With four finalists for Mr. Baseball and players of the year already announced in five other categories, one might think that would have made it easier to select this year’s 37th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Baseball Team. It wasn’t. After the first group of more obvious players was determined, the differences between being first or second team or third team were marginal. Still, it’s done and we’re ready to go through the accolades of each of the first 30 players who we think will help to maintain California as the baseball capital of the world.
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For the all-state underclass teams (Gold Club post), CLICK HERE.
For the all-state small & medium school teams, CLICK HERE.
For Gold Club post of our all-time all-state first team baseball archive back to 1990 (with second team back to 2003), CLICK HERE.
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Congratulations to these players who’ve been named first team overall for the 37th annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state baseball honors program:
Cameron Barstad (Serra, San Mateo) Sr.
One of the highest-picked high school catchers in the nation in the recent MLB Draft (he went in the sixth round to the Miami Marlins), Barstad had a great season for a Padre squad that beat state No. 1 Valley Christian twice but lost to Los Gatos in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division semifinals. For the season, Cameron batted .422 with two homers and 19 RBI and he didn’t make an error behind the plate.
James Bell (Clovis North, Fresno) Sr.
We saw him as a sophomore and got hooked right away. Bell has been one of the top catchers in this class since then and others have agreed. In his senior year, Bell hit .361 and had four homers with 22 RBI even though he was rarely pitched to. Getting 23 walks also shows that trend. Still, Bell was MVP of the Fresno Easter Classic and was Co-Offensive Player of the Year in the Tri-Rivers Athletic Conference. Bell was an early commit to Oregon and will play for the Ducks next season.
Kameron Guangorena (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) Sr.
It wasn’t the same season for team success at St. John Bosco as in 2017, but Kameron kept his place as one the top catchers in the state. He appeared on the all-state teams last year under the last name of Ojeda, but since then has taken the name of his stepfather. Guangorena had the usual difficulty of being walked a lot (14 times) but still ended at .360 for batting average with four homers, 10 doubles and 19 RBI. Four-year regulars are rare in the Trinity League, but Kameron was one of those and even as a freshman he batted above .300. Guangorena will play next at Cal State Fullerton.
Nick Lopez (Huntington Beach) Sr.
He wasn’t on the all-CIFSS D1 first team, but for leading the Oilers in every offensive category and earning first team All-Orange County honors that is enough for us to have Nick on this team. In helping Huntington Beach go 28-5 and place No. 9 in the final state rankings, Lopez batted .361 with seven homers and 27 RBI. He also was one of the top defensive catchers in the county.
Cooper Benson (San Luis Obispo) Jr.
It is possible over the years to miss out on top players from the Central Coast region of the CIF Southern Section, but that is impossible for Benson. MLB scouts have had him on their radar screens for awhile and he’s already a USA Baseball national team member for his age group. Benson delivered for his high school, too. He led the Tigers to a CIFSS playoff semifinal but didn’t pitch when his team lost. For the season, Benson went 10-0 with a 0.35 ERA and a rather ridiculous 141 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. He also swung the bat for a .385 average and had 42 hits.
Ryan Costeiu (De La Salle, Concord) Sr.
The Spartans were a tough team to evaluate for postseason honors because they had several heavy hitters in a deep lineup that were hard to break apart. So instead of trying to do that we went with the team’s unbeaten pitcher to be on first team. Costeiu also was the one who tossed a two-hitter in five innings in the CIF North Coast Section D1 final as De La Salle topped Foothill of Pleasanton 11-0. Costeiu ended 10-0 with 1.12 ERA and he also had a two-hitter in the NCS playoffs against league rival San Ramon Valley.
Tyson Heaton (Yucaipa) Jr.
Our Medium Schools State Player of the Year notched a five-hitter in the CIFSS D2 title game in leading the Thunderbirds past top-seed Beckman of Irvine. We could have listed him in multi-purpose but he fit in better as a pitcher and did have a 12-0 record with a 1.37 ERA on the hump. Heaton, who also had three hits as a batter in that final game, also struck out 70 in 81 2/3 innings. He’s already also been named as the player of the year by the Riverside Press-Enterprise and Inland Valley/San Bernardino Sun/Bulletin.
