Fresno Easter Classic - Championship Game

PBR California Staff

FRESNO, CA - The championship game of the 50th edition of the Fresno Easter Classic was played at Clovis West HS on 4/17/19. Two 3-0 teams were matched up, based on the formulas created by the tournament committee, which identified Clovis HS and Buhach Colony HS as the two teams to compete for the title. Buhach won the game by a 9-1 score and went 4-0 for the tourney, giving up only three total runs.

We (PBR California) have many choices in regard to which tournaments we scout and support. The Fresno Easter Classic is one of the nation's top tournaments and in the state of California, it's renowned for both it's longevity, but also the great sense of community pride and love/support of high school baseball. The tournament committee, spearheaded by Fresno HS head coach Jason Papi, whole-heartedly welcomed us, starting with an invitation and recognition/introduction at the Sunday night coach's dinner. We look forward to coming back and developing a long lasting relationship with the Fresno Easter Classic and the baseball community of Fresno and the greater Fresno area/Central Valley.

In the coming days/week we will have more content from the Fresno Easter Classic, stay tuned.

As for the championship game, 2019 RHP Alex Kendrick (Fresno State signee) was just about the entire story. He came out firing for Buhach Colony, with a fastball at 90-91 mph and he never backed off. Kendrick threw a complete game, with 7 K, BB, 4 H (only one hard hit ball). He was up to 92 in the 5th inning and still at 91 mph in the 7th inning. He mixed in a handful of change-ups but otherwise it was ALL fastballs, in, out, up, down, with lots of life and movement. He was aggressive and energetic and yet calm all at the same time and his team fed of that. Clovis had run through most of it's better pitching in route to this game and just didn't have enough to hold off The Thunder. For good measure, Kendrick hit in the top third of the line-up and went 1-for-2, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB. It was simply his night. Here is a glimpse of what we saw from Kendrick...

Buhach had a big night with the bats, collecting 11 hits as a team. Some notables from the box score:

2019 Brendan Ekizian - 2-for-4, R, 3 RBI

2019 Brandon Ruiz - 2-for-3, R, RBI, BB

2019 Dhelahn Tilghman - 1-for-4, 2 R, RBI

2020 Antonio Cortez - 2-for-3, R, BB

2021 Kadon Floro - 1-for-1, R, RBI, BB

2019 R.J. Garcia - 0-for-2, R, RBI, 2 BB

It was a tough game for the Clovis HS hitters, but 2020 INF/P Noah Beal was very impressive. We saw him pitch a gem vs Jesuit earlier in the tourney and in this one, the left-hand hitting Beal went 2-for-3 and scored the lone Clovis run.

All-Tournament Team (selected by tournament committee)

Outstanding Pitcher - 2021 RHP/3B Jake Sapien, Buhach Colony HS

Outstanding Pitcher - 2019 RHP Alex Kendrick, Buhach Colony HS (Fresno State)

Outstanding Players:

2019 INF/RHP Kade Sheedy, Stockdale HS (Cal Poly)

2020 OF/P Josh Allison, Edison HS

2021 OF/RHP Tanner Sagouspe, San Joaquin Memorial HS

2019 INF Karson Simas, Clovis West HS

2019 C/OF Darrien Miller, Clovis HS (New Mexico)

2019 OF Brendan Ekizian, Buhach Colony HS

One of the highlights of the tournament came on that Sunday night, when Ken Papi, long time and legendary Fresno HS head coach, was presented with the Golden Bat Award. Coach Papi spent 42 years teaching at Fresno HS, spent 25 years at the athletic director and 49 years coaching baseball at the school, 38 years as head coach. He currently assists his son Jason. His career accomplishments are illustrious, including running the tournament for 45 years.

Coach Papi took this tournament from an 8-team tournament and turned it into one of the biggest in the state, where it has grown to as many as 38 participants over the years. Over the years he humbly refused to accept the Golden Bat Award, but on the 50th anniversary of this great event, the committee decided that his time to accept the award was way past due. In a moving presentation, Coach Papi accepted the award from his son Jason and the week was off to a great start.


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