West Ranch baseball’s Gordon chooses Oregon; Valencia’s Marquez switches to Cougars

RJ Gordon with his mom Staycee. Photo courtesy of RJ Gordon
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RJ Gordon was 9 years old when he realized that he wanted to take baseball seriously. At the time, he was playing for VSA Vipers (now TB Vipers) and was traveling around the country for games.

When Gordon, a senior at West Ranch, committed to the University of Oregon on Friday, he credited his time with the Vipers and coach Scott Switalla as one of the main things that prepared him for high school baseball and the recruiting process.

“Playing with (Vipers) and going to Florida and seeing I can compete at a competitive level, I went on through middle school, high school and now college,” he said.

He took his official visit to Oregon during the second weekend in September and toured the campus and baseball facilities and also went to a football game. Gordon was impressed with it all, but his parents had to like the school, too.

“Super important,” Gordon said of his family’s involvement in recruiting. “I wanted to make sure regardless of what school it was; when we went on visits that they come. It’s just another opinion, a different side of the school so with Oregon they gave me their thoughts and kind of just came down to that would be the best fit.”

Gordon received offers from Loyola Marymount University, the University of Hawaii and the University of California, Berkeley, but said that the program’s division was only a small factor in his decision-making process.

He said he was confident that he would be able to have a solid career in college baseball at any school that would hopefully get him to a professional baseball career.

“Regardless of colleges, if you’re good enough, you’re going to get seen,” he said.

Gordon joined the West Ranch baseball team over the summer after transferring in from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. In his junior year at Notre Dame, he hit .298/.459/.385 with 13 RBIs, two doubles and one home run.

He began to take a leadership role during summer baseball and hopes to expand that role as the Wildcats contend for a Foothill League title this season after finishing as runner-up to Valencia last year.

“I’m trying to take on that leadership role and be the best that day instead of worrying about the next game or the game before,” he said. “Focus on whoever we play and beat them every inning, every out.”

Jakob Marquez decommits from Arizona, chooses Washington State

Valencia catcher Jakob Marquez committed to Washington State on Tuesday night after previously being committed to the University of Arizona.

“Washington State was just a better fit for me,” Marquez said. “It was a great opportunity and I went on a visit there just to explore options and I fell in love with the campus, the coaching staff and the overall vibe.”

Jakob Marquez decided that Washington State would be a better fit for him than Arizona. Photo courtesy Jakob Marquez.

He visited Washington State’s campus the weekend of Sept. 18 and was able to see UCLA football’s 67-63 comeback win over the Cougars, which was “one of the most electric” football games Marquez said he’s ever seen.

Marquez is in his senior year at Valencia after attending and playing at Hart for his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. He was able to play summer baseball with the Vikings prior to the start of the current school year.

“It has been pretty busy the last couple months from the transfer to Valencia and this whole thing with the recruiting process, but it was a good experience for me because it taught me a lot,” he said. “I had my family to fall back on and especially my dad, he has been the most supportive out of anyone in this process and I could not have been where I am today without him.”

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