Dawson Netz (Maranatha, Pasadena) Jr.
Of course Netz has to join Yucaipa’s Tyson Heaton on the all-state first team pitching staff. They were basically tied for player of the year among juniors and medium schools so we made Netz the State Junior of the Year and Heaton tops for medium schools. Netz had a 12-0 record with his arm plus a 0.26 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 80 innings. We also are crediting him with a state record for not allowing a run for 59 1/3 consecutive innings. The University of Arizona recruit also had two no-hitters and a .365 batting average with 14 RBI.
Blake Sodersten (Clovis) Sr.
Given what Blake did in games he pitched against tough teams in the Tri-River Athletic Conference, he essentially gave us no choice but to make him first team all-state. In one outing against Clovis West (state-ranked at the time), Sodersten had a no-hitter. He also had a no-hitter early in the season vs. Tulare Western. The TRAC Pitcher of the Year and the PAGMETER Pitcher of the Year for the CIF Central Section, Sodersten had an 8-2 record with a 1.08 ERA. He also struck out 87 batters in 77 innings. Clovis High has a great tradition for baseball pitching (Ryan Cook, Mark Gardner, etc.) and Sodersten being considered among the best pitchers the school has ever had says quite a lot.
Erik Tolman (El Toro, Lake Forest) Sr.
We could have listed Erik on multi-purpose, but he was the Orange County Register’s Pitcher of the Year so we’ll go with him for that on the all-state team too. As the top returnee for an El Toro squad that won the CIFSS D1 title in 2017, Tolman had some attention on him to start the season and he came through. He helped the Chargers win the South Coast League title (eventual CIFSS D1 champ Capistrano Valley was runner-up) and was league MVP. The future LSU Tiger went 8-2 on the hill with a 1.89 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 74 innings. In addition, he batted .364 with six homers and 21 RBI.
Patrick Wicklander (Valley Christian, San Jose) Sr.
While he was the losing pitcher in the only three games that Valley Christian lost in its state No. 1 campaign, Wicklander was arguably the top honors candidate for the Wildcats. A four-year varsity standout, he finished 7-3 with a 1.57 ERA and set a school record with 102 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched. Some of his outings were hard-to-believe, like a no-hitter through eight innings of a 0-0 tie with perennial power Elk Grove, a no-hitter through nearly six innings against Servite of Anaheim and then the 18-strikeout, complete game no-hitter in a win over Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco. Wicklander, who is headed to NCAA College World Series finalist Arkansas, also had a playoff shutout vs. Sacred Heart Prep and he had six shutout innings in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division final vs. Los Gatos.
Cole Winn (Lutheran, Orange) Sr.
The Lancers are making a habit of having a player land on first team all-state and this year it’s Winn, who transferred in for his senior season after being the Gatorade State Player of the Year as a junior in Colorado. He grabbed Gatorade honors for this year in California but for Mr. Baseball the nod went to Torrey Pines’ Joe Magrisi. Winn was the 15th pick in the first round of the MLB Draft last month by the Texas Rangers. He had a 0.20 ERA to go with an 8-2 record and 120 strikeouts in 70 innings. As a batter, Cole had four homers, 23 RBI and a .282 average.
Christian Almanza (St. Mary’s, Stockton) Sr.
A 6-foot-4, 230-pound powerful first baseman, Almanza would be our choice for top player from the southern part of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. He was MVP of the league that St. Mary’s is in after batting .451 with five homers, 11 doubles and 35 RBI. Almanza also has had three strong seasons in a row for the Rams. His career numbers are .425 with 37 doubles, nine homers and 87 RBI. He will play next at the University of Utah.
Dayton Dooney (Poway) Sr.
As the top honors candidate from a team that reached the CIF San Diego Section Open Division final, Dooney capped a standout four-year varsity career by batting .405 with 47 hits, two homers and 39 RBI. The All-San Diego Section infielder batted a combined .354 for his four varsity seasons. Dooney will play next at Arizona.
Osiris Johnson (Encinal, Alameda) Sr.
