Well, it seemed like a GREAT idea on the surface... three games with three teams from Sonoma county taking on three teams from Contra Costa county (all from Diablo Foothill Athletic League), at one location. These three games were at Cardinal Newman HS and apparently, each year there is an agreement to rotate the games around. Next year it will take place at Campolindo HS (got that from talking to Campo head coach Max Luckhurst). I don't remember where he said the games were last year. In any case, I love the idea, as I know teams get tired of playing teams in their own region in non-conference action.
The three games this year were 10:00 Campolindo vs Cardinal Newman (Campo won 6-1); Game 2 Casa Grande vs Dublin (Dublin won 9-1) and Game 3 Acalanes vs Sonoma Valley (Acalanes won 17-1). Yes, that is a wipeout, a combined 32-3 in the three games and traditionally, Casa Grande and Cardinal Newman are two of the stronger teams from Sonoma County and in the North Bay in general. Not a good testament for the strength of Sonoma county this spring.
I left the last game when it was 13-0 but otherwise saw every inning and saw a lot of good players. Since I tend to get a bit wordy with game and player breakdowns, I think it will be best to just mention the players who drew my attention from each team. Afterall, the scores tell the story, the DFAL teams were MUCH better teams and much more physically talented teams.
RHP James Marvel (2012) - long and athletically built pitcher (also a good infielder/hitter) with good stuff, went 5.2 IP, ranged 85-90 mph (87-88 in 4th inning) and at times his curveball (which to me is a tilted slider) can be a wipeout pitch (76-79 mph), over the top slot, quick strong arm, uses a variation of the Lincecum delivery which is fine when he is on time but when the timing of the delivery is off, he loses the zone, he is a good enough athlete to make adjustments but most young pitchers are not going to be able to make that delivery work for them, it just takes such a high level of athleticism and body control for it to work because it is ALL about timing. I was told by Coach Luckhurst that Marvel has his recruiting decision down to two schools; Stanford and Duke.
SS/INF Josh Cushing (2012) - strong and pretty athletic infielder, played SS in this game but I think he plays 3B or 2B when Marvel is not pitching, strong arm across the diamond, good release, moves around pretty well, has some pop, does tend to get uphill with his swing, runs just ok but as a future 3B with some pop I don't think it will much of an issue (4.53 down the line, right side).
C Austin Rei (2012) - talented all-around catcher, can hit, has power, has above average arm, receives well, has on-field intangibles, excellent block and control skills, chance to be a special college player and play beyond that level someday, was the MVP of the conference as a sophomore (varsity), I believe he has already verballed to Oregon State. He hit the only home run at BAWS last year, which was a wood bat event.
CF Brett Stephens (2013) - good looking athlete and well above average high school player who will play major college baseball, quiet hitting approach, throws well, runs well (4.23 down line, left side), has a quick bat and short stroke, was on 89-90 mph from CN starter Jason Alexander, long battle type at-bat, could be a good lead-off or two-hole hitter.
2B Robbie Tenerowicz (2013) - has the look of a talented hitter who IS going to hit, sort of a "see ball hit ball" approach and there is life in his swing, going to fill out and develop some power down the road, type of hitter I describe as an athletic hitter, nice infield arm, does need to work on baserunning as he was picked off once and frankly he got picked on three different occasions but was called out just once.
RHP Jason Alexander (2011) - one of the more talented uncommitted seniors in Northern CA, loose strong arm, lanky projectable build, stuff has life particularly the fastball (86-90), can spin the breaking ball pretty well but it comes out pretty slurvy with sweep action (occasional quick break) and is not a pitch that will consistently start bats as it is, has a good pick-off move with quick feet, tends to drift through his delivery which causes some arm drag and inconsistent control, showed a 81-83 mph change-up with occasional feel, talented but still has lots of development ahead of him.
3B Steven Tomasin (2012) - strong physical young player, built like a running back, ran 4.28 down the line (right side) and showed some strength with the bat, not a "pretty" player but looks like his speed and physicallity have a chance to be strong assets for him.
LHP Robert Martinez (2011) - talented pitcher who combines decent stuff with good command, mound presence, moxie and feel and a highly competitive approach, good athletic body and nice arm action, will throw harder than his current 78-81 mph, has good slow curveball, strikethrower and pitch executor, arm action works well and body will fill out (5'10" 167).
