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Season Preview: La Mirada Matadores


Ryan Ozella
California Area Scout

With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California, we have begun rolling out team previews from around the state. Today we focus on the La Mirada Matadores. The Matadores have an elite pitchng staff and the depth to handle a run in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs. The #2 team in our Power 25 rankings, La Mirada looks to make it a special 2019

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Team: La Mirada

Nickname: Matadores

Section: Southern Section, Division 1

League: Suburban 

Head Coach/Years at school: Jimmy Zurn (16th season/5th as head coach)

Team Twitter Handle: @LMBaseball2019

2018 Overall Record: 26-4-1 (12-0, 1st Place in League)

2018 Postseason Finish: 2nd round loss to Etiwanda in D1 Playoffs

Number of Returning Starters: 8

Number of Returning Pitchers: 5

Top Returning Players:

‘20 RHP/OF Jared Jones, ‘19 C Darius Perry, ‘20 RHP/C Emilio Morales, ‘20 3B Eugene Jeon

Other Players to Know:

‘19 INF Caleb Jung, ‘19 LHP Ryan Hernandez, ‘20 INF Jimmy Blumberg, ‘20 RHP/3B Michael DeHaro, ‘20 RHP Memo Pacheco, ‘20 2B Dominic Martinez, ‘21 MIF Isaiah Lopez Del Haro, ‘21 RHP Christian Gutierrez, ‘21 LHP Vincent Segovia, ‘22 SS Noah Rodriguez, ‘22 C Andrew Pyle, ‘22 OF/RHP Darian Choi, ‘22 RHP Cortes Amador

College Commitments:

‘19 C Darius Perry - UCLA, ‘19 INF Caleb Jung - Colby College, ‘20 RHP/OF Jared Jones - USC, ‘20 RHP/C Emilio Morales - USC, ‘20 3B Eugene Jeon - UCSB, ‘20 INF Jimmy Blumberg - LB State, ‘20 RHP/3B Michael DeHaro - LB State, ‘21 MIF Isaiah Lopez Del Haro - Wagner

2019 Outlook:

The La Mirada Matadores are coming off a great 2018 season that saw them go 26-4-1 while finishing a perfect 12-0 in the Suburban League on the way to a League Title and a berth into the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs. A second-round loss to Etiwanda has left a bitter taste in the Matadores' mouth and they are hungry to remove that bitterness in 2019. Loaded with a roster that is filled with depth and experience, La Mirada has high expectations starting the year as the #2 team in the California Power 25 Rankings.

The road to redemption isn’t an easy one for La Mirada. Their schedule will see the Matadores face stiff competition inside the state and nationally as they head to Cary, North Carolina for the National High School Invitational. Early on, the Matadores will be tested starting the season off with two-games against a talented Servite team before playing four games in the Loara Tournament. A double-header at Blair Field against Lakewood will be another challenge before La Mirada enters Suburban League play against Bellflower and Mayfair looking to retain their title. The Boras Classic will see the Matadores face some of the best in California. That’s a heavy-handed schedule that will challenge La Mirada and let them know if a run through the Division 1 playoffs is a reality.

With the amount of talent on this roster, don’t expect the Matadores to go quietly. They’ve got eight college commits and a group of players that should add to that number through the season. The talented roster starts with a deep and experienced pitching staff led by the #1 player in the ‘20 class, RHP/OF Jared Jones. Jones, a USC commit, is an elite two-way prospect working 92-94 and touching 97 with a wipeout slider and above-average curveball. He was the ace of the staff in 2018 and looks to continue his dominance of California hitters for the next two seasons. He’s followed up by ‘20 RHP/C Emilio Morales, another USC commit and two-way threat for the Matadores. Morales works in the upper 80’s with his FB and has a plus changeup to keep hitters off-balance, hopping behind the plate during other games in a week and showing strong skills there as well. That 1-2 punch is as good as any in the state and is supported by a key group who will be asked to fill roles. ‘19 LHP Ryan Hernandez, ‘20 RHP Michael DeHaro, and ‘20 RHP Memo Pacheco are all big arms that will need to come in and lock down innings in support getting key outs when called upon. ‘21 RHP Christian Gutierrez, ‘21 LHP Vincent Segovia, and ‘22 RHP Cortes Amador are a group of underclassman that will get a chance to grow in 2019 and if they take major steps will be the next crop of big pitchers to come out of the La Mirada program.

For the Matadores to reach their end goal, they will need their offense to find consistency and give their starting pitchers support. If this offense can get leads early, watch out, because with those arms on the mound late inning runs are going to be hard to come by. The offense is led by ‘19 C Darius Perry, a UCLA commit, and one of the top catchers in the State. Perry is a physical body showing an extra-base bat from the right side and a cannon behind the plate that will cut down opposing teams run game. ‘19 INF Caleb Jung, a Colby College commit, and ‘20 3B Eugene Jeon, a UCSB commit, will lengthen the lineup and provide additional pop in the middle of the order. ‘20 INF Jimmy Blumberg, a Long Beach State commit, and ‘21 MIF Isaiah Lopez Del Haro, a Wagner commit, should be able to get on base and score lots of runs with the depth of hitters hitting behind them. That lineup also includes Jones and Morales and if this offense gets hot, opposing pitchers will be in for serious trouble.

La Mirada has the talent, depth, and experience to make this a magical season. With a pitching staff that includes multiple big arms and a deep lineup, the only thing the Matadores have to worry about is consistently going out and performing to their best ability. This is the type of team that you don’t want to catch when they are hot because if all parts are clicking, the Matadores are going to be holding a CIF Division 1 title.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Solano-Sac Junior Future Games Trials CA 02/24 Vacaville Christian HS
SoCal Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/09 O'Malley Field - Harvard Westlake
East Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/24 Athenian School - Danville
South Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/14 Archbishop Mitty HS - San Jose
North Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/28 Clyde P. Smith Field - Cardinal Newman HS
Northern California Future Games Trials CA 05/26 Islanders Field - Lathrop
SoCal ProCase CA 06/08 Hart Park


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