Thousand Oaks: Baseball Team of Year

Players and coaches from Thousand Oaks celebrate after completing 29-1 season by winning CIF Southern Section Division II championship. Photo: @tohsbaseball / Twitter.com.


With no State Team of the Year selection possible in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there’s a new entry now listed for 2021 and for the third straight time it’s a team that ended its season with 29 wins. This time, it’s 29-1 Thousand Oaks, which is similar in some ways to 29-1 De La Salle of Concord for 2019 and in another, major way it is not. The Lancers are just the second baseball team ever from Ventura County to be named State Team of the Year in the more than 100 years in which a team has been named.

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So how great was the 2021 baseball team at Thousand Oaks? Just the next day after the Lancers’ capped their historic season with a 3-2 victory over Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship game, the Ventura Star compared them to the greatest teams in all sports from Ventura County history.

Here’s some more history for them: The 29-1 squad has now been named State Team of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports, joining a yearly list that goes back for more than 100 years. The Lancers are just the second team from Ventura County to gain the honor, joining Rio Mesa of Oxnard from 1985.

Outgoing Thousand Oaks head coach Jack Wilson also is a member of the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame. He played for 12 seasons in the major leagues. Photo: tohslancerbaseball.com.


This is also the third time in four years (but third in a row since no team could be selected for 2020 due to the pandemic) that the final No. 1 team in the state has won 29 games. The Lancers follow De La Salle of Concord (29-1) for 2019 and Valley Christian of San Jose (29-3-1) for 2018.

Comparisons to De La Salle of two years ago also extend beyond just the same win-loss record. Both teams lost just one game by one run and both also gained the final No. 1 nod over the CIF Southern Section Division I champion. DLS, which won its last 28 games in a row, edged Cypress (31-3) while the Lancers will always have to be debating what might have been with Harvard-Westlake of Studio City (28-4).

Thousand Oaks, of course, is in the same section as Harvard-Westlake and won in a division and in a year in which the D1 playoff field in that section was much stronger than D2. It’s possible the two could have played in the first-ever CIF Southern California regional playoffs, but both teams opted out (for very valid reasons considering the season already has gone on several weeks later than usual) so it will never be known.

Beating teams like the Lancers did in Ventura County all season, however, was extremely rare and discounts that there is other outstanding baseball played by other schools in that county. Counting the team winning all of its seven games played in 2020 before that season was scrapped by COVID-19, Thousand Oaks stretched its win streak in 2021 to 31 games before a 2-1 loss to Newbury Park (the middle game of a three-game series). That win streak ranks in a tie for ninth on the all-time state list and broke the Ventura County record of 30 set in 2010 by small school Cornerstone Christian (Camarillo).

“It’s the hardest working team I’ve ever been around, and the most determined,” head coach Jack Wilson told Eli Appelbaum of the local Thousand Oaks Acorn newspaper. “They were simply relentless. They were relentless. They never got satisfied with where they were at.”

Wilson, a longtime major league infielder and a Thousand Oaks alum himself, got into high school coaching when his son, Jacob, began playing for the Lancers five years ago. He stuck around to see this year’s group get finished, but has said he will now seek other coaching opportunities.

It didn’t take long for Wilson to enjoy a record-breaking experience this year. In each of the team’s first five games, Oklahoma State-bound senior infielder Roc Riggio ripped a home run. The five consecutive games of hitting a home run streak put Riggio into the state record book and is just one off of the record of six first set in 1997 by longtime MLB star Chase Utley of Long Beach Poly.

Teammate Maxwell Muncy also gained a listing in the Cal-Hi Sports state records when he blasted his fourth grand slam of the season. Muncy, who is committed to Arkansas but like Riggio may be picked high in the upcoming MLB Draft, tied the state record of four first set in 1998 by Griffin Booth of Pasadena Poly.

Riggio and Muncy both led the team in different ways. Riggio was tops in home runs with 12 (helped by a three-homer barrage in a CIFSS playoff win over San Dimas) and he scored 50 runs with an amazing .619 on-base average (42 walks). Muncy led in RBI with 49 with a team-best .469 batting average.

The third member of Thousand Oaks’ big three was senior catcher Charlie Saum. He’s been one of the top Class of 2021 recruits/prospects in the state for several years and will be playing next at Stanford. Saum hit .388 this season with six homers and 38 RBI.

To do what the Lancers did obviously requires pitching and other players to come through and that happened as well.

The pitching leader was senior Myles Weiss, who had a complete-game four-hitter in the final win vs. Trabuco Hills. He also finished 10-0 with a 0.48 ERA. Other pitchers who shined included seniors Cody Carson and Tyler Jackson plus sophomore Collin Adams.

Junior Dylan Jackson was another big-time hitter who emerged. He cracked nine homers with 37 RBI and had a .333 batting average. Sophomore outfielder Easton Rulli also made big plays and got big hits in the playoffs.

“With COVID, obviously nobody knew if the season was even going to happen,” Saum told The Acorn. “Everyone kept pushing, everyone kept practicing. Everybody decided, we want to go win a Marmonte League championship and we want to win a CIF championship. Our performance (in the title game), there was not a lot of big hitting or home runs. We showed a ton of resilience—and that’s been our theme all year.”

Congratulations to the Thousand Oaks Lancers, your 2021 State Team of the Year.

CAL-HI SPORTS ALL-TIME
STATE BASEBALL TEAMS OF THE YEAR

(All teams listed prior to 1980 based on research by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis)

De La Salle of Concord head coach David Jeans directs team after final game in 2019 season. Photo: Mark Tennis.