He’s the best player from Encinal since Dontrelle Willis and Jimmy Rollins were there and he got to play in the final season for retiring head coach Jim Saunders (who also got to coach the other two). Johnson wasn’t on a team that got very far in the NCS playoffs, but based on talent alone he was the top player in the Bay Area. Osiris batted .535 with six homers and 24 RBI. He also stole 16 bases and had 15 doubles. He signed with Cal-State Fullerton, but in the MLB Draft he went No. 53 overall in the second round to the Miami Marlins.
Matt McLain (Beckman, Irvine) Sr.
One of three brothers to play for the Patriots this season (Nick and Sean are younger), McLain helped them reach the CIFSS D2 championship game where they lost to Yucaipa. He was the league player of the year and completed his fourth varsity season with a .369 batting average, .461 slugging and .595 OPS. McLain also showed his athleticism and versatility to MLB scouts, which paid off when the Arizona Diamondbacks made him their first pick at No. 25 in the first round of the MLB Draft. Matt has decided not to go pro just yet, however, and last week announced he would be attending and playing at UCLA.
Michael Perez (Gahr, Cerritos) Sr.
A speedy shortstop who is the son of Gahr head coach Gerardo Perez, Michael is another first team all-state selection headed to UCLA. He’s also another on this team who is a four-year starter. Perez led the Gladiators with a .447 batting average and scored 25 times. He also had 19 steals and 38 hits.
Brice Turang (Santiago, Corona) Sr.
He didn’t have the greatest of seasons for him, but still did more than enough in four years on the varsity to be among this group and also was still a first round MLB draft pick. Turang went at No. 21 in that round to the Milwaukee Brewers, who have had coaches working with him the previous three summers for Area Code. Turang only batted .352 this season, but was well above that for previous seasons. Brice’s older sister, Brianna, was an all-state softball player for Santiago while his father, Brian, played in the major leagues. Brian Turang was a member of the Seattle Mariners during the 1993 and 1994 seasons.
Pete Crow-Armstrong (Harvard-Westlake, N. Hollywood) Soph.
One other sophomore besides State Sophomore of the Year Jared Jones of La Mirada made it onto the first team and that player was Crow-Armstrong. He helped the Wolverines to the No. 1 state ranking heading into the CIFSS D1 playoffs and is regarded as one of the top sophomores in the nation. Pete batted .427 with 41 hits, 10 steals, 22 RBI, 22 runs scored and posted other top-level stats.
Ryan Holgate (Davis) Sr.
He was a 32nd round pick in the MLB Draft, but makes this squad for being the top player on a Davis team that went to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 final and a three-year standout. Holgate, who also has signed with Arizona, belted six homers and had 31 RBI for the second straight season. His batting average the past two seasons (.371 and .373) also was almost identical.
Kingston Liniak (Mission Hills, San Marcos) Sr.
After helping Mission Hills win the CIF San Diego Section D2 title, Liniak was the first San Diego area player to be taken in last month’s MLB Draft. He went at No. 105 overall to the Detroit Tigers. That also includes San Diego players who’ve gone on to college. Liniak, who also had signed a letter of intent with the University of San Diego, led the Grizzlies with a .456 batting average and scored 55 runs to go with 30 stolen bases. He also had four homers and 25 RBI.
Cole Roederer (Hart, Newhall) Sr.
Despite missing the last month or so of the season with an injury, we’re going to say that Cole did enough to gain a berth on the first team. In 18 games, he batted .392 and had seven homers with 20 RBI. Besides, Roederer was one of the highest prep players from the state to be chosen in the MLB Draft. He went at No. 77 overall just before the third round as a compensation pick to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have some history with another Hart High grad as pitcher Mike Montgomery was on the mound and got the last out when they won the World Series in 2016 and ended their historic championship drought.
Isaac Coffey (Dos Pueblos, Goleta) Sr.
He’s from the team that knocked off Huntington Beach in the CIFSS D1 playoffs and didn’t get eliminated by eventual champion Capistrano Valley until extra innings. Coffey was the linchpin of the Chargers’ pitching staff and he was their leading hitter. He wrapped it up with a .419 batting average with eight homers and 27 RBI and he scored 32 times. On the mound, Coffey racked up 94 strikeouts in 82 innings with 10 wins and a 1.28 ERA. He will play next at Oral Roberts.
