All-State Baseball: First Team

Steven Zobac from Valley Christian of San Jose (left) was the Co-Player of the Year by the Alameda News Group in the S.F. Bay Area and was NorCal Player of the Year by SportStars Magazine. Pete Crow-Armstrong (right) from Harvard-Westlake of Studio City was Player of the Year by the L.A. Daily News and has now been first team all-state twice with one more year to go. Photos: Doug Stringer / SportStars & Twitter.com.


Great players abound historically from all corners of California, which makes the annual selections for the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Baseball Teams that much more difficult. This year’s 38th annual edition of this elite 30-player team happens to include one from the CIF Northern Section and one from the CIF Oakland Section. We also have the usual standouts from San Diego — like Mr. Baseball honoree Keoni Cavaco — plus Orange County, the Inland Empire, San Fernando Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area and many, many other places.

For the all-state second and third teams (Gold Club), CLICK HERE.

RELATED: All-State Underclass (Gold Club) | All-State Medium & Small Schools | Final 2019 State Rankings (Gold Club)

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.

Note: We hope you enjoy this free post. We’ll have an inside look at this year’s all-state baseball teams after all of the teams in baseball and softball are chosen, including names of other players that can be considered all-state sophomores and freshmen. That post plus more unique California high school sports content is for Gold Club members only. To join our team today, CLICK HERE.

Congratulations to these players who’ve been named first team overall for the 38th annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state baseball honors program:

Darrien Miller of Clovis helped make the final and 34th season for retiring, legendary head coach James Patrick one that will be remembered in the CIF Central Section for many years. Photo: Twitter.com.


CATCHERS

Darrien Miller (Clovis) Sr.
He’s a rare leadoff hitting catcher, but Miller made it work big-time for the Cougars as he batted .398 for the season and has been named Player of the Year for the CIF Central Section by the PAGMETER website. We would agree since Clovis also won the Central Section D1 title in the final season of retiring head coach James Patrick. Miller also was a ninth round MLB Draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers. He reportedly has zero errors behind the plate and has the type of throwing arm to keep base-runners where they’re supposed to be.

Darius Perry (La Mirada) Sr.
Compared to his junior season, Perry didn’t have the same offensive numbers, but we decided his career work warranted a first team all-state slot regardless. Besides, La Mirada played a much, much tougher schedule than the year before. Perry still batted .323 with five homers and 30 RBI this season. This came after he hit .378 with 11 homers and 52 RBI as a junior. His leadership behind the plate never waivered, either. He’ll be playing next at UCLA.

Anthony Tulimero (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta) Sr.
One of the most improved players in the state from the end of the 2018 season, Tulimero came on so strong in 2019 that the Riverside Press-Enterprise went with him as its Inland Empire Area Positional Player of the Year. He also was a major reason why Vista Murrieta won the Southwestern League title. Anthony, who will play next at the University of Kansas, batted .452 with 32 RBI. He also was reported as throwing out 90 percent of those trying to steal bases against him.

PITCHERS

Drew Dahlquist (Redondo Union, Redondo Beach) Sr.
The South Bay Daily Breeze Player of the Year ramped up his stock throughout the season, reaching 95 mph on the gun and eventually getting a fifth-round draft selection from the Chicago White Sox. He helped the Seahawks to a CIFD2 semifinal appearance by going 9-0 on the mound with a 1.72 ERA. Dahlquist was headed to the University of Arizona, but has signed to play professionally.

Kyle Harrison struck out 10 on the mound and drove in three runs at the plate to lead the way in De La Salle’s NCS D1 title game triumph over Heritage of Brentwood. Photo: Mark Tennis.


Kyle Harrison (De La Salle, Concord) Jr.
He’d be the No. 1 player off of team that went 29-1, won fourth straight CIF North Coast Section D1 title, won 28 games in a row and was No. 1 in the final state rankings. Harrison, committed to UCLA, posted a 10-0 record on the mound with a 1.26 ERA. He also had 103 strikeouts in 61 innings. Named as Co-Player of the Year by the Alameda News Group in the Bay Area, Kyle was dominant as a sophomore starter for the Spartans as well and moves up from All-State Underclass to first team all-state. We put him on this team as a pitcher. He was in the batting lineup most days, though, and in the NCS D1 final vs. Heritage of Brentwood he had two hits and three RBI.