2021 – Thousand Oaks (29-1)
2020 – No Selection (Pandemic)
2019 – Concord De La Salle (29-1)
2018 – San Jose Valley Christian (29-3-1)
2017 – Chula Vista Eastlake (32-4)
2016 – Clovis Buchanan (30-1)
2015 – Pleasant Hill College Park (26-4)
2014 – Clovis (33-5)
2013 – North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (28-4)
2012 – Vista (31-4)
2011 – Clovis Buchanan (30-2)
2010 – San Jose Archbishop Mitty (31-3)
2009 – Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley (26-6)
2008 – Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (27-4)
2007 – Long Beach Wilson (31-3)
2006 – San Jose Bellarmine (34-4)
2005 – Woodland Hills El Camino Real (28-4)
2004 – Chatsworth (35-0)
2003 – Carlsbad La Costa Canyon (32-1)
2002 – La Puente Bishop Amat (28-2)
2001 – La Puente Bishop Amat (27-2)
2000 – San Diego Rancho Bernardo (30-3)
1999 – Riverside Arlington (29-2)
1998 – Clovis (33-2)
1997 – Clovis (32-2) (plus one win by default)
1996 – Granada Hills Kennedy (31-3)
1995 – Fountain Valley (26-3-1)
1994 – Fountain Valley (27-3-1)
1993 – Fresno Bullard (26-3-1)
1992 – San Diego Mira Mesa (26-5)
1991 – Ontario (26-0)
1990 – Cupertino Monta Vista (27-3)
1989 – Fresno Bullard (28-2)
1988 – Fresno Bullard (29-1)
1987 – Lakewood (25-7)
1986 – Santee Santana (26-2)
1985 – Oxnard Rio Mesa (27-3)
1984 – Rancho Cordova (33-5-1)
1983 – El Cerrito (27-1)
1982 – San Diego Mt. Carmel (24-2)
1981 – Westminster (23-4)
1980 – Fresno Bullard (29-2)
1979 – Visalia Mt. Whitney (20-3)
1978 – Larkspur Redwood (30-5)
1977 – West Covina Edgewood (29-1)
1976 – Lakewood (22-4-1)
1975 – Torrance Bishop Montgomery (27-3)
1974 – Torrance North (26-6-1)
1973 – El Segundo (30-5)
1972 – Venice (19-3)
1971 – El Segundo (33-2)
1970 – Lompoc (27-1)
1969 – Sacramento Grant (16-1)
1968 – Fresno Hoover (27-3)
1967 – Long Beach Millikan (20-4)
1966 – El Segundo (24-4-1)
1965 – San Diego Crawford (22-4)
1964 – Lynwood (23-2)
1963 – Long Beach Poly (21-4)
1962 – Sacramento Bishop Armstrong (22-2)
1961 – S.F. Sacred Heart (32-2-1)
1960 – Fresno Roosevelt (20-2)
1959 – S.F. St. Ignatius (28-3)
1958 – Fresno (25-1)
1957 – Fresno (22-2)
1956 – Ontario Chaffey (21-5)
1955 – South Gate (17-2)
1954 – L.A. Loyola (22-5)
1953 – Compton (23-2)
1952 – S.F. Sacred Heart (29-5)
1951 – Sacramento McClatchy (22-0-1)
1950 – Long Beach Wilson (24-3)
1949 – San Diego (29-3)
1948 – San Diego (26-3)
1947 – S.F. Mission (12-1)*
1946 – San Diego (24-7)
1945 – S.F. Mission (10-0, League)
1944 – S.F. Mission (9-0, League)
1943 – L.A. Fremont (13-1)
1942 – San Diego Hoover (13-0 vs. prep teams)
1941 – S.F. Galileo (12-1)*
1940 – S.F. Mission (11-1)*
1939 – San Diego (20-5)
1938 – Glendale (4-0, Playoffs)
1937 – S.F. Commerce (12-2, League)
1936 – Long Beach Poly (23-2)
1935 – Sacramento (20-1)
1934 – S.F. Mission (7-0, League)
1933 – Fresno Roosevelt (20 -2)
1932 – San Diego (11-4)
1931 – S.F. Mission (8-0, League)
1930 – San Diego (19-3)
1929 – San Diego (31-5)
1928 – San Diego (22-8-1)
1927 – Fullerton (29-5-1)
1926 – Alameda (21-1)
1925 – Los Angeles (6-0, League)
1924 – S.F. Sacred Heart (6-0)*
1923 – San Diego (15-4)
1922 – S.F. Mission (6-1)*
1921 – San Diego (18-5-2)
1920 – San Diego (13-1)
1919 – Oakland Technical (8-0)*
1918 – San Diego (12-6)
1917 – San Diego (12-1)
1916 – S.F. Poly (7-0, League)
1915 – S.F. Sacred Heart (5-0)*
1914 – S.F. Lowell (6-0)*
1913 – Long Beach Poly (19-3-1)
1912 – Long Beach Poly (17-5)
1911 – S.F. Sacred Heart (5-0)*
1910 – S.F. Sacred Heart (8-0)*
1909 – Alameda (5-0)*
1908 – Palo Alto (4-0)*
1907 – Alameda (5-1)*
1906 – S.F. Lick (1-0 League)**
1905 – S.F. Lick (9-1-1)*
1904 – Palo Alto
1903 – Berkeley
1902 – S.F. Lowell
1901 – Berkeley
1900 – S.F. Cogswell
1899 – Palo Alto (5-0)
*Record for league and playoff games only.
** Playoffs and remainder of league schedule were cancelled due to earthquake.
Lick’s 1906 team was regarded as being better than its 1905 team.

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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