Early signing day: Pitcher Anthony Joya of Banning fulfills dream by signing with Cal State Fullerton



Anthony Joya Jr., the top returning pitcher in the City Section from Wilmington Banning, celebrated Wednesday’s early signing day by signing with Cal State Fullerton.

“I’m really excited to become a Titan,” he said. “There was times it was challenging, but it was my mom and dad who supported me. It was always pushing forward. I broke through a lot of walls to get to college. I have to keep my grades up and make sure I’m on the field doing well.”

Sometimes there are people who like to put down City Section athletes, saying they don’t get recruited, but Joya said it’s all about the individual.

“It’s all on you,” said the senior left-hander who had 131 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings as a sophomore. “It’s what your heart desires. I had my dream since I was a little kid. It’s incredible how much I’ve grown. There were times we lost games. There were times I had good games. Baseball is a game, but it teaches you about life. There’s always going to be ups and downs.”

In basketball, Chaminade’s senior guard duo of Keith Higgins Jr. and Kenneth Simpson Jr. signed with Lehigh and Arizona, respectively. They’ve been best friends since middle school and have pushed each other since they arrived at the West Hills campus as freshmen.

Guard Malik Thomas from Damien signed with USC.

Paige Sommers of Westlake, the No. 1 girls’ pole vaulter in the nation, signed with Duke.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame had nine signees, including pitcher Jack Snyder (Texas Tech), volleyball player Nicholas Tidik (volleyball) and girls’ soccer player Riley Goossen-Brown (CSUN).

A look around the Southland via social media:





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