Tyson Heaton (Yucaipa) Sr.
He and Maranatha’s Dawson Netz were essentially tied in State Junior of the Year deliberations last year with Tyson named for medium schools while Netz was Junior of the Year. Both players’ teams were considered large schools this year and while neither was a Mr. Baseball finalist they both did plenty to be first team all-state for the second time. Heaton, headed to BYU, had a perfect game vs. Carter of Rialto and was the leader of a 26-6 team. On the mound, he only lost twice in the last two years (22-2) and capped a career in which he went 32-8 with a 1.27 ERA and 228 strikeouts. This season, Tyler ended 10-2 with a 1.56 ERA and had 84 strikeouts in 76 innings. He also batted .333 with two homers and 23 RBI.

Sam Hliboki (Harvard-Westlake, Studio City) Sr.
With two straight L.A. Daily News Pitcher of the Year honors, Hliboki adds a first team all-state selection to his prep resume (joining recent all-state pitchers from Harvard-Westlake such as Jack Flaherty, Lucas Giolito and Max Fried). Hliboki, committed to Vanderbilt, went 9-2 for the Wolverines with a WHIP of .855. He struck out 94 batters in 78 ⅓ innings and in the last two seasons he ended 18-3 with 184 strikeouts.

Stephen Klenske (Sage Creek, Carlsbad) Sr.
He’s not the big-time recruit as some others, but Klenske was the San Diego Section Pitcher of the Year and had the type of season that demanded he be placed this high on the all-state teams. Klenske led Sage Creek to the SDS D2 title with a 12-0 pitching record and a 0.39 ERA. He also fanned 126 batters in 90 innings and had a stretch of 40 ⅓ innings without giving up a run. Klenske will play next at Sacramento State, which means he could be a huge impact player there as a freshman.

Dawson Netz (Maranatha, Pasadena) Sr.
Despite only showing a 6-3 pitching record for the season, it’s that ERA is what really stands out about Netz. He is the state record holder for consecutive scoreless innings (59 ⅔ innings from last season) and this year had a 0.43 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 65 ⅔ innings. For his career, Netz had a 0.47 ERA with a 26-7 record plus 301 strikeouts in 208 ⅓ innings. He wasn’t as much of a hitting star, but still had a .385 mark this season with 14 RBI. Dawson will play next at Arizona.

Max Rajcic (Lutheran, Orange) Jr.
On a team loaded with pitching prospects that finished 27-5 and won the National High School Invitational title once again, Rajcic regardless stood out as the best of the staff. He also has already been picked on the L.A. Times all-star team and was Orange County Register Pitcher of the Year. Max, committed to UCLA, went 7-0 on the mound with a 0.39 ERA plus 69 strikeouts in 54 innings. He contributed on offense with 13 RBI, but the pitching is what has him so high on MLB Draft boards heading into his senior season.

All-State patches can be ordered through our partners from BillyTees.com. We wish we could send them all out for free, but there are no sponsors to cover the cost. Each patch also comes with a certificate suitable for framing. For details on the 2019 all-state baseball patch, which can be obtained right now, CLICK HERE.

FIRST TEAM INFIELD

Keoni Cavaco (Eastlake, Chula Vista) Sr.
We can’t recall a player like Keoni with a meteoric rise from his junior season into his senior season. It’s almost like famous San Diego sports icon Bill Walton when he was playing basketball at Helix of La Mesa. Cavaco wound up being the Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year after not being on the All-San Diego Section team from the year before. The accolade was deserved. He topped the Titans in their drive to the SDS Open Division title with eight homers, 29 RBI and a .419 average. Cavaco, who has signed with the Minnesota Twins after they picked him in the first round of the MLB Draft (No. 13 overall), also had a .583 postseason batting average and he collected seven saves as a pitcher (0.67 ERA).

