More Baseball Players of the Year

Two of this year’s most outstanding in the state are Alex Williams (left) from Redwood Christian of Castro Valley (among small school players) and Dawson Netz from Maranatha of Pasadena (juniors). Photos: Mark Tennis &

Both Dawson Netz of Pasadena Maranatha and Tyson Heaton of Yucaipa were strongly considered for two separate honors. We don’t have ties or co-players of the year so we did the next best thing. We picked them both. Netz is netting State Junior of the Year recognition while Heaton is gaining the State Medium Schools Player of the Year nod. They are joined as a state player of the year by Jared Jones of La Mirada (sophomores), Jonathon Cymrot of San Jose Valley Christian (frosh) and Alex Williams from Redwood Christian of Castro Valley (small schools).

For more on Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year Joe Magrisi, CLICK HERE.

For an update on state record category of where Dawson Netz stands in most consecutive scoreless innings by a pitcher, CLICK HERE.

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Congratulations to the following five players also who also have been selected this week as Cal-Hi Sports State Players of the Year.

Dawson Netz (Maranatha, Pasadena)

After picking through all of the top contenders for player of the year among juniors and medium schools, it became apparent that both Netz and Yucaipa’s Tyson Heaton would be hard to beat. We had to pick one ahead of the other for juniors, but knew that whichever one wasn’t going to be Junior of the Year was going to be Medium Schools Player of the Year.

Netz probably doesn’t know it, but he now has the state record for consecutive scoreless innings by a pitcher. It’s a record that could fall very early next season, but his 59 1/3 inning streak broke the previous state record of 59 set in 1970 by Jerry Jordan of Avenal. His other pitching numbers were equally insane. Netz finished 12-0 with a 0.26 ERA and had 117 strikeouts in 80 innings. He’s already committed to the University of Arizona and is reportedly going to be strongly scrutinized by MLB scouts this summer as a possible first-round draft pick for 2019.

In addition to pitching, Netz was a top hitter for a Maranatha squad that went 27-4 and won the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title. He batted .365 with 14 RBI and had 15 stolen bases.

Until recently, Maranatha had to be considered as a small school and in 2010 the school had the State Small Schools Player of the Year in first-round MLB Draft pick Dylan Covey. He’s now a starting pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. With Netz and others returning, the Minutemen may not even be staying in medium schools that much longer and may be headed to the CIFSS D1 level.

The only two other winners on the all-time state list for Junior of the Year are Lee Walls of Pasadena High for 1949 and Irv Noren of Pasadena High for 1941. All selections in those lists prior to 1975 were done retroactively based on research for the published state record books we’ve done over the years.

Last 10 State Juniors of the Year: 2017 – Grant Holman (Chula Vista Eastlake); 2016 – Royce Lewis (SJ Capistrano JSerra); 2015 – Jeremy Ydens (Mountain View St. Francis); 2014 – Joe DeMers (Pleasant Hill College Park); 2013 – Jack Flaherty (North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake); 2012 – Brett Seeburger (Vista); 2011 – Rio Ruiz (La Puente Bishop Amat); 2010 – J.D. Davis (Elk Grove); 2009 – Jake Rodriguez (Elk Grove); 2008 – Matt Hobgood (Norco).

Sophomore Jared Jones, a USC commit who has reached 95 mph for La Mirada, is one of the top sophomores in the nation. Photo:

Jared Jones (La Mirada)

The postseason accolades already have been coming in fast and furious for Jones. He’s been named to the 11-man L.A. Times’ honor squad and has been voted Player of the Year by both the Long Beach Press-Telegram and Whittier Daily News.

All of the attention makes sense. Jones came into the season with a commitment to USC and summer travel experience with USA Baseball. He then enjoyed a banner sophomore campaign. In helping La Mirada to a 26-4-1 record, Jones hit .431 with three homers, 13 doubles and 30 RBI. On the mound, he was sizzling with a 7-2 record, 0.80 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings.

There was one memorable no-hitter, but the biggest moment for Jared was when he crushed a grand slam homer in extra innings to give the Matadores a 6-2 victory over Woodbridge of Irvine in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.

La Mirada has never had the state sophomore of the year before, but in 1991 Mike Greenlee of the Matadores’ was selected as State Junior of the Year. The last State Sophomore of the Year showing on the all-time list from the Long Beach region of Southern California is Jeff Burroughs of Long Beach Wilson for 1967.

Last 10 State Sophomores of the Year: 2017 – Kyle Ashworth (Tustin Foothill); 2016 – Brandon Dieter (West Covina South Hills); 2015 – Hunter Greene (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame); 2014 – Mickey Moniak (Carlsbad La Costa Canyon); 2013 – Joe DeMers (Pleasant Hill College Park); 2012 – Alex Jackson (San Diego Rancho Bernardo); 2011 – Ryan Tellez (Elk Grove); 2010 – Rio Ruiz (La Puente Bishop Amat); 2009 – Christan Lopes (Valencia); 2008 – Jake Rodriguez (Elk Grove).

Jonathan Cymrot (Valley Christian, San Jose)

Upon seeing Valley Christian playing Bellarmine of San Jose in an April showdown in which the Warriors were No. 1 in the state at the time and the Bells were No. 2, it required some double-checking to be sure that the No. 4 batter in Valley Christian’s lineup was a freshman. Yes, Cymrot was a freshman and there apparently was little hesitation from head coach John Diatte to use the youngster in that role.

