Last Saturday night I saw the CCS D1 final between Valley Christian and San Benito. Valley Christian won, 3-1, behind a no-hitter from senior RHP Cameron Stewart. They scored three runs in the first before San Benito settled down and from then on it was a pretty tight contest.
Stewart is a tall pitcher, around 6'8" I believe. He was at BAWS 2011 and I want to say he was up to 87 mph in his outing there. I did not have a radar gun on him in this game but he was solidly in the mid-80s and mixed in a nice breaking ball. He located at the knees, got a few punchouts but mostly just threw strikes and let his defense work. The umpire had a pitcher-friendly zone, particularly for low and away breaking balls to right-handed hitters and both teams took advantage of that zone. Stewart was composed, never got caught up in the moment and seemed very in control of himself. He is headed to Fresno State in the fall.
Other players I liked in this game were San Benito catcher Jacob Tonascia and their lead-off hitter, centerfielder Josh George. Tonascia is a big kid with a good arm and presence in the box. He had the best at-bats against Stewart and made him throw a lot of pitches. In the first after George reached on an error, he made his way to third base with one out. Tonascia battled, fouled off some tough pitches, and drove in the run with a ground ball to second base. It was a great RBI at-bat and approach. He has a pretty short stroke for a big kid and I have seen his raw power, displayed on a home run at Santa Clara U last year at BAWS 2011.
Tonascia threw some between inning throws to second base in the 2.00 range, one was 2.02 and another was 1.97. He showed good feel for receiving and worked VERY hard at blocking balls in the dirt all night long. He seems to have all we are looking for in a backstop, arm strength, work ethic, power with the bat, and soft/strong receiving hands with good receiving technique.
As for George, he runs well (4.29 down the line) and hits from the left side. He showed a short, flat, line-drive type stroke and I really like the way he ran the bases. His overall approach and style of play reminded me of former Monterey HS star and current Santa Clara centerfielder Lucas Herbst. Good player.
For Valley Christian, they have some good young players, in particular sophomore shortstop Bryson Brigman. He has a lively swing and good approach and should be a safe bet to hit for average and some extra base power at the college level. He played well at shortstop and as long as he develops a good quick release, he could stay there in college. I have seen him hit before and that is his calling card at the college level.