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NCS D1 Championship (CA): Heritage vs #2 De La Salle


Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

NOTE: This is a game recap from 5/25/19, any scouting notes/stats/extended videos for players from this game can be found within their profiles if applicable.

PLEASANT HILL, CA – De La Salle entered the game on a 27 game winning streak. In fact, I observed their only loss of the season, in game #2 at St. Francis, and in this game, a 10-1 win, I was on hand for their last win of a historic season. De La Salle has now won four straight CIF-NCS D1 championships, an incredible achievement.

They took on the Heritage Patriots, who made their first ever appearance in an NCS D1 final. Heritage has developed into one of the more consistently good programs in the East Bay, regularly turning out D1 players and other college caliber talents. They were IN this game through two and a half innings, heading to the bottom of the 3rd inning with a 1-0 lead. It was ALL De La Salle from there.

We've covered De La Salle plenty this season and this was the second time we saw Heritage in the last few weeks, so we've become familiar with their top players and their scouting breakdowns. If you are reading this then you likely also have read recent postings about these teams and are aware of their top players, so let's get to the highlights that led De La Salle to victory.

The started with 2020 LHP Kyle Harrison (UCLA commit) on the mound, one of the nation's top junior left-handers. Harrison went 5.1 IP (10 K, 2 H, 3 BB, R) and likely would have gone further had the umpire not decided to make him be perfect in the 6th inning. In any case, he was dominant as usual, with a fastball up to 93 mph on a few occasions and both curveball and slider on point. He recorded five of the first six outs via strikeout and headed into the 3rd inning looking very strong. Though, Heritage lead-off hitter 2019 3B Tom Rover (Nevada commit) did lead off the game with a double to left centerfield off one of those 93 mph heaters. After a sac-bunt Harrison then went through the rest of the 1st inning with relative ease.

In the top of the 3rd inning, with two outs he hit 2020 2B Chaz Myers (Pacific commit) who was immediately driven home when 2020 SS Ryan Jackson (uncommitted) tripled to deep left centerfield on a breaking ball that was left a bit up. However, as per usual, Harrison stayed calm and struck out the next hitter to end the inning. 

At that point Heritage and their fans were pumped up, for good reason, as 2019 RHP Jeffrey Heinrich (83-88 mph; Santa Clara commit) was sharp in the first two innings. The lanky right-hander seemed calm and cool in the moment and stuff-wise he was in good shape in the first couple of innings. He had a big bender working and was throwing hard enough to keep hitters honest and off that curveball. He looked poised for a very good game...

Then the bottom of the 3rd inning happened. It was in that inning when the length and relentlessness of the De La Salle line-up took over the game. Having seen them play at least four times this season, one thing that stands out about the Spartans was they just never seem out of a game and never panic. I saw them trail in three playoff games and they came back to win each one. It's not just that they are talented (MANY D1 commits) but they also have the intangibles of champions.

Here is how it went... 2019 2B Nick Fusari (LMU commit) reached via E6 (baseball can be cruel... as in his first chance after his triple, Jackson made the error to open the inning), 2021 1B Blake Burke singled, 2019 3B Chris Santiago (St. Mary's commit) singled to score Fusari, Harrison poked an RBI single, 2019 C/OF Jared Amigh (Pacific commit) hit a sac-fly F9 to drive in Santiago, 2020 SS Vince Bianchina (Northwester commit) walked, 2020 RF Keoni Coloma walked to force in a run, 2020 DH Charles McAdoo had a productive out to drive in a run, and finally, the 9th place hitter and ninth hitter of the inning, 2019 CF Jordan Wright (Chapman U commit) flew out to centerfield. No BIG damage, but nicked by quality at-bat after quality at-bat. 

Trailing 5-1, Heritage couldn't muster anything in the 4th inning as Harrison gave up a lead-off infield single then struck out the next three batters. The bottom of the 4th inning was very similar to the 3rd inning for De La Salle... Fusari singled, Burke singled, after a strikeout of Santiago, Harrison drove a 2-RBI double to right field and scored on bunt from Coloma. Three more runs and an 8-1 lead with Harrison on the mound felt like massive deficit.

Harrison went 1-2-3 in the top of the 5th inning, still hitting 91. He twice struck out four batters in a row during the game and after back to back walks in the top of the 6th inning Coach David Jeans went to the pen, calling on senior right-handers Cole Silva and Dylan White to get the last five outs.

In case anyone thought the game wasn't finished at 8-1, the bottom of the 6th inning provided the final blow, a long 2-run homer off the bat of Santiago, scoring Burke who had walked. The party was on for the nationally ranked Spartans, who ended the season ranked #2 in our Power 25. 

Heritage ended up with four hits: Rover (2B/1B), Jackson (3B/BB), 2020 CF Keith Jones (INF 1B - WSU commit). Jones reached twice (BB/1B) as did 2020 C Casey Turturici did as well (2 BB).

The future is bright for both teams as De La Salle will return line-up mainstays Burke, Harrison, Bianchina, Coloma and McAdoo as well as catcher Ben Parker (he caught Harrison regularly and did so in this game as well). They will have to replace three senior pitchers who were major contributors (Silva, White, and Eric Reyzelman). Of course, Harrison returning to lead the staff is a good place to start. As for Heritage, they also bring back a lot of significant offensive talent; Jackson, Jones, Myers, Turturici, 2020 C/1B Ryan Troye, and 2021 OF Gavin Tonkel. They will bring back their own talented left-hander, 2021 Cristian Machado as well as 2021 RHP Felix Dominguez and 2020 RHP Jake Guardiancic.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Inland Empire Futures Games Trials CA 06/01 Norco High School
SoCal ProCase CA 06/08 Hart Park
Northern California ProCase CA 06/09 Delta College - Nick Cecchetti Field
Bay Area Open Showcase CA 06/26 Laney College
Inland Empire Top Prospect ID CA 07/23 Santiago High School
Norcal Top Prospect ID CA 07/24 St. Mary's College
Junior Future Games / Future Games NATIONAL 07/30 LakePoint
Rising Stars Showcase CA 09/21 Santiago High School

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