SoCal Notebook 4/2/21

Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

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SoCal - Another week, another run of games and with the season entering “tournament season” there were plenty of options to choose from. I use the quotation marks above because technically there aren’t any tournaments in the traditional sense of the word all being at one or two venues, organizers have found a way to stage games at school sites as part of bracket rotation that works out all the same. 

For me it was three games this week that kicked off with PBR California No. 1 Ayala travelling to take on a talented, albeit young, Corona team. Game two saw me head to Capo Valley as the Cougars hosted El Dorado before closing out with Villa Park and Dana Hills in the Ryan Lemmon Baseball Series Championship Game.

Ayala’s lineup is chalk-full of returners that play with a cohesion that’s fun to watch. Coach Andy Wise of Corona feels this may be his best freshman class ever and with eight on the roster with five seeing time in this game, it’s easy to see why he feels that way. El Dorado has a group of five sophomores that represents the future of the Golden Hawks program, but on this day it was a senior that propelled the offense over their hosts. Capo Valley is not without talent on it’s roster with several Division I commits, but in tournament settings with games bunched together depth is often tested. Dana Hills had to go the Johnny Wholestaff approach to their matchup with Villa Park and things could have gone better for Villa Park in this one. With a potent lineup the Spartans got impressive performances from seniors Aaron Perez and Isaac Ontiveros en route to the 7-2 win. 

With so many players to dive into, let’s not waste any more time and get to the heart of matters. 


For Ayala, Junior shortstop Ty Borgogno looks like a different player since I last saw him. He’s filling out and the strength hasn’t affected his athleticism. Moves very well, and easily, on the dirt but it’s at the plate where the strength is noticeable as once soft bloopers have turned into hard line drives. The Long Beach State commit smacked a double in gap that, to me, was a very important sign in his development...While many believe Cole Koniarsky one day will have a career in professional baseball, the question remains of how soon. After a strong showing at the SoCal ProCase last summer where he ran a sub-7 60 and posted above average metrics on both Trackman and Blast Motion, Koniarsky showed he has the tools for the next level. In this game he demonstrated the same compact swing with line drive tendencies smacking a leadoff single to right on a fastball away…For Corona it’s a story of youth given all the freshmen expected to contribute heavily this spring. But with returning upperclassmen, once freshman varsity starters themselves, the Panthers appear to have a foundation built to defend they’re 5-year championship run in the BIG VIII Conference. Freshman Josiah Palomino has developed from a skinny catcher to a physically athletic third baseman. He showed ample range at the hot corner and flashed his arm strength during pregame. He plays aggressively and shows himself to be very instinctive...Freshman Jaylen White had only a pinch hit at-bat in this game to show his wares at the plate, and while he lost the battle he showed an aggressive approach looking to drive balls early in the count. Once he fell behind he made the two-strike adjustment that led to a pair of foul balls before ultimately striking out. The Arizona commit one you’ll be hearing plenty from in the future...For El Dorado it’s a quintet of sophomores, most of whom were on varsity a year ago, that is the foundation for the future. However, it was senior Nate Cadena that stole the show for the Golden Hawks driving in five runs via two no doubt home runs. The first came after younger brother sophomore Isaac Cadena and sophomore Garvey Rumary (more on both of them later) singled and set up runners at the corner. Nate Cadena took a 2-0 fastball over the fence to dead center. The next was a pull shot that hung up in the onshore breeze before leaving the yard in left field. He backed all of that up with an outstanding diving play beyond the third base foul line and came up firing. The Spartans are getting a heck of a player...Sophomore Evan Rolbiecki may one day be a heck of a player himself if what he showed in a pinch hit opportunity in the fourth inning is an indication. He fell behind with two strikes before taking a breaking ball that an undisciplined hitter may have offered at. On a 2-2 fastball he drove a hard line drive to center field scoring a run. It was smart at-bat, particularly for a sophomore coming off the bench. With position versatility and a frame that is going to withstand the addition of mass, Rolbiecki is one of many talented Golden Hawks sophomores. For Villa Park, the aforementioned seniors Aaron Perez and Isaac Ontiveros combined to go the distance combing for 12 strikeouts, zero walks, and no earned runs. Ontiveros was especially good not allowing a single hit in 4.1 innings...For Dana Hills, their offense did their damage in the first innings with back-to-back-to-back hits from Aeden Anderson, Jack Moulin, and Rocco DiFrancesco


‘23 SS Gavin Grahovac - Villa Park HS - Arizona St. commit

My colleague Shooter Hunt was in town this past week and had a chance to see Grahovac along with a handful of other top players in SoCal. He wrote some great notes on Grahovac that essentially sum up what we’ve known now for some time, Grahovac has the look of a top 50 player nationally not only this season, but moving forward as well. The defense, strength at the plate, baseball IQ, arm strength are all tools and traits that place Grahovac amongst the best. 

Log in to read notes and see video on more standouts including ‘21 OF/C Jacob Badawi, ‘22 OF Troy McCain, ‘24 C Josh Springer, ‘24 LHP/OF Ethan Schiefelbein, ‘23 OF/INF Isaac Cadena, and ‘23 LHP/OF Garvey Rumary. 

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