERA while striking out 103 in 85 innings during the Eagles’ CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship season. Also named East County Co-Player of the Year, Rose hit .346 with three home runs and 27 runs batted in.
Scott Schultz (Fountain Valley) Sr.
Of Fountain Valley’s 20 wins this season, Schultz either got the win or the save in 17 of them. He wasn’t a preseason player to watch, but stepped up so much after being the Barons’ starting quarterback in football that he just had to be on the all-state team. Schultz ended 14-1 with a 1.33 ERA. He didn’t whiff a ton of batters, but didn’t walk very many, either.
Logan Webb (Rocklin) Sr.
Throwing thunder while on the mound, Webb led the Thunder to the Sierra Foothill League championship and was named league MVP after going 4-3 with a 0.49 ERA while striking out 73. Also known for quarterbacking the school’s football team, he hit .337. The Sacramento Bee All-Metro pick also thundered up the scouting charts and went in the fourth-round of the recent MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants.
Luke Dykstra (Westlake, Westlake Village) Sr.
Six years ago, Luke’s brother, Cutter, was a first team all-state choice and now he can say the same although their father, Lenny, is a former State Player of the Year. Luke followed up an impressive outing at last summer’s Area Code Games with a more than solid high school season. He hit .452 with 33 hits, 18 runs scored, 13 doubles and 13 RBI. He was named to the All-Ventura County team and was a seventh-round choice in the recent MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves.
Jacob Gatewood (Clovis) Sr.
While Gatewood was not the Fresno Bee Player of the Year, his teammate, Tatum McCarthy, was and it was a good pick since McCarthy also pitched and hit for the 33-5 Cougars. As a prospect, though, Gatewood had few peers and he was the Bee’s Hitter of the Year. He batted .395 for the season with five homers and 23 walks. One year ago, he also won the junior portion of the MLB Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
Keston Hiura (Valencia) Sr.
It was tough for Hiura and his teammates this season when their head coach took a voluntary leave of absence, but the co-captain shined nonetheless. Named Foothill League MVP and all-area first team by the L.A. Times, Hiura he hit .500 with 14 home runs, 12 doubles, 43 runs, 48 hits and a .595 on-base average. The 14 home runs by the UC Irvine signee was the top reported home run mark in the state this season.
Josh Morgan (Lutheran, Orange) Sr.
For the third year in a row in the rugged Trinity League, Morgan hit at least .300 and finished his senior season hitting .303 with 18 runs scored. Committed to UCLA, he ended up signing with the Texas Rangers after they selected him with their first pick in the third round of the MLB Draft. Morgan already has been chosen to the All-Orange County team and the All-CIFSS Division I team.
Josh Nashed (Leland, San Jose) Sr.
Leland captured its first section championship in 18 years with Nashed leading the way. As a result, the San Jose State-bound standout was named by the San Jose Mercury-News as its player of the year. Hitting .471 on the year while setting a school record for hits in a season with 49, he also pitched 10 shutout innings on the mound during the postseason.
Kyle Plantier (Temecula Valley, Temecula) Sr.
A talented two-sport athlete, Plantier had his best season on the diamond to end his high school career. He hit .412 with 31 runs batted in as the Golden Bears captured the CIF Southern Section Division II championship. His football playing days will come to an end next season when he heads to play baseball at UC Santa Barbara. For honors already received, Plantier has been All-Inland Empire by the Riverside Press-Enterprise and CIF Southern Section Division II Player of the Year.
Brian Schales (Edison, Huntington Beach) Sr.
The MVP of the rugged Sunset League almost got picked in the first 100 overall (including college players) but did go at 107 by the Miami Marlins. Schales, who also was All-Orange County and All-CIFSS Division I, was a four-year starter for the Chargers. He went 4-for-4 with two homers in one game against Los Alamitos.
Nick Valaika (Hart, Newhall) Sr.
According to Cary Osborne of the Santa Clarita Signal, Valaika had a tear in his eye when he was at second base after doubling in what he assumed was his final at-bat for the Indians. It wasn’t just because Valaika was ending his career, but a stretch of 13 years in the last 15 that Hart has had a Valaika brother at shortstop. Nick certainly lived up to the name. The UCLA signer and All-L.A. Daily News pick batted .400 with 12 doubles, three homers and 23 runs scored.
Derek Hill (Elk Grove) Sr.
