Local prep athletes, coach earn All-CIF honors
Winning Torrance’ High’s first CIF title in baseball in the school’s 97-year history also earned its coach and MVP top honors in CIF Southern Section Division 4.
Tartar’s head coach Ollie Turner was named Coach of the Year after leading his alma mater to a 27-8 record and an 11-0 win over Pioneer League rival South Torrance in the championship game at UC Riverside.
Torrance pitcher Kyle Smith was named the Division 4 MVP after posting a 13-1 record with a 0.46 ERA and 155 strikeouts and only 16 walks in 89 innings.
The 5-foot-10 left hander will continue his career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall after playing for the North County Indians semipro team in Templeton, CA this summer.
“I’m really honored and blessed to be named the All-CIF Division 4 MVP,” Smith said. “I’ve been working hard all season and it’s finally all paying off. This year has been an amazing experience and has taught me to stay humble. None of these awards would have been possible without my team’s support each game I went out on the mound.”
Also named to the All-CIF Division 4 team were Torrance’s Manny Olloque, and South Torrance’s Matt Mogollon and Drake Pingel.
Members of the All-CIF Division 3 team included Redondo shortstop Duncan McKinnon, Peninsula pitcher Eli Morgan and Serra utility player Marcus Wilson.
McKinnon helped Redondo reach the semifinals for the first time since 1988 with an improbable late-season run. The junior batted .407 with 33 runs scored and 10 stolen bases.
Boys Volleyball: Three long-time starters for Redondo Union’s powerful boys volleyball program capped off their high school careers as selections to the All-CIF Division 1 team.
Three-year starter Vinny Pizzuti and four-year starter Louis Richard also were named Co-MVPs of the Bay League while three-year starter Tyler Bird was selected the league’s Libero of the Year.
The trio helped the Sea Hawks (36-4) set a school record for wins and capture Redondo’s first Bay League championship since 2006. Coach Duncan Avery’s squad defeated Loyola and swept rival Mira Costa in a season where Redondo reached the semifinals in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs and the Southern California Regional Division 1 championships.
Both of the Sea Hawk’s post-season losses came to undefeated and National Champion Huntington Beach.
Mira Costa’s Connor Inlow was named the Bay League’s most Outstanding Player. The 6-foot-6 senior played opposite hitter, middle blocker and outside hitter while leading the Mustangs to a 22-9 record reaching the second round of the Division 1 playoffs.
Also named to the All-CIF Division 1 team were Loyola middle blocker Cole Paullin, of Manhattan Beach, and his teammate, outside hitter Hayden Boehle.
Division 2 selections included El Segundo middle blocker Eric Chance and South Torrance outside hitter Josh Riblett.
Bishop Montgomery setter Travis Pyrek and middle blocker Peter Sarmiento were named to the Division 4 team.
Selected to the Division 5 team were Vistamar outside hitter Alex Vernardos and Mary Star of the Sea setter Neven Skoblar.
Softball: A pair of sophomore pitchers represented the Bay League on the All-CIF Division 3 Softball team.
Bay League MVP Kat Ung helped Redondo Union win back-to-back league titles, reaching the second round of the playoffs. The southpaw posted a record of 15-5 with a 1.80 ERA. Ung had 112 strikeouts and only 46 walks in 128 1/3 innings. Opponents had a batting average of .178,
Ung helped herself at the plate, batting .410 with 13 RBI and 11 runs scored.
Most Outstanding Palos Verdes’ Steffi Best was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player after posting a 15-4 record and a 2.25 ERA. Best recorded 153 strikeouts and 56 walks in 140 2/3 innings in the circle.
Her batting average of .390, three home runs and 28 RBI helped the Sea Kings emerge from the wild-card round to reach the semifinals in the Division 3 playoffs before falling to eventual champion St. Paul.
The Pioneer League had three players named to the Division 3 team. North Torrance senior pitcher Sydni Overly League and El Segundo senior hurler McCall James were selected after sharing the Pioneer’s MVP award. Torrance sophomore infielder Katelyn Christian also earned All-CIF honors.