Adam Crampton (Oakland Tech) Sr.
Yes, the competition that Oakland Tech goes up against is questionable and yes maybe it should have been someone like Steven Zobac of Valley Christian who should have been San Francisco Metro Player of the Year, but Crampton being the choice for that honor is no shot in the dark, either. The coaches who have worked with Adam over the years all sent in glowing testimonials about him that we were given from colleague and SF Chronicle prep editor Mitch Stephens. Crampton is the three-time Oakland Section MVP, he has a full ride to Stanford and this season he batted .551 with four homers, 23 RBI, 35 runs scored and he was 21 of 22 on stolen bases (those stats are before the last two games). One coach we know said Adam was comparable to 2018 second-round MLB draft pick Osiris Johnson from Encinal of Alameda. He also had a 4.2 GPA.

Michael Curialle (JSerra, San Juan Capistrano) Sr.
He’d be the main guy this season from a JSerra program that had six players chosen on MLB Draft Day (five from colleges) and won the Boras Classic state title. A early exit in the CIFSS D1 playoffs had to sting, but Curialle put his stamp on the season with a solo homer that lifted the Lions past La Mirada 2-1 in the Boras Classic SoCal final. For the season, the UCLA recruit batted .413 and led the team in hits (26) and runs (17). He also already has been on the L.A. Times All-Star squad and was the Trinity League’s Golden Glove winner for defensive excellence.

Cody Freeman of Etiwanda has signed with the Texas Rangers after they made him their fourth round pick in last month’s MLB Draft. Photo: Twitter.com.


Brady Hormel (Buchanan, Clovis) Sr.
A three-year standout and two-time all-state underclass choice, Hormel was the Offensive Player of the Year in the CIF Central Section by the PAGMETER website. We thought about more than one from the Bears on first team, but they didn’t get it done in the playoffs this year so Brady ends up being their top guy. Hormel, who has signed with Nevada (and we hope he wasn’t scheduled to be living in the dorm that just got severely damaged with an explosion), hit .389 this season against tough TRAC competition and perhaps more impressively hit .400 for his career. Brady also had 35 hits this season with 31 runs scored, eight doubles, three homers and 23 RBI. He had 112 career hits, 85 runs scored and 69 career RBI.

Cody Freeman (Etiwanda) Sr.
He certainly stood out as a sophomore two seasons ago when Etiwanda won the CIFSS D2 title and was No. 2 in the final state rankings. Freeman then collected 47 hits and batted .452 as a junior so maybe only going .389 this year with 37 hits should have dropped him to second team? No way. Seniors in baseball almost always slide some, Etiwanda plays a tough schedule and Cody also was the 115th pick (fourth round) in the recent MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers. His final career numbers — .374 average, 136 hits, 127 runs scored, 64 RBI — aren’t just all-state level but All-American. Freeman also had signed a letter of intent with Baylor.

Milan Tolentino (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) Jr.
When you’re named MVP of the Trinity League with players also obviously eligible to get that honor from schools like Orange Lutheran, JSerra, Mater Dei, etc., that’s a pretty big deal. Tolentino only has 15 games listed on MaxPreps with a .391 average, but that wasn’t a problem. He also already has been chosen as the CIFSS D2 Player of the Year after he helped the Eagles win that divisional title. Tolentino also already has a verbal commitment to UCLA.

Nick Yorke (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Jr.
One of three brothers who helped the Monarchs win the Boras Classic NorCal title and also rank among the best of NorCal all season, Nick came off of a sophomore season in which he was the famed West Catholic Athletic League’s Player of the Year. He didn’t repeat that, but continued to shine and steps up to first team all-state. The University of Arizona commit led the Monarchs with a .505 average and collected 50 hits. He also had seven homers, 40 RBI and had a .587 on-base since he also is adept at taking walks.

FIRST TEAM OUTFIELD

Kyle Ashworth (Foothill, Tustin) Sr.
A former State Sophomore of the Year of ours from two seasons ago, Ashworth closes out his career with a first team all-state writeup. He already had been named first team All-CIFSS D1. As a senior, Ashworth hit .438 with two homers, 23 RBI and a school record-tying seven triples. Kyle didn’t tie for the school record in hits as his total of 111 broke the previous record of 106. He also had a .416 career batting average with 88 runs and 21 doubles. Ashworth, a 4.0 student, will play next at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Mac Bingham brought the intensity of a football running back who scored 44 touchdowns every day when he played baseball at Torrey Pines of San Diego. Photo: torreypinesfootball.com.


