San Pedro, Mary Star and Port Of Los Angeles High baseball are all looking to make 2018 their year.
In the past, San Pedro won the CIF-Los Angeles City Section championship in 1992, and it remains to this day, the only non-San Fernando Valley based City title in the last four decades dating back to 1974. Mary Star reached a CIF-Southern Section final back in 2002, while Port Of Los Angeles won their first CIF-LACS crown in 2014, nearly going back-to-back in 2015.
Going into the 2018 campaign for the three schools, San Pedro again appears to be the top team to watch after last year's Marine League championship run and CIF-LACS Division 1 quarterfinals berth, but Mary Star and POLA both show promise as well. Here's a look at all three teams so you'll know what to expect this Spring.
SAN PEDRO (18-15-1 in 2017) - Steve Tedesco enters his fourth year as head coach for San Pedro, who had an emotionally driven 2017 season in which the Pirates shook off a rough start to capture the Marine League title for the first time in five years, going 9-1 and made a run to the CIF-LACS Division 1 quarterfinals, where it lost by one run to El Camino Real of Woodland Hills.
The Pirates return tremendous talent featuring the likes of seniors Kai Kaneshiro, Matthew Marquez, Ryan Samudio and Daniel Lopez, along with talented sophomores Josh Duarte and Travis Connelly. Jake Harper and Cain Lusic will look to make some noise as freshmen for San Pedro.
Banning, Narbonne and Carson, three well coached teams, will all look to unseat San Pedro atop the Marine League throne.
MARY STAR (12-15 in 2017) - Rick Ibarra enters his third season in his second term as coach for the Stars, who missed the CIF-Southern Section playoffs last season after going 3-9 in the Camino Real League.
Top returning players for the Stars includes junior OF/INF/P Joe James, sophomore utility player Marco Ibarra who is another excellent pitcher, junior INF/P Ryne Lina, junior OF/INF/P Nathan Trudnich and senior C/1B Mo Magno. Keep an eye out though for Banning transfer, junior infielder Andy Vega who has excellent power at the plate.
POLA (7-13 in 2017) - Co-coaches Brian and Dennis Emerson will try to get the Polar Bears back to respectability after last year's rocky first year in the Coliseum League, where they went 5-5 and tied for third place with Fremont of Los Angeles, as Locke of Los Angeles had a perfect 10-0 league run.
POLA also had their earliest exit in the CIF-LACS playoffs ever when it lost in the first round to eventual Division 3 champion Valley Academy Of Arts & Sciences of Granada Hills.
The 2018 Polar Bears will be paced by the likes of senior INF/P Dylan Renn, sophomore catcher Anthony D'Anna, junior 1B/P Justin Bales and senior INF/P/C Nick Skrumbis, but incoming freshman CF/P Rudy Rios has been a key contributor in the early part of the season thus far for POLA, who will play in its final year of the Coliseum League due to the new CIF-LACS realignment that will begin in the Fall of 2018.