Ryan Daugherty (Capistrano Valley, Mission Viejo) Sr.
Already named as the CIFSS D1 Player of the Year and a Mr. Baseball State POY finalist, Ryan was the one who came through late in the season to lead Capo Valley to the CIFSS D1 championship. In the title game vs. Foothill of Tustin, he pitched a three-hitter and scored one of the Cougars’ two runs. He earlier hit a walkoff homer to beat Dos Pueblos of Goleta and in the semifinals vs. Orange Lutheran he went 2-for-2 with a run scored. Daugherty, who will play next at St. Mary’s, had an 8-3 mound mark with a 1.90 ERA and he also batted .373 with three homers, 31 runs scored and 18 RBI.
Evan Gibbons (Franklin, Elk Grove) Sr.
He’s one of the top student-athletes in California regardless of sport with a 4.0 cumulative GPA for his four years. On the diamond, Evan was the leading player for a Franklin team that was top seed to start the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 playoffs. His two-way prowess also had him named as the Sacramento Bee Metro Player of the Year. Gibbons, who will play next at Sacramento State, went 7-2 on the mound with a 1.41 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings. He threw a perfect game to start the season against eventual SJS D1 champ Vacaville. At the plate, Gibbons batted .389 with eight doubles, six triples, 24 runs and 26 RBI.
Brett Hansen (Foothill, Pleasanton) Sr.
Although that last game in the CIF North Coast Section D1 final vs. De La Salle didn’t go well, it’s hard not to think of Hansen as the MVP of the section for the entire season. He was MVP of the East Bay Athletic League (same as De La Salle) and had strong numbers for both pitching and hitting. The Vanderbilt University-bound player began the season by not allowing a run in his first eight pitching appearances and he had a seven-game hitting streak. Hansen finished 8-1 on the mound with a 1.40 career ERA. He also whiffed 71 batters in 57 innings and was 15-2 overall for his career. At the plate, Hansen had a .500 batting average with two homers, 29 RBI and a 1.277 OPS.
Grant Holman (Eastlake, Chula Vista) Sr.
Final stats for Grant aren’t reported, but from following the Titans every week we know he had another solid season, he was his league’s player of the year and he was on the All-San Diego Section first team. As a junior, Holman was Eastlake’s top hitter and unbeaten pitcher as it won the Open Division section title and was our State Team of the Year. Grant, who also was our 2017 State Junior of the Year, will play next at Cal.
Jared Jones (La Mirada) Soph.
The honors keep pouring in for Jones who adds first team all-state accolade to being State Sophomore of the Year and Player of the Year by the Long Beach Press-Telegram and Whittier Daily News. As a pitcher for the Matadores, Jones had a 0.80 ERA plus a 7-2 record. He had one no-hitter and 99 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings. He also batter .431 with three homers, 13 doubles and 30 RBI. Jared’s biggest blow was a walkoff grand slam in extra innings to give La Mirada a 6-2 win over Woodbridge of Irvine in the first round of the CIFSS D1 playoffs.
Joe Magrisi (Torrey Pines, San Diego) Sr.
Our Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year and San Diego Section Player of the Year is an automatic choice for this squad. Magrisi, who has signed with Cal-State Fullerton, led Torrey Pines to the Open Division section title. He batted .303 on the campaign with eight homers and 28 RBI. Magrisi’s pitching included a 54 2/3 inning scoreless streak that set a new section record. He also went 12-0 with a 0.75 ERA and had 130 strikeouts in 93 innings.
Sean Mullen (Stockdale, Bakersfield) Sr.
A no-brainer as the CIF Central Section player of the year, Mullen did it all in leading the Mustangs to their first D1 section crown. The future UCLA Bruin batted .394 with seven homers and 31 RBI. With his arm, Mullen ended 8-1 with a 1.30 ERA and struck out 72 in 53 2/3 innings. In the section final vs. Clovis West, he pitched a one-hitter over six innings and struck out 12. That enabled Mullen to end his season with 12 shutout innings. He batted .470 last season and had a career batting average of .369.