Colin Barber (Pleasant Valley, Chico) Sr.
Regarded as one of the best players from the CIF Northern Section in the last 20 years, Barber already has been named as the Cal-Hi Sports Medium Schools Player of the Year. He blasted 10 homers with 42 RBI and had a .493 average for a squad that won the D2-3 section title for the second straight year and finished 24-4. Barber, who hit three homers in one game, also had a .470 career batting average with 116 RBI despite missing his sophomore season (injury). The Oregon signer recently went in the fourth round of the MLB Draft to the Houston Astros.

Mac Bingham (Torrey Pines, San Diego) Sr.
One of the elite athletes in the San Diego Section for the school year, Bingham recently signed with the University of Arizona on a baseball scholarship. He had been previously listed as a USC commit. A leading player on Torrey Pines’ team last year that won the SD Section Open Division title, Bingham batted .356 for his career and had 12 homers. As a sophomore, he hit .364 with five homers. Bingham’s other sport has been football and he played running back. In three years with the Falcons, he scored 44 touchdowns.

Pete Crow-Armstrong (Harvard-Westlake, Studio City) Jr.
The L.A. Daily News Player of the Year and one of the top-ranked Class of 2020 players nationally, Pete is another no-brainer to be on the first team. In fact, he was first team all-state as a sophomore. The No. 1 ranked player in PerfectGame.com’s national rankings for the class, Crow-Armstrong has committed to Vanderbilt but may not go there depending on what happens in the next MLB Draft. He was considered the top all-state candidate off of a Harvard-Westlake team that went 27-6-1 and was No. 1 in the state at two different points of the season. The Wolverines lost in the CIF Southern Section D1 final to Cypress. Crow-Armstrong collected 47 hits, scored 40 times and had a .395 batting average. He also had three homers, 23 RBI and only struck out seven times.

Josh Hahn (Huntington Beach) Sr.
He wasn’t the Orange County Player of the Year or the L.A. Times Player of the Year, but Josh was the Gatorade State Player of the Year. To be fair, the Gatorade panel makes those picks before the season is over and if Huntington Beach (and not Cypress) had gone on to win the CIFSS D1 title then Josh might have swept all of the individual honors. The UCLA signer displayed big-time power in 2019 with nine homers, 14 doubles and 33 RBI to go with a .376 average. He also pitched for the Oilers, finishing 5-1 with three saves, a 0.68 ERA plus 53 strikeouts in 41 innings.

Devereaux Harrison (Vacaville) Sr.
Yes, we really wanted to try to make room for at least one CIF Sac-Joaquin Section player (we ended up taking only one on first team) and since Harrison also represents a team that has won the last two CIFSS D1 titles he became the player we gravitated toward. He was a sparkplug for the Bulldogs’ lineup at the top of the order with a .390 batting average, 29 RBI, 11 doubles, four triples and one homer. He also was one of the team’s pitchers, used mostly in relief roles. He finished 6-0 with a 0.71 ERA and had 60 strikeouts in 39 innings. Harrison will play next at Long Beach State.

MULTI-PURPOSE
(Hitting-Pitching-Fielding)

Cooper Benson (San Luis Obispo) Sr.
This was the season in which the Tigers and many other schools from San Luis Obispo County switched from the CIF Southern Section to the CIF Central Section. It wouldn’t have mattered for Benson being all-state. The Arizona State signer, 2018 first team all-state choice and second-round MLB Draft pick would have stood out being from North Dakota. As a pitcher, he went 9-3 with a 0.59 ERA and had 101 strikeouts in 59 ⅔ innings and at the plate he had three homers, 30 RBI and a .364 average. For his prep career at SLO, Benson ended 28-5 with a 0.80 ERA and he had 304 strikeouts in 183 ⅔ innings.

