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Prepping for Success - 2022

 
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dodgerblue6



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 19152
Location: San Diego CA - deep in the heart of SoCal

PostPosted: Sun 2/20/22 9:42 pm    Post subject: Prepping for Success - 2022 Reply with quote

I so look forward to Eric Sondheimer's coverage in the L.A. Times every year as baseball season approaches.

"Prep Rally: This Baseball Season Won’t Be Locked Out"


BY ERIC SONDHEIMER, COLUMNIST
FEB. 7, 2022 5:30 AM PT

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. The high school baseball season begins this week. I’ve put together preseason top 25 rankings and a profile on Harvard-Westlake’s Toussaint Bythewood, a UCLA-bound senior who’s the reigning Mission League MVP.

When your parents are film directors and volunteer to help put together a sports highlight video, you don’t just say, ‘“Yes.”

You scream, “Yes!”

Toussaint Bythewood of Studio City Harvard-Westlake only needed to supply the baseball highlights for the adults in the room to create a masterpiece.

“I always see my parents on the sideline filming with good angles,” he said of his mother, Gina Prince-Bythewood, and his father, Reggie Rock Bythewood.

The truth is Bythewood needs no highlight video after what he accomplished in 2021 as a junior. The reigning Mission League player of the year batted .431 with 10 stolen bases to help Harvard-Westlake finish 29-4 and win the Southern Section Division 1 championship.

What’s most intriguing is how Bythewood seemingly came out of nowhere to make such a huge contribution and continues to develop into what could be a surprise pro prospect in his senior year.

“Everything is above average,” coach Jared Halpert said of the 6-foot-2, 185-pound center fielder. “He has exceptional hand eye coordination, is an exceptional athlete, has above average speed. His power is going through the roof as he’s maturing and packing on more pounds.”

“Everything is above average,” coach Jared Halpert said of the 6-foot-2, 185-pound center fielder. “He has exceptional hand-eye coordination, is an exceptional athlete, has above average speed. His power is going through the roof as he’s maturing and packing on more pounds.”

He didn’t make his first varsity start until April 7 last year because of an injury. As a freshman, he played junior varsity. As a sophomore, he was a pinch-runner and backup center fielder. His profile couldn’t have been any lower. And yet, after being the No. 9 batter in the lineup, he’s going to be the Wolverines’ No. 3 hitter this season after proving his ability.

“There was a lot of patience,” Bythewood said. “I won’t lie, me and my other teammates who weren’t playing were getting a bit antsy and that antsiness drove me to capitalize on every opportunity I would have because I wasn’t going to get many.”

Bythewood took a major leap in ability, enabling him to commit to UCLA, the alma mater of his mother, and there could be another big jump coming this spring. He’s never hit a home run in high school and that could change rather quickly.

“Last year, I had a lot of what I’ll say was BP power,” he said. “I just couldn’t get it to activate during games. I got bigger, stronger, ate more food. My hands got a lot quicker.”

Bythewood started playing baseball at 4. At first, he wasn’t a big fan of the sport because he didn’t like standing in the outfield in the sun. By high school, he made the decision to play baseball instead of football. At this point, he‘s thrilled to wake up and only focus on playing baseball every day.

“It’s pretty amazing he’s made the strides he’s had,” Halpert said. “He’s a learner, he’s a worker.”

Born in 2004, Bythewood said he’s gotten small cameo parts in his parents’ films through the years.

“It’s really cool when I get to see myself on the big screen,” he said. “Pretty surreal.”

As a Black baseball player, Bythewood said he understands the example he could set in helping more Black teenagers choose the sport to excel in.

“I definitely want to be part of that rebirth,” he said. “If I were able to get a large platform, I’d be able to help other Black players younger than me try to get them into the sport.”

And if he ever needs someone behind the camera to film a public service announcement, he knows who to turn to — Mom or Dad.

Now, if only teammates will stop asking, “When are you going to put me in a film?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Defending Southern Section Division 1 champion Harvard-Westlake starts out No. 1 in The Times’ preseason top 25 baseball rankings. The Wolverines will have to succeed without sophomore Bryce Rainer on the mound. He went 9-0 as a freshman but the Wolverines are giving him the season off on the mound to preserve his highly regarded arm for the future. He’ll still make impact as an outfielder.

Here is a look at The Times’ preseason top 25 prep baseball rankings for 2022:


