Sports

TRINITY LEAGUE ATHLETES LEAD THE CHARGE POST-HIGH SCHOOL

JSERRA’S SAM COHEN LIFTS UC SANTA BARBARA

By Dan Arritt     3/8/2017

College baseball rosters have been finalized and the season is well underway.

As usual, players who developed and polished their games in the Trinity League are making a big impact on some of the best teams in the nation.

Last season it was JSerra graduate Sam Cohen who received national attention when he slammed a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam off one of the best relief pitchers in the country to lift UC Santa Barbara into the College World Series.

Cohen is back for his sophomore year at Santa Barbara and the Gauchos entered the season ranked No. 23 in the nation in USA Today’s preseason coaches’ poll.

The former Trinity League player that’s receiving the most attention this season is UCLA pitcher Griffin Canning, a 2014 graduate of Santa Margarita High School who entered his junior season at UCLA ranked by MLB.com as the 39th-best prospect for the upcoming major league draft.

That’s a lot to think about over the next three months, but Canning seems prepared.

“I’m not too worried about it,” Canning said of the draft “It’s going to take care of itself. I’ve handled all the stuff already in terms of talking to the scouts. Now it’s just my time to play baseball and put that all behind me.”

Canning left Santa Margarita in style, allowing two hits and striking out 11 in his final high school game, a 3-1 victory against Foothill in the CIF-SS Division 1 championship game at Dodger Stadium.

He has plenty of company from the Trinity League.

JSerra graduate Jake Pries appeared in 29 games for UCLA last season, starting 11 as designated hitter and hitting .209 with two runs and three RBIs. He led the team with 18 pinch-hit appearances, batting .308 in those plate appearances.

Chase Strumpf also came to Westwood from JSerra and the former four-year starting shortstop for the Lions was the opening-game starter at second base for the Bruins.

Curtis Godin is the fourth player from the Trinity League on the UCLA roster, but he didn’t come to the Bruins as a baseball player. Godin was a state champion in the 100 and 200 meters at Mater Dei his senior year in 2014 and came to UCLA on a track and field scholarship.

Godin has since given track and joined the baseball team, a sport he gave up for track after his sophomore year at Mater Dei.

USC will also be represented by players from Mater Dei and JSerra.

Mater Dei graduate Brandon Perez started 21 games at shortstop for the Trojans last season and has been their primary designated hitter at the start of this season. Brady Shockey graduated from JSerra last June and was USC’s starting right-fielder the first four games and hit .357 in that span.

Another JSerra graduate, right-handed pitcher Quentin Longrie, expects to be one of USC’s primary relief pitchers after appearing in five games as a freshman last season.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, two pitchers from Servite are expected to play a big role for Arizona, which came into the season ranked No. 15 by USA Today.

Steve Romo spent the 2016 season at East LA College, where he posted a 1.58 ERA in 68 1/3 innings. He pitched two innings in the season opener for Arizona and helped the Wildcats shut out Eastern Kentucky, 6-0.

Michael Flynn pitched 15 2/3 innings as a freshman for Arizona last season, holding opposing batters to a .228 average.

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