After hitting .500 with 11 doubles and 30 runs batted in this season for the Thundering Herd, Hill was picked in the first round of the MLB Draft and has signed with the Detroit Tigers instead of heading to Oregon. Considered one of the nation’s fastest players and best defensive players in this year’s high school class, he also stole 29 bases this year.
Trenton Kemp (Buchanan, Clovis) Sr.
If there was a prototype leadoff hitting centerfielder in the state this season, Kemp would be a great place to start. He ignited the top of the order for the Bears all season and helped them get to the CIF Central Section Division I final. Kemp repeated as a first-team choice by the Fresno Bee and was picked in the 15th round of the recent MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox, which he has signed with. For Buchanan this season, Kemp hit .313 with 19 RBI and four homers.
Casey Soltis (Granada, Livermore) Sr.
An impressive and consistent three seasons with the Matadors came to an end with his best season of all as he hit .353 with four home runs, 16 runs batted in and 27 runs scored. Signed with Oregon, Soltis was selected in the fifth round of the MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins and has signed to start his pro career and become a fish instead of heading to become a Duck. Soltis also was a first team All-East Bay choice by the Contra Costa Times.
MULTI-PURPOSE (Hitting, Pitching)
Joe DeMers (College Park, Pleasant Hill) Jr.
A finalist for our Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year, DeMers was named last week as State Junior of the Year after leading the Falcons to the CIF North Coast Section Division II championship. A threat on the mound and at the plate, he went 12-2 with a 0.65 ERA and struck out 94 while at the plate he hit .371 with 32 runs batted in.
Jack Labosky (Clovis North, Fresno) Sr.
No, it wasn’t someone from No. 1 Clovis that has been Player of the Year the last two seasons in the vaunted Tri-River Athletic Conference. It has been Labosky. Before heading for Duke, Labosky went 10-2 with a 1.45 ERA and hit .366 with 26 RBI. In his three varsity seasons, Labosky also won 29 games on the mound and had a career batting average of .378. He was just named Outstanding Pitcher by the Fresno Bee.
Chris Mathewson (Kaiser, Fontana) Sr.
Since we wanted to put Luis Ortiz on the first team and Mathewson was the State Medium Schools Player of the Year ahead of Ortiz, he had to go on as well. Mathewson, who also was the San Bernardino Sun Player of the Year, went 9-2 on the mound with a 0.79 ERA while hitting .511 with 37 runs scored and 33 runs batted in. In 62 innings, Mathewson also struck out an impressive 105 batters while walking just five and he will play next year at Long Beach State despite being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 28th round.
Luke Rasmussen (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Sr.
Helping the Monarchs to a share of the West Catholic Athletic League title and the semifinals of the CCS Open Division, Rasmussen led the offense in multiple categories. He hit .425 with seven home runs and 30 runs batted in. His list of honors from the season also include being named the WCAL player of the year and being selected by the Mercury News to its first team.
Parker Joe Robinson (JSerra, San Juan Capistrano) Sr.
Along with teammate Brady Shockey, this Texas-bound senior was named co-player of the year in the Trinity League. The bigger honor, though, was him being chosen as the Orange County Register’s Player of the Year. Robinson led the Lions with six homers and 28 RBI and also hit .378. As a pitcher, he compiled a 4-2 record with one save and had 47 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings.
McCarthy Tatum (Clovis) Sr.
As one of the leaders for the Cougars this season during their mythical state championship, Tatum was selected in the 20th round of the MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins but is expected to not sign and instead head to Fresno State next season. After the Cougars’ final game of the season, head coach James Patrick said Tatum was their best pitcher even though he’s going to play third base in college. In the Fresno Bee honors team, Tatum was chosen as the Player of the Year. As a pitcher, he finished 11-1 with a 1.79 ERA. As a batter, Tatum hit .296, scored 25 runs and had a walk-off hit in the seventh inning of the final 3-2 win over Buchanan that clinched the section title.
Matt Trask (Davis) Sr.
Named by the Sacramento Bee as its Player of the Year, Trask was also a finalist for Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year after the Blue Devils captured the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship. Headed to UCLA, he went 6-1 on the mound with a 1.46 ERA while hitting .352 with 11 doubles and 27 runs batted in.
Paul Muyskens, who wrote most of the capsules on this post, is the Stockton office assistant editor of CalHiSports.com. Mark Tennis, who wrote some of the capsules and oversaw the selection process, is the editor and co-founder of Cal-Hi Sports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark and Paul on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports