After his 22nd season, Huntington Beach’s head coach is closing in on his 400th win and has built one of the top baseball programs in California. This year’s capper of winning the CIF Southern California D1 regional title also has gained him the No. 1 coaching honor for the 2022 season.
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If we’re being honest, there was a very good chance that whichever team won the CIF SoCal D1 title back on June 4 that the head coach of the winning team was going to be the 2022 Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year. Neither head coach, Brett Kay of JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) or Benji Medure (Huntington Beach), had been State Coach of the Year before and both have been highly regarded by their peers over the last decade.
Medure’s club from Huntington Beach won the game, 2-0 in eight innings, as it came back from losing in the CIF Southern Section D1 semifinals. Now, after looking over the resumes of several other top contenders, it is indeed Medure who is going to go down with the 2022 top seasonal coaching honor in the state.
This is the fourth time in the last six years (counting 2020 when the season was cancelled due to COVID) in which the State Coach of the Year in baseball is from Orange County. Medure follows Mike Gonzales of El Toro (2017), Bob Zamora from Capistrano Valley of Mission Viejo (2018) and John Weber of Cypress (2019). Before that, though, the previous honoree from Orange County was from 1999.
Medure himself has roots from Riverside County. He played and graduated from Riverside Poly in 1992 and eventually got his start as a lower level baseball coach with the Bears. He’s also the son of a coach from the Inland Empire since Joe Medure was a longtime head football coach at Ontario. Unfortunately, Joe died from cancer in 2004.
According to a 2015 story in the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Medure was an assistant coach for head coach Aaron Moore in 2000 when Moore looked to move over to Huntington Beach and Medure was looking to do the same. Medure applied for a math teaching job at the school and was hired. Moore, however, couldn’t get a teaching job so he stayed at Riverside Poly. That made it possible for Medure, at just 25 years old, to get the top head coaching position in baseball at Huntington Beach.
Considering how strong the Oilers have been over the last 10 years, it took several years before Medure established the program to consistently rank near the top both in the state and nationally. Huntington Beach actually has made it almost normal to win 25 games or more in a season.
This year’s team finished up at 25-9 with its victory over JSerra in the regional final and moved up to No. 3 in the final state rankings. Last year’s squad posted a 24-5 record, which came after the pandemic season of 6-3. Looking back from there, the Oilers were 25-7 in 2019, 26-6 in 2018, 29-5 in 2017, 25-8 in 2015 and 22-15 in 2014.
Medure won the 300th game of his coaching career in 2019 with a win that came against Riverside Poly. His own high school coach, Rich Graves, was there and there was a team photo taken afterward in which three of Medure’s daughters were posed together in the front while the coach was holding his youngest daughter. Counting the wins since that day and through the win against JSerra, we came up with 374. Another season in 2023 similar to those of 2022 or 2017 therefore could get Medure to 400.
This year’s team at Huntington Beach didn’t have the preseason attention of other SoCal teams such as Orange Lutheran, JSerra or Harvard-Westlake of Studio City. The Oilers, though, got an early season win over JSerra and stayed among the mix of top CIF Southern Section D1 teams the rest of the way before playing their best ball of the season in the playoffs. Pitchers Ben Jacobs (UCLA) and Matthew Lopez (Northern Kentucky) were both spectacular at times, especially Lopez in the SoCal final against JSerra. Ralph Velazquez hit the big two-run homer in the final game and will be a main player to watch next season.
Medure has caught the attention of USA Baseball and has taken the Oilers to the National High School Invitational in Cary, N.C., in recent seasons. His team won the NHSI in 2016. This year’s team won in its first two games — opponents were McQuaid Jesuit of Rochester, N.Y., and Hamilton of Chandler, Ariz., — before losing to St. John’s Country Day of Florida in the semifinals and then in a third-place game to The First Academy of Florida.
Like all of the other coaches who’ve gotten major honors or milestone wins, Medure always credits his players first. And he’s had a number of exceptional ones.
In 2017, Hagen Danner of the Oilers was the Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year. He was the 61st pick in the MLB Draft that year and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays (the team he is currently playing for in the minor leagues). In that same year, 2017, Huntington Beach’s Nick Pratto was the 14th pick in the first round of the draft by the Kansas City Royals. Pratto, a third baseman, is currently on the 40-man roster of the Royals. Just last year, one of Medure’s former players, Jake Vogel, was a third round MLB Draft pick (No. 100 overall) by the L.A. Dodgers. Huntington Beach also has a player in this week’s College World Series as Brett Barrera of Stanford is yet another Medure alum.
Congratulations to Benji Medure and to the other coaches at Huntington Beach for a job well done.
