Royce Clayton Jr. has come a long way since his time in the Malibu Little League. Still, the 18-year-old baseball player remembers hitting for big hits as a preteen at Malibu Bluffs Park.

“Winning a lot of championships was fun,” said Clayton, who was a member of multiple MLL title teams. “Playing baseball and going to all-star games with my friends was fun.”

Now Clayton, who helped the Oaks Christian Lions baseball team win a CIF title in the spring, is ready to take his bat and glove to the next level. After some thought, the 2022 high school graduate has decided to join the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on the college diamond next season.

Clayton said the main reasons he signed up for the Rainbow Warriors team were his relationship with Hawaii head coach Rich Hill and the school’s proximity to the ocean.

“I wanted to go somewhere near the beach,” he said. “I landed in Hawaii because it’s fun there.”

Clayton Jr. said he chose Hawaii over schools such as Concordia, Loyola Marymount and Point Loma Nazarene. He joins a team that finished the 2022 season with a 28-24 record.

The outfielder said the Rainbow Warriors are recruiting a player who works tirelessly on his game to improve.

In fact, Clayton is already preparing for college baseball. He took the plate for the California Cage Rats in the Sunset Baseball League, a league that includes some of Southern California’s top amateur players.

Clayton said he struggled in his first match in SBL, but adapted to the competition. He hopes to play as many games as possible before heading to Hawaii later this month or early August.

“Playing with the college guys was pretty cool,” Clayton noted. “It will definitely help me to approach next year.”

Clayton had a .248 batting average with 27 hits, 14 RBIs, 24 runs and a .336 on-base percentage in the Lions’ 35-game season according to

Oaks Christian defeated the La Quinta Blackhawks to win the CIF South Division Baseball Division 3 Championship on May 21. The Lions were defeated by the Newport Harbor Mariners in the CIF SoCal Division Baseball Championships Championship Game on June 4.

Clayton’s younger brother, Elijah Clayton, is a standout Lions player, and their father, former Major League Baseball player Royce Clayton Sr., is Oaks Christian’s head coach.

Young Clayton said winning a CIF Championship and finishing second in a second CIF tournament on the same list as his family and friends was incredible.

“Playing with all of them was fun,” he said. “Obviously it was a lot of work to get to the championship, but we all came together and had a goal in mind. That’s what we wanted to do. »

Clayton made big plays in both CIF postseason shows. He hit a two-run homer to break a tie in the Lions’ 8-6 win over Rio Mesa in the first round of the South Section playoffs. In Oaks Christian’s 4-2 win over Grossmont in the state playoff semifinals, Clayton suffered a major bunt.

Clayton describes himself more as a defensive player than an offensive player. He wants to do whatever it takes to help his team win.

“I’m a big team guy,” he said. “I can always help my team in defense. Eventually, your bat will flip over if you’re having trouble at the plate. At least that’s what I believe. Some days you will be out; some days you won’t. However, I always try to do something to help the team.

Clayton is an avid baseball player, but has also played basketball, flag football and soccer in the past. He still plays football with his friends once or twice a month.

He is always looking to improve in the sport he loves.

“I will continue to work hard,” said Clayton Jr.

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