C Scott Mitchell (2011) - good hitting catcher (L/R) with decent arm and catching skills, slashing all-field hitter with a little bit of pop, hands work well, can still fill out and get stronger, very solid college prospect if not a front line guy.
MIF Andrew Hobson (2013) - strong middle infielder (5'9" 165) with life in his bat (L/R) and a good infield arm, played SS early in the game (moved to 2B in back half of game) and I am told he played SS all last year as regular SS Joey Mello has been dealing with an arm issue for sometime now, like his aggressiveness at the plate (though he is too pull conscience right now), has bat speed and strength, arm is good across the diamond and his hands are solid as well.
OF Zach Crittenden (2013) - not the biggest kid (5'5" 150, L/L) but he has something there with the bat, quick bat, nice stroke, even showed a little pull pop, runs well (4.22 down line) and he hits up near the top of the order for Dublin.
C Francis Christy (2013) - profiles very well on paper at 6'3" 195 and L/R, showed some carry type power to the pull side, also showed good 2K approach with cut down oppo stroke, hits with pretty quiet approach and keeps a nice soft front side, arm works well and easily, feet work even better, exchange is good, chance to be consistent 1.95-2.00 thrower, blocks ok too, takes time on throws so he tends to be accurate.
RHP Anthony Bender (2013) - deserves special mention for a couple of reasons, at 6'2" 185 and only a soph he has a chance to keep coming on in terms of velocity (77-80 now) but aside from that, last week he got the short end of a 1-0 loss to Serra HS and in this game he had two outs in the 1st only to see the left fielder drop a routine fly ball for the 3rd out, then the floodgates opened and eventually gave up an 8 spot in the top of the 1st, he stayed in the game and pitched very well after that and by keeping his composure and continuing to compete (especially against a good lefthanded dominant line-up) he impressed me. If and when the stuff comes around, I won't have any doubt about his competitive make-up.
Acalanes - like Campolindo, this is a team loaded with young talent
3B/INF A.J. Welsh (2013) - not the biggest kid but a talented and skilled young player, excellent defensive mechanics and natural actions, good arm, good hands, plays with confidence, good hitter (hits in 3-hole) and has no trouble getting his swing off, aggressive to pitches in his zone, strong pull side contact, hits with balance, looks to be able to do a lot on the field, could eventually be a very strong SS or 2B, good player.
SS Evan Heptig (2011) - strong armed SS who plays defense with some energy, good range too, chance to hit but his defense is what stands out, was told that he has committed to UC Davis.
2B Connor Hornsby (2012) - energetic player with a chance to be a good hitter and contributor at the college level, has the "college ballplayer" type of presence in terms of tenacity and down and dirty approach, just seems like he wants to be on the field, has bat speed and strength but can get better at letting the ball travel and using the whole field, ran 4.29 down the line on a groundball (right side).
OF Grant Diede (2012) - strong and physically put together young man, strength shows up with his bat and he also has a strong outfield arm, can hammer and jump on mistakes and is strong enough to do damage, tends to hit with a bit of an over-aggressive/strong grip, would find more life and fluidity in his swing if he relaxed the grip, chance to be a good corner outfielder at college level.
C Tommy Beritzhoff (2011) - lanky and thin frame but loose and agile body, arm works well, good receiver, blocks well, throws well, arm will be at least average at D1 level, feet are quick and has a chance to be a 1.95-1.90 thrower, bat is a little light but he still needs to gain size and strength.
LHP/1B Spencer Henderson (2012) - command/feel type of LHP, stuff has not come on as much since last June as I thought it might (77-80 on Saturday) but he can mix his pitches well and his arm/body work well enough to believe the velocity spike will come someday, did a nice job at plate and his bat might overtake his pitching, good all-field approach and seems to have some feel in the box, good frame and nice L/L profile.
CF Kevin Deely (2011) - L/L centerfielder who can run, throws well and has some bat speed, athletic 5'10" 175 body type, can improve routes in the outfield, like the overall profile and if the bat can come on a bit, he could a nice hidden gem for some college program, can see him going the JC route and developing into an outstanding player, does have tools.
SS Chris Swanson (2012) - chance to be a solid everyday shortstop based on his defensive ability, light feet and has some range, athletic kid and can play on the move, ran 4.25 down the line (right side), still developing the bat but is a good enough athlete to believe it will come, not a slam dunk college prospect but does enough well and at 6'0" 170 he has the body type of a player, not to mention he is the team captain as a junior, always a good sign.