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The San Fernando Valley and surrounding area is loaded with high school baseball talent. As the 2023 spring season gets underway, the Daily News will look at the best players to watch on the field, from the mound and at the plate.
Be on the lookout for lists that highlight the area’s best pitchers, infielders, outfielders and hitters.
Some of the area’s best players from last season return to make noise this spring.
Saugus’ Zach Plasschaert is an Arizona commit that plays first base, third base and can play in the outfield. The 6-foot-4 athlete batted .350 as a junior last year in the Foothill League. Hart junior Brayden Jefferis is sure to wow fans at least once a game with an eye-popping play at shortstop. Jefferis has tremendous flair in his game, making plays like Derek Jeter.
West Ranch’s top infielder is senior Josef Brosche. Castaic senior Aaron Gonzalez is a third baseman that batted .443 and had 31 hits for the Coyotes. Valencia’s top infielders are Lance Mittleman at third base and Evan Jaquez at shortstop.
In the Marmonte League, sophomore Matthew Witkow returns at third base after being named the Daily News Freshman of the Year last season. Teammate Nate Castellon is a standout junior at shortstop. Westlake’s Nolan and Nate Johnson (twins) play up the middle for the Warriors. Nolan is the catcher and Nate plays shortstop. Newbury Park senior Derek Turner will command the infield for the Panthers.
In the Mission League, Sierra Canyon will lean on a duo of seniors Kehden Hettiger, who will play catcher and first base, and Omar Cisneros at shortstop. St. Francis’ first-year coach Shaun Kort inherits young, promising infielders in junior Holden Dietch and sophomore Jordan Lewallen. Notre Dame’s Madden Ocko is at first base, Greg Pierantani is at shortstop and Levi Sterling is at the hot corner.
Harvard-Westlake’s Bryce Rainer is one of the nation’s top prospects (when he’s not pitching) at third base, and accompanied by Kai Caranto at shortstop and second baseman Owen Carlson. Alemany’s Andrew Garcia is at shortstop and first baseman Jarrett Segura provides a big bat for the Warriors. Crespi’s Chris Arce and Loyola’s Adam Magpoc are atop the league’s top shortstops.
Chaminade’s Miles Ghossein is at third base and Vinny Van der Well will play shortstop.
In the City Section, Birmingham’s Vince Cervantes is at shorstop. Cleveland senior Matthew Chasek is one of the top shortstops in the West Valley League. Granada Hills senior shortstop Miles Ortiz and senior Andrew Cuervo at first base will look to lead the Highlanders.
Quartz Hill’s Logan Reddemann will play a big role defensively, playing shortstop and pitching. Agoura senior shortstop Joey Blank will anchor the Chargers’ defense.
Oaks Christian’s Elijah Clayton, Calabasas’ Phoenix Call and Agoura’s Will Michelman are returning All-Area Daily News outfielders that don’t just cover ground well, but hit well, too.
West Ranch’s Ty DePerno, who helped lead the school’s football team to its first-ever Foothill League title, will be a leader for the Wildcats in the outfield. Castaic’s Joji Sakata is a returning All-Foothill League player
Sierra Canyon’s Grant Werdesheim, Notre Dame speedster Dean West, headed to UCLA, Harvard-Westlake’s Will Gasparino, Chaminade’s Tyler Garcia, and Crespi’s Ethan Kodama will be headline a crop of super-talented centerfielders in the Mission League.
El Camino Real senior Jacob Rosenfeld will play first base and outfield for the Royals. Simi Valley’s Aiden Nykoluk is at centerfield and Moorpark’s Happy Edwards is a top player in the Musketeers’ outfield.