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Sounding Off:

O.C. produces great baseball athletes

April 19, 2010|By Steve Physioc

What county produces the most baseball talent in the United States?

One would be hard-pressed to find a more talent-laden community than our Orange County.

Year after year, Orange County sends more baseball players to Division I schools than any area of America. For the first time since 1967, UCLA last week was ranked No. 1 one by Baseball America after a fabulous 25-3 start. Thirteen players on the Bruins roster hail from the county.

Coach John Savage has done an excellent job recruiting the region, snaring All-American Gerrit Cole out of Orange Lutheran, who’s off to a 6-1 start and a 2.98 earned run average in his sophomore season. Sophomore closer Dan Klein, out of Servite, has been brilliant with a 2-0 record and a 0.36 ERA. Mater Dei’s Tyler Rahmatulla is hitting .383 with four home runs as a sophomore outfielder.

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The Bruins lost two of three this weekend to Oregon to fall to 27-5 and likely will be knocked out of the top spot by red-hot Arizona State.

The Sun Devils swept USC this weekend to push their record to 31-3. USC might want to recruit throughout Orange County a little more aggressively as they have only six players from the county and Chad Kreuter’s Trojans are under .500 this year. There are 30 players from Orange County high schools on Pac-10 rosters this season.

Orange County’s two Division I programs, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton, are filled with baseball players from O.C.

The Anteaters have 15 players from the county, while the Titans have six. Both schools have been ranked in the top 25 this season. There are 41 players from Orange County high schools on Big West Conference rosters this year.

I don’t know of another county in America that can boast the baseball excellence of O.C.

Phiz notes

 Southern California will be well represented in the NBA playoff matchup that is of interest to most area fans: the Lakers vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers have two players from Southern California in Jordan Farmar from Taft High School and UCLA, and Luke Walton from San Diego.

The Thunder has Russell Westbrook, out of Leuzinger High School and UCLA, and James Harden, out of Artesia High School in Lakewood. Westbrook had a breakout year this season, averaging 16.1 points and 8.0 assists to become one of the best young point guards in the NBA.

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