August usually means the end of a long summer of baseball and a switch of focus back to high school ball for coaches and players. Most coaches shut down their players for a period of time before diving right back into fall/winter ball leading up to the start of the season.
Around Orange County several schools got better this summer, none more than JSerra (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.). Head coach Brett Kay got some good news when three players transferred in from Foothill (Tustin, Calif.) highlighted by sophomore standout Brady Shockey who is expected to contribute at the top of what should be a loaded lineup.
Huntington Beach (Huntington Beach, Calif.) welcomed newcomer Hagen Danner who is expected to be a contributor on the varsity next spring. Danner was a key contributor on the 2011 Ocean View Little League World Series Champions.
Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), who lost a ton from last years roster, should get a boost on the mound from incoming freshman Nicholas Pratto who was a member of the gold medal winning USA Baseball 15U team.
Several local players had big summers. Below is a list of some of the highlights.
2016 Chase Strumpf (JSerra HS) - The sophomore-to-be and UCLA commit was named the COPABE Pan American Championships tournament MVP after leading the USA 15U team to the gold medal. He was a standout defensively and at the plate while starting every game at shortstop. Strumpf was the tournament leader with five home runs.
2014 Josh Morgan (Orange Lutheran HS) - The senior-to-be and UCLA commit had a busy summer which saw him criss-cross the country. Morgan participated in the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars in Cary, NC, then he participated in the Breakthrough Series in Houston, TX, and most recently participated in the inaugural EBS Showcase at UCLA. In between, Morgan found time to make the Brewers roster for the upcoming Area Code Games.
2016 Blake Sabol (Aliso Niguel HS) - The catcher/first baseman battled with Strumpf on the 15U national team for MVP honors. Every time one did something great it seemed as though the other would answer immediately. Sabol also played for CBA Marrucci Elite this summer and had some very good games in the Firecracker Tournament held in Orange County around the 4th of July.
2014 Parker Joe Robinson (JSerra HS) - Coming off a commitment to the University of Texas, the big RHP showed he was deserving by making the roster for the Brewers Area Code Games team. The 6'4" Robinson had a good showing at the EBS Showcase where he showed some pop with the bat, making some believe he may have an opportunity to do both at the next level, although he'll go to Texas as a pitcher.
2016 Logan Pouelsen (Huntington Beach HS) - The sophomore-to-be won tournament MVP honors and a team championship at the Perfect Game WWBA West Memorial Day event with the SoCal Sox. After a disappointing showing in the Area Code Games tryout, Pouelsen left for Colombia as a member of the 15U national team where he struck out the side to clinch the gold medal game in the COPABE Pan American Championships. Pouelsen will be the centerpiece of a loaded Huntington Beach team in 2014 which many believe will be one of the top teams in the region.
2016 Isaak Gutierrez (St. John Bosco HS) - The infielder/pitcher started every game for the 15U national team in the COPABE Pan American Championships. Offensively, he showed a lot of development this summer after scuffling a bit his freshman season. He looks like a different player physically after taking his conditioning seriously since the high school season. While playing for CBA Marrucci Elite he broke out in the Firecracker Tournament. Gutierrez should be one of the best players in a loaded Trinity League in 2014.
2017 Nicholas Pratto (Mater Dei HS) - The southpaw earned a spot on the 15U national team where he contributed on the mound. Pratto made a name for himself while pitching for BPA Demarini in the Perfect Game WWBA West Memorial Day tournament where he was dominant before taking a tough-luck loss in the championship game of the 16U division despite playing on a 14U team. Many believe Pratto could develop into the top pitching prospect in the 2017 class in SoCal. Pratto was also a member of the 2011 Ocean View Little League Champions.
2014 Joey Sanchez (Orange Lutheran HS) - The Long Beach State commit had a great summer despite just missing out on making the Brewers roster for the Area Code Games. The center fielder was amongst the last couple players cut. Sanchez had a strong showing at the EBS Showcase at UCLA where he impressed scouts with his strong arm and presence at the plate.
2016 Josh Stephen (Mater Dei HS) - The outfielder had a big summer playing for CBA Marrucci Elite in both the Firecracker Tournament and the Perfect Game East Cobb Invitational. His performance led to a commitment to USC.
2015 Ethan Lopez (La Mirada HS) - The St. John Bosco transfer started last season at third base for the Matadors. He is expected to move to his natural position of shortstop next season. A strong summer for GBG has led to offers from Tennessee, UCSB, and USC.
2016Mickey Moniak (La Costa Canyon HS) - The outfielder started 10-of-11 games for the 15U national team in the COPABE Pan American Championships and batted .441 with seven RBI.
2016 Christian Moya (Bishop Amat HS) - The outfielder had a solid performance for the 15U national teams in the COPABE Pan American Championships. He was a threat on the bases and impressed with his arm strength despite his 5'9" frame.
2015 Bailey Falter (Chino Hill HS) - A strong summer with CBA Marrucci Elite led to a commitment to UCSB. The LHP also made the roster of the Brewers Area Code Games team. He was drawing attention from Cal State Fullerton and Virginia among others.
2015 Niko Navarro (Los Osos HS) - After a strong sophomore season and an even stronger summer with CBA Marrucci Elite, the RHP/3B has committed to San Diego State.
2014 Kevin Padlo (Murrieta Valley HS) - The INF/P committed to the University of San Diego after a strong junior season. He played his summer ball with CBA Marrucci Elite.
2015 Chris Betts (Wilson HS) - After missing much of his sophomore season with injury, the standout catcher made the Brewers Area Code Games roster. He had committed to the University of Tennessee before the 2013 season.
2015 Kyle Molnar (Aliso Niguel HS) - After a strong finish to his sophomore season, the RHP/INF made the Brewers roster for the Area Code Games. Coming into the 2013 season, Perfect Game had Molnar rated as the number one prospect in the class of 2015.