Game Notes: Foothill at College Park

Devon Rodriguez
N. California Scout

PLEASANT HILL, CA - Opening day for the Northern California 2019 season is upon us and the opening matchup was the battle of the Falcons. The College Park Falcons hosted the Foothill Falcons and it proved to be a one sided affair. Both coaches opened up with senior starters hoping to get their teams started off on the right foot. For College Park, right-hander ’19 Connor Sullivan took the ball and was great holding Foothill to 1 run through four innings. Opposite Sullivan, right-hander ’19 Josh Robinson got the ball for Foothill and was equally impressive giving up 1 run through three innings.

Second baseman ’20 Luke Novitske got Foothill on the board first with an RBI single in the second inning, taking advantage of a defensive miscue by College Park. College Park answered though in the bottom half, on an RBI single by left fielder ’19 Jordan Webb. The turning point in this game proved to be the top of the 5th inning. Coach Tarpley for College Park was looking to get one more inning out of Sullivan and he may have gambled just a bit too much. After recording the first out of the inning, the leadoff hitter for Foothill legged out an infield single. After that single, Foothill would send 11 hitters to the plate and score 7 runs, highlighted by a 2 run single by designated hitter '19 Joe Scalzo and another 2 run single by leadoff hitter ’20 Max Masajlo. That was all the Foothill Falcons would need as they closed out College Park with a final of 8-1. Foothill showed an impressive team wide approach and when they had a chance to break the game open they took full advantage. This team is scrappy and aggressive and will give opposing teams fits all year long with their style of play.

For College Park, they are going to need to swing the bats better in big situations if they want to succeed this year. They had Foothill’s starter on the ropes a few times,but couldn’t deliver the big hit. '19 Connor Sullivan, a College of San Mateo commit, was a bright spot for College Park, and although his final line was not pretty he showed the potential to be a guy the Falcons can rely on to keep them close in games.


’20 LHP Seungmin Shim (Foothill HS-Pleasanton): Uncommitted, but I don’t see that being the case for long. Talked to a Falcons assistant coach and he said Shim is being recruited by and has visits planned to Colombia and Harvard. On the mound Shim has the body and frame ideal for a pitcher, and as he fills out the velocity should only get better. Shim comes at hitters from a high 3/4 deceptive arm slot. He sat 83-84 T85 with ASR. Nothing he threw was straight and hitters did not look comfortable in the box against him. He also showcased short, hard slider at 74-75 and a slow loopy CB at 68. He got outs with all three pitches and threw them all for strikes. It was a brisk chilly day and I definitely think Shim has more velocity in the tank. This is a guy to watch closely as he could have a breakout year for Foothill.

’19 C/INF/RHP Matt Sugden R/R (Foothill): Sugden, an SF State commit, had a good day for the Falcons. He had two hits on the day, one being a double to deep center field. Sugden has an unorthodox setup and load, but knows where his barrel is at. Really uses his hands well, and I think if he could get into a better position with his legs he will unleash some power that may not show right now. Behind the plate, Sugden was 2.03-2.13 between innings. Quick transfer and release. Needs to keep working on footwork and receiving, but he handled all his pitchers well. Not the biggest body, but has broad shoulders and has plenty of room to put on some strength. Sugden is a guy who could be a top hitter in Northern California by the end of the season.

’20 INF Justin Durflinger R/R (Foothill HS-Pleasanton): Durflinger caught my eye during pre-game showcasing a big time arm. Ball really carried and he showed he could make all the plays. He also showed soft hands and good footwork. Overall was really smooth and looked the part at SS. Has a tall, lean body. Plenty of room to fill out, but has some present strength you can see. At the plate showed a good approach not swinging at pitches out of the zone. Would have liked to see him a bit more aggressive on pitches in the zone. Has a slightly open setup but gets to a good position to hit with his lower half. Upper body and his hands are stiff in his setup and load, but he showed the ability to turn on the baseball with a hit down the third baseline. This is a guy to follow closely this season as he could make a name for himself in Northern California this year.

’19 RHP Connor Sullivan R/R (College Park HS): Sullivan, a College of San Mateo commit,is a big body, who is long and lanky and looks imposing on the mound. He was solid for 4 innings, but got into trouble in the 5th inning. He was showcasing a FB that was 81-84 (T85), a breaking ball that was 69 and a change up that was between 76-77. A guy with this kind of build and stature you would like to see the velocity a bit higher and I definitely think Sullivan has more to offer. When this kid adds some significant weight and strength I think that is when he will make his biggest jump in velocity. His breaking ball was inconsistent and he needs to have better arm speed when he throws it. His change up was his best pitch and it showed good depth and some fade. When he needed a big pitch he would throw his change up and he would throw in right on right which shows his confidence in the pitch. Overall he pounded the zone and really competed and although his final line was not great I think he just got tired and started missing over the middle of the plate. Look for Sullivan to be the guy that College Park will lean on to get big wins this season.

’21 OF Primo Rodriguez L/L (College Park HS): Rodriguez is clearly a guy that Coach Tarpley thinks highly of as he was on varsity last year as a freshman. Rodriguez is not a guy that will pass the immediate eye test as he is not very tall and doesn’t stick out,however he is stocky and you can see has some strength already. He showed the ability to barrel the baseball consistently and had 3 quality at bats in the game. He burned the left fielder who underestimated his pop in one at bat, showing he will use the whole field to get hits. In the outfield he looked comfortable and made all the plays. He wasn’t tested much out there so the outfield play is something I would like to see more of. Rodriguez will also need to run better because he looks to be a gap to gap guy that will get on base at a high clip and wreak havoc on other teams. Rodriguez is definitely a young kid to keep an eye on in Northern California.


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