For the season, Cymrot led the eventual State Team of the Year with 21 RBI to go along with a .350 batting average and 28 hits. There were other freshmen in the state with higher numbers, but Cymrot played in the toughest league in the state (at least for this season). Cymrot also is regarded as quite the prospect down the road as a pitcher. He did pitch 20 innings this season with a 2-0 record and 0.68 ERA.

The last State Freshman of the Year from the CIF Central Coast Section and West Catholic Athletic League was James Roberts from Archbishop Mitty of San Jose in 2007.

Last 10 State Freshmen of the Year: 2017 – Lucas Gordon (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame); 2016 – Jasiah Dixon (Orange Lutheran); 2015 – Joey Magrisi (San Diego Rancho Bernardo); 2014 – Tommy Palomera (Chatsworth); 2013 – Conrado Diaz (San Ysidro); 2012 – Jagger Rusconi (Valencia West Ranch); 2011 – Alex Jackson (San Diego Rancho Bernardo); 2010 – J.R. Crawford (Lakewood); 2009 – Ty France (Covina South Hills); 2008 – Christian Lopes (Valencia).

Heaton collects player of the year plaque from Riverside Press-Enterprise. Photo:

Tyson Heaton (Yucaipa)

As with most of these player of the year honors, what happens in the final week of the season has a major impact and that is certainly the case with Heaton. Before that week, the favorite to win the CIFSS D2 title was Beckman of Irvine and if Beckman had indeed won out then it also probably would have followed that Beckman shortstop Matt McLain would have been the choice for this division. He was later a late first-round pick in the MLB Draft.

But Heaton just did too much this season and down the stretch. In leading the Thunderbirds past Beckman 8-1 in the CIFSS D1 final, Heaton pitched a five-hitter and he also collected three hits at the plate. He also capped off a 12-0 season on the mound with a 1.37 ERA plus 70 strikeouts in 81 2/3 inning. As a batter, for the season, Heaton posted totals of .373 with 19 RBI.

Some of the honors that Heaton already has received include Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Player of the Year and Riverside Press-Enterprise Player of the Year. One of those he beat out for the Riverside honor was first round MLB Draft pick Brice Turang of Corona Santiago.

Heaton is not the first from Yucaipa to be State Medium Schools POY. The first and only other one on the all-time state list is pitcher Tyrone Hill for 1991. Yucaipa’s Matt Davidson, currently starring for the Chicago White Sox, wasn’t a state player of the year for that division, but in 2006 was named State Freshman Player of the Year.

Last 11 Medium Schools State Players of the Year: 2017 – Matt Sauer (Santa Maria Righetti); 2016 – Sean Reynolds (Redondo Beach Redondo Union); 2015 – Peter Lambert (San Dimas); 2014 – Chris Mathewson (Fontana Kaiser); 2013 – Dominic Smith (Gardena Serra); 2012 – Troy Conyers (Lakeside El Capitan); 2011 – Rio Ruiz (La Puente Bishop Amat); 2010 – Angelo Gumbs (Torrance); 2009 – Ryan Wilkins (San Diego Cathedral Catholic); 2008 – Kyle Skipworth (Riverside Rubidoux); 2007 – Mike Stanton (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame).

Alex Williams (Redwood Christian, Castro Valley)

Redwood Christian had the State Small Schools Coach of the Year after last season when that honor was handed out to longtime head coach Jim Cleveland. This year, Cleveland should be happy again since one of his players is being singled out.

Williams did it all for the Eagles in leading them to the CIF North Coast Section Division IV championship. It was an especially difficult title to win since they were in Divivion V in 2017 and won it in the higher division in 2018. Williams is going to Stanford and according to Cleveland probably would have been picked in the recent MLB Draft but wasn’t due to the price it usually takes to sign a Stanford commit.

In the team’s 5-4 victory over Piedmont in the NCS final, Williams pitched four shutout innings and in the final week of the season he had no earned runs in eight innings with 13 strikeouts. He also had an RBI single in the title game.

For the season, Williams went 10-1 on the mound with a 0.50 ERA. He also had 133 strikeouts in 70 innings. With bat in hand, Alex bombed away for a .500 average. He also had 32 hits, two homers, 10 doubles, and 27 RBI.

In going to Stanford, Williams is following the same path as Nico Hoerner of Oakland Head-Royce, our small schools state player of the year from 2014 and 2015. Head-Royce is in the same league as Redwood Christian and Hoerner went on to Stanford and became a highly regarded second baseman. He was recently the 24th pick in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs.

Last 10 Small Schools State Players of the Year: 2017 – Robert Cruz (Redlands Arrowhead Christian); 2016 – Brett Super (Newport Beach Sage Hill); 2015 – Nico Hoerner (Oakland Head-Royce); 2014 – Nico Hoerner (Oakland Head-Royce); 2013 – Carlos Salazar (Kerman); 2012 – Nolan Gannon (Solana Beach Santa Fe Christian); 2011 – Robb Woodcock (Kentfield Marin Catholic); 2010 – Dylan Covey (Sierra Madre Maranatha); 2009 – Andrew Rich (Easton Washington); 2008 – Clay Cederquist (Fowler).

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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One Comment

  1. Stephen McMinn
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Mark, thanks for your dedication to high school sports and also a shoutout to Darren Sabedra who covers the Bay Area so well. We at Valley Christian are proud of Jonathan Cymrot as well as our entire team that finished #1 in the MaxPreps National Computer rankings. Coach Diatte is loaded next year as well with the return of Coleman Brigman, Cymrot, Eddie Park and several others from the team.

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