The high school spring sports season is officially underway, as 13 sports including baseball, softball and, for the first time, lacrosse, gear up for Moore League competition. We take a look at some of the top storylines and athletes to keep an eye on at lbpost.com and the562.org over the next few months.
The Moore League contains four of the top 10 high schools for producing Major League Baseball talent, with Long Beach Poly (No. 1), Wilson (T-No. 5), Lakewood (T-No. 5), and Compton (T-No. 9) all making the cut. In all, an astounding 91 Major Leaguers played at one of the seven Moore League high schools or St. Anthony, and there’s no doubt that part of the appeal of high school baseball at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field has been the promise of seeing future big leaguers on their first big stage.
It looks like the league has action once again this year. Star Lakewood pitcher Ricky Tiedemann is an absolute stud; he’s signed a scholarship with San Diego State but it looks increasingly less likely he’ll end up in the NCAA ranks thanks to a great developmental offseason. Tiedemann has scouts from as many as 26 MLB teams at Lakewood games, and they’ll be in out in full force at Blair this year.
The Lancers are probably the prohibitive league title favorites, and legendary head coach Spud O’Neill is a few wins away from his 900th career victory, which would put him in hallowed territory in the state, where only three other coaches have crossed that mark.
What Tiedemann is for the city in baseball, St. Anthony shortstop Tiare Jennings is for softball. Jennings is an absolute superstar level talent, ranked as the top infielder in the country and already signed with Oklahoma, the NCAA powerhouse that’s won three of the last seven national championships.
Jennings leads a talented Saints team that doesn’t just figure to win the Del Rey League but should compete for a CIF-SS title as well. In the Moore League, longtime league power Lakewood has its feet planted and are ready to win a seventh league championship in the last eight seasons. The Lancers are led by Long Beach State signee Cassie Camou.
For the first time since it added boys’ and girls’ soccer in 1982-83, the Moore League has added a brand new sport this year with boys’ and girls’ lacrosse. If we’re being honest, we have no idea who’s going to win this year because there are no defending league champions and everyone is kind of figuring this whole thing out as they go.
JJ covered a Poly/Millikan girls’ game earlier in the week and there were definitely moments where it looked like one of the officials was getting notes from the more experienced member of the staff on what the rules were for high school contests.
As sportswriters, we’re always of the opinion that more sports are a good thing, and we’re looking forward to figuring out how to cut a lacrosse highlight ourselves.
Track & Field
There’s no doubt that track and field is the city’s best high school sport at this point. The Long Beach Poly and Wilson girls are ranked No. 2 and No. 5 in the state, respectively, and between the Jackrabbits, Bruins and St. Anthony Saints there are four teams ranked in the first CIF-SS poll of the season, with the Poly boys and girls and Wilson girls all in the top 10 in Division 1.
The big names are Rachel Glenn for Wilson, who will try to make school history this year as she tries to win a third individual state title, and Jade McDonald, a Jackrabbit who can compete in several different events.
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