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An early contender for baseball catch of the year

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Major League Baseball may still be in the midst of spring training, but high school programs are playing games that count in a variety of states across the country. One of the first states to inaugurate the 2011 season was California, and fittingly, one of the first legitimate contenders for "play of the year" comes from the Golden State.

The outfielder pulling in the miraculous catch you see above is Lake Forest (Calif.) El Toro right fielder Mitchell Tolman, who snagged the dramatic out during El Toro's 4-3 loss to Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison. Tolman got a great jump on a looping drive off the bat of Edison's Christian Lopes, but clearly wasn't going to make it in time for a potentially game-changing out.

That's when Tolman channeled Superman, flying headfirst for the grab, pulling it in and swiveling to fire back in to first in an attempt at a double play. The off-balance throw dribbled in and failed to complete the double play, but one would be hard pressed to place any fault for that on Tolman.

While the spectacular grab wasn't enough to earn El Toro a win in the first game against Edison, he just might have provided inspiration for his Chargers teammates, who rallied to win the second game of a Tuesday doubleheader, 5-1, behind an impressive outing from pitcher Garrett Mundell.

It's far too early to call this the "play of the year," but it's definitely one that will be in the conversation come June. Until then, it serves as a fond reminder of some of the best of what we all have in store in the months to come.

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