Cooper Benson of San Luis Obispo has now been all-state first team twice. He will play next at Arizona State. Photo: syvnews.com.


Evan Fitterer (Aliso Niguel, Aliso Viejo) Sr.
Teammate Ethan Hoopingarner had almost identical stats hitting and pitching for a Wolverines’ squad that went 28-5 and was among the top teams in the CIFSS D1 playoffs. It was a tough call, but we ended up with Evan on first team and Ethan on second. Fitterer was a fifth round MLB Draft selection by the Chicago Cubs as a pitcher. For the season, he went 9-1 with a 0.97 ERA and had 82 strikeouts in 65 innings. The UCLA commit had to be multi-purpose for a reason, though, and that’s because he also batted .375 with four homers and 30 RBI.

Lucas Gordon
(Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks) Jr.

After being limited as a pitcher last season with elbow surgery, Gordon had a bounceback season for the Knights. Even with all of the great players at Harvard-Westlake, he was the one voted Mission League MVP. He helped Notre Dame to a co-league title and in the Boras Classic he pitched in a 2-1 win over Orange Lutheran. Gordon batted .366 on the season with 34 hits. He also had a 1.23 ERA on the mound with a 5-1 record and 56 strikeouts. He has committed to USC.

Jared Jones (La Mirada) Jr.
The L.A. Times Player of the Year and Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year finalist already has a decorated resume so the task for him is to put all of that on the side and continue to improve. Jones, who also was one of two first team all-state sophomores in 2018, should have the goal of leading the Matadores to a CIFSS D1 title to help him since they were in the semifinals in 2019 and have other top players besides him coming back. Jared, committed to USC, batted .457 with three homers and 16 RBI, but it’s the pitching that has the MLB scouts excited. He was 7-1 with a 0.77 ERA and had 94 strikeouts this season in 64 innings. For his prep career so far it’s 18-5 with a 0.90 ERA plus 227 strikeouts in 163 innings.

Joe Naranjo (Ayala, Chino Hills) Sr.
A first baseman/pitcher for a team that went 25-6 and was state-ranked all season, Naranjo makes the all-state team a bit more for his hitting. Still, he’s a true hitting-pitching multi-purpose player for this format. Naranjo, signed to play next at Cal State Fullerton, hammered eight homers this season and had 29 RBI with a .382 average. On the mound, he added a 7-3 total with a 1.25 ERA plus 65 strikeouts in 61 innings. Naranjo already has been named player of the year by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Cameron Repetti (Cypress) Sr.
Based on how he pitched down the stretch, Cameron could easily have been declared State Pitcher of the Year. He had 5 ⅓ shutout innings vs. Harvard-Westlake in the CIFSS D1 final, didn’t give up a run against La Mirada in the semis and had a complete-game four-hitter in a win against Yucaipa. His pitching totals also had him with a 12-2 record, 1.21 ERA plus 93 strikeouts in 86 ⅔ innings. Still, for this team, we’re putting the OC Varsity Player of the Year on multi-purpose. He also was one of the Centurions’ leading hitters at .371, led the team in runs scored (27) and RBI (26). If we had to rank state player of the year candidates at the end of the season, after Keoni Cavaco of Eastlake, it would be either Cameron or La Mirada’s Jared Jones in the No. 2 position.

Steven Zobac (Valley Christian, San Jose) Sr.
Another Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year finalist, Zobac had a phenomenal season for the Warriors in leading them to their third straight CIF Central Coast Section Open Division title (29-4 record). We were surprised frankly he wasn’t the Alameda News Group Player of the Year (they had him as a co-player of the year) or the San Francisco Chronicle Metro Player of the Year. The stat that pops the most for him is his season ERA of 0.23 as a closer and his career ERA (consider that he plays in the West Catholic Athletic League) of 0.15 is insane. Zobac also went 6-1 this season on the mound with 75 strikeouts in 60 ⅔ innings and for his career went 10-1 with 107 strikeouts in 90 ⅔ innings. At the plate, Steven rapped out five homers this year with a .465 average and 23 RBI. He’ll play next at the University of California.

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


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