Cody Decker, who enjoyed an outstanding senior season for Ocean League baseball champion Santa Monica High, has signed a letter of intent with UCLA.
Although full scholarships are rare in college baseball because of NCAA regulations, the letter of intent means some financial aid will be provided.
Decker and his parents had a favorable meeting with UCLA coaches and an academic representative several weeks ago. Since then, it has appeared the Bruins would be his choice.
The signing was confirmed to The Mirror by the UCLA Sports Information Office, which is expected to announce a list of signees soon.
UCLA is in need of baseball talent following a dismal season. The Bruins had a 19-game losing streak and won only four of 21 conference games.
Early in the recruiting process, USC showed considerable interest in Decker. But as time passed, the fit with UCLA grew more apparent.
Decker hit 11 home runs, just one less than the leader in the entire CIF, and drove in 37 runs, despite being walked 36 times. His hitting drew the attention of scouts as did the Vikings’ success. The team went 20-10 and won a first round playoff game over Lompoc before losing to El Segundo.
It was Decker’s first season as a catcher and he has much room for growth there. He previously played third base for Samohi.
Decker was the focus of every opponent’s game plan. They frequently walked him intentionally, but Samohi coach Kevin Brockway brought up sophomore Dylan Early from the junior varsity and began inserting sophomore Mike Schwartz into the lineup. Schwartz usually batted behind Decker and took advantage of RBI opportunities as the Vikings’ victories mounted.
In college Decker is more likely to be part of a solid lineup and pitchers would have to face him rather than walking him.
Decker and several Samohi teammates are considering playing for the Santa Monica American Legion baseball team this summer. Brockway will be the coach, replacing long-time mentor Billy Keep, who has moved to Royal High.
American Legion games are played at Jackie Robinson Stadium on the westside. That is also UCLA’s home field.Besides his exploits in baseball Decker will have other fond memories of Samohi, where he displayed his ability as an actor. He had a starring role during his senior season in “The Music Man.’’ One Saturday morning, he played in a game that went into extra innings, then performed the play in a matinee that afternoon.