1. HARVARD-WESTLAKE; Defending D1 champs still loaded with talent.

2. ORANGE LUTHERAN; If pitcher Louis Rodriguez comes through, beware.

3. HUNTINGTON BEACH; Lots of pitching, led by left-hander Ben Jacobs.

4. SHERMAN OAKS NOTRE DAME; Pitchers headed to UCLA, Stanford, Loyola Marymount

5. CORONA; Catcher Josh Springer is a terrific player.

6. JSERRA; Sorry, but Lions don’t get to be an underdog with all their talent.

7. SIERRA CANYON; Let’s see who can beat Jaden Noot in the D2 playoffs.

8. HART; SS Brayden Jefferis, catcher Matt Quintanar lead very good team.

9. YUCAIPA; Thunderbirds have experience, pitching and power.

10. RIVERSIDE KING; Many top players return from 24-6 team.

11. NEWBURY PARK; Junior pitching commits to UCLA, CS Fullerton, Kansas State.

12. CYPRESS; Junior Matthew Morrell is true pitching ace.

13. TRABUCO HILLS; Will Burns, Bobby Gray, Drew Barrett are impressive trio.

14. SERVITE; Friars have hitters with power and good pitching.

15. VILLA PARK; Gavin Grahovac is rising junior prospect.

16. MARANATHA; Pitching depth is key coming off 21-4 season.

17. THOUSAND OAKS; Dylan Jackson, Easton Rulli can hit.

18. FOOTHILL; USC-bound Austin Overn is player to watch.

19. AYALA; Ty Borgogno can hit with the best.

20. SANTA MARGARITA; Strong junior group leads Eagles.

21. SAN DIMAS; Landon White had 36 hits as a freshman.

22. EL DORADO; Much improved pitching staff.

23. ST. JOHN BOSCO; Early signs of being vastly improved.

24. CAPISTRANO VALLEY; Mason McGwire should be a standout.

25. FOUNTAIN VALLEY; Early signs of an effective pitching staff.

High school baseball in the Southland is as good as it gets on a yearly basis. Dozens of players are committed to colleges this season. Pro scouts will be traveling from San Juan Capistrano to Ventura searching for possible MLB draft picks.

Here are is a list of 11 players who start the season as upper-echelon players based on their individual and team contributions last season and offseason development.

Pitcher — David Horn, JSerra, Sr.: Vanderbilt commit ready for big season.

Pitcher — Jaden Noot, Sierra Canyon, Sr.: Oregon commit throws 96 mph fastball.

Catcher — Matt Quintanar, Hart, Sr.: Pepperdine commit is a hitting machine.

Catcher — Josh Springer, Corona, So.: Hits, fields and leads.

Infielder — Christopher Paciolla, Temecula Valley, Sr.: UCLA commit hit five home runs in 2021.

Infielder — Will Burns, Trabuco Hills, Jr.: Terrific athlete with great arm.

Infielder — Jacob Reimer, Yucaipa, Sr.: Washington commit hit seven home runs.

First base — Jack Gurevitch, S.O. Notre Dame, Sr.: San Diego commit had 39 hits, four home runs.

Outfielder — Toussaint Bythewood, Harvard-Westlake, Sr.: Reigning Mission League player of the year.

Outfielder — Derek Curiel, Orange Lutheran, So.: LSU commit had 21 hits as a freshman.

Outfielder — Bryce Rainer, Harvard-Westlake, So.: Will focus on hitting skills after 9-0 season as pitcher.

Sophomore pitcher/shortstop Levi Sterling of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame has committed to Texas.

Junior baseball player Jackson Kemmerer of Tesoro has committed to Nevada.

Granada Hills pitcher Drew Gustafson has committed to UC Santa Barbara. . .

Ryan McGuire, who played baseball for El Camino Real, UCLA and in the majors, had his number retired by El Camino Real.
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sunnyblue



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue 2/22/22 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting! Waiting for CIF SD section rankings.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Tue 3/1/22 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baseball America is now ranking preps by region.

Harvard-Westlake (1), Orange Lutheran (5) and HB (9) are in the top ten for the Pacific coast region.

Full preseason rankings are listed here.
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Tue 3/1/22 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for info.

CIF-SD season started last week, rankings by the Union Tribune -linked here

Terrific article about the Morse baseball program and their struggles to build a good team with homegrown kids from the community. It makes me want to root for them!

You have to scroll down to No. 7 ranked team to find a SDUSD baseball program, unfortunately.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Mon 4/11/22 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, get this.

The NHSI was played, as usual, in Cary, N.C. last week.

Would you believe that this is the first time since its inception that a California team has not been one of the finalists?

Tip of the cap to the Sunshine State, which featured both teams who played for the championship. In the end, it was Stoneman Douglas beating St. Johns Country Day School, 5-3. Congratulations to the boys!
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sunnyblue



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PostPosted: Tue 4/12/22 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a pretty good record for this to be the first one without one of our teams. Congratulations to Stoneman Douglas. I didn't even know the tournament started already. I don't think it got as much publicity this year, or maybe I am wrong?

Speaking of tournaments. We're going to see one of the Lions tourney games tomorrow, and I'll have to report back on that.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Sat 4/30/22 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So how about reporting back, Sunny? Laughing

This thread definitely needs some updates!
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sunnyblue



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PostPosted: Mon 5/2/22 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops Embarassed well congratulations to RBV so you know Doc must be happy! Smile
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Fri 5/20/22 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CIF playoffs underway! I will have to make sure to catch a game since I missed the entire Lions Tournament.
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sunnyblue



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PostPosted: Mon 5/23/22 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JSerra won their first CIF title which shocked me! I had no idea they hadn't won one before with all their success in the standings over the years and their reputation for producing players.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Fri 5/27/22 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, congratulations to them, and the D1 championship game will be played this weekend.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Mon 5/30/22 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And congratulations to Chatsworth High, it is. The Chancellors clinched CIF on Saturday.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Tue 6/7/22 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be updating this one soon...
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