All-Time List Cal-Hi Sports
State Baseball Coaches Of The Year
2022 – Benji Medure, Huntington Beach (25-9)
2021 – Jared Halpert, Studio City
2020 – No selection (pandemic)
2019 – John Weber, Cypress (31-3)
2018 – Bob Zamora, Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley (25-10)
2017 – Mike Gonzales, Lake Forest El Toro (27-7-1)
2016 – Gary Remiker,
San Diego Cathedral Catholic (25-9)
2015 – John Donohue, San Francisco Lowell (25-8)
2014 – James Davis, El Cajon Granite Hills (26-7)
2013 – Jeff Carlson, Elk Grove (29-5)
2012 – Steve Vickery, Lakeside El Capitan (31-7)
2011 – John Goulding, Union City James Logan
2010 – Tom Donald, Clovis Buchanan (29-5)
2009 – Pete Jensen, San Mateo Serra (30-6)
2008 – Jeff Phillips, La Mesa Grossmont (29-7)
2007 – John Diatte, San Jose Valley Christian
2006 – Spud O’Neil, Lakewood (29-5-1)
2005 – Bill Hutton, San Jose Archbishop Mitty (28-6)
2004 – Rick Steen, Danville San Ramon Valley (25-8)
2003 – Justin Machado, Carlsbad La Costa Canyon (32-1)
2002 – Dave Currie, Santa Clara Wilcox (34-3)
2001 – Tom Muesborn, Chatsworth (31-2)
2000 – Harry Jenkins, Torrance West (29-2)
1999 – Joe Walters, Santa Ana Calvary Chapel (27-1-1)
1998 – James Patrick, Clovis (33-2)
1997 – Dave Brunell, Santa Maria St. Joseph (29-0)
1996 – Dennis Pugh, San Diego Mission Bay (29-5)
1995 – Dave Demarest, Westminster La Quinta (28-3-1)
1994 – Ron LaRuffa, Fountain Valley (27-3-1)
1993 – Mike Maio, Woodland Hills El Camino Real (24-2)
1992 – Dan Peters, Long Beach Millikan (22-5-1)
1991 – Jeff Meredith, La Mesa Grossmont (28-1)
1990 – Mickey McNamee, San Marino (23-2-1)
1989 – Sam Blalock, San Diego Mt. Carmel (25-2)
1988 – Chris Sims, Moraga Campolindo (24-5)
1987 – Don Ardissone, San Jose Bellarmine (26-7)
1986 – Mike Curran, Anaheim Esperanza (25-3-1)
1985 – Dave Perkins, Hanford (23-5)
1984 – Darryl Stroh, Granada Hills (16-2-1)
1983 – Larry Quirico, El Cerrito (27-1)
1982 – Jim Garrett, Tulare (21-5)
1981 – Guy Anderson, Rancho Cordova (28-8)
1980 – Mike Noakes, Fresno Bullard (29-2)
1979 – John Bachman, Covina (27-3)
1978 – Al Endriss, Larkspur Redwood (30-5)
1977 – Lou Zuardo, South S.F. El Camino (28-1)
1976 – John Herbold, Lakewood (22-4-1)
1975 – Jack Hannah, Fresno Hoover (29-2)
1974 – Jim O’Brien, Torrance North (26-6-1)
1973 – John Stevenson, El Segundo (30-5)
1972 – Hi LaValle, Compton Dominguez (22-4-1)
1971 – Denny Holt, Sepulveda Monroe (19-0)
1970 – Dan Bodary, Lompoc (27-1)
1969 – Bob Myers, Long Beach Millikan (21-6)
1968 – Bill Sandback, San Diego Crawford (21-7)
1967 – Marvin Wood, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (27-3)
1966 – Bill Cox, Oakland St. Elizabeth (23-5)
1965 – Al Exton, Arcadia (21-4)
1964 – Bob Zuber, Van Nuys Birmingham (18-1)
1963 – Bill Kelly, Redondo Beach Aviation (20-3)
1962 – Dick Sperbeck, Sacramento Bishop Armstrong (22-2)
1961 – Elmo Ferrari, Ojai Villanova (17-0)
1960 – Jake Abbott, Fresno Roosevelt (20-2)
1959 – Howard Johnson, Inglewood Morningside (20-6)
1958 – Ken Proctor, Ontario Chaffey (20-5)
1957 – Ollie Bidwell, Fresno (22-2)
1956 – Bill Ziegler, Eureka (18-0)
1955 – Bob Patterson, Vallejo (20-1)
1954 – Ed Grimm, Redding Shasta (14-0)
1953 – Charles Doyle, Compton (23-2)
1952 – George Powles, Oakland McClymonds (16-0)
1951 – Cliff Perry, Sacramento McClatchy (22-0-1)
1950 – Harry Brubaker, L.A. Dorsey (17-0*)
1949 – Al Kyte, Oakland Technical (8-2, League)
1948 – Len Porterfield, Santa Maria (16-2)
1947 – Cliff Meyer, Long Beach Wilson (20-3)
1946 – Walt Williams, San Jose (17-2)
1945 – Pop Elder, S.F. Mission (10-0, League)
1944 – Bob Fatjo, San Jose Bellarmine (13-2)
1943 – Les Haserot, L.A. Fremont (13-1)
1942 – Roy Engle, San Diego Hoover (13-0 vs. Prep Teams)
1941 – Ras Johnson, S.F. Galileo (12-1*)
1940 – George Wolfman, S.F. Mission (11-1*)
1939 – Dewey Morrow, San Diego (22-5)
1938 – George Sperry, Glendale
1937 – Bernie Baumeister, S.F. Commerce (12-2, League)
1936 – Lyle Kinnear, Long Beach Polytechnic (23-2)
1935 – Ed Combatalade, Sacramento (20-1)
1934 – Myles Regan, L.A. Cathedral (13-5-1)
1933 – Kit Carlson, Santa Maria (9-1)
*League and playoff record
Note: Selections prior to 1980 made retroactively by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis. Coaches are only chosen once in their careers, which has never been a problem in such a great baseball state as California.