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NCS D1 Playoff (CA): Monte Vista at #2 De La Salle


Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

5/17/19

NOTE: This is a straight-forward game recap, any scouting notes/stats/extended videos for players from this game can be found within their profiles.

CONCORD, CA - The Monte Vista Mustangs and De La Salle Spartans are rivals in the East Bay Athletic League, one of the top conferences in Northern California. The squared off for the third time this season, this time with a spot in the CIF-NCS D1 semi-finals at stake. The Spartans won a thrilling pitcher's duel by a score of 2-1. De La Salle will  now take on another EBAL team on May 21, the Foothill Falcons, winners over Dougherty Valley, also of the EBAL. To further illustrate the strength of the conference, in the other semi-final is Amador Valley, the second place EBAL team in the regular season. Amador Valley defeated Clayton Valley and will take on Heritage, who defeated #11 Acalanes.

At various times De La Salle, Amador Valley, and Foothill have all been present in our Power 25. Heritage has been in the 'others receiving votes' and Acalanes has been ranked for the bulk of the season. It's been a strong year in the East Bay, to say the least. I've not done well with predictions in some (most?) of the section playoffs, but at least I got 3 of the 4 semi-finalists right in the NCS D1 bracket, correctly picking De La Salle, Foothill, and Amador Valley to advance this far. Acalanes... not so much, as I selected them to win the section. Maybe next year.

Ok, enough about all of that because this particular game was a good one. De La Salle sent 2020 LHP Kyle Harrison (UCLA commit) to the mound and Monte Vista countered with 2019 RHP Josh White (Cal commit). It's the second time these two opposed each other this season and if you like watching talented and competitive high school pitchers, these two both fit the bill. Ultimately Harrison was just a bit better, pitching a complete game while racking up 114 pitches. He gave up a lead-off home run, struck out 10, walked 2, gave up 7 hits and danced in and out of trouble all game long. White also gave up his runs in one inning due to one swing of the bat. White went 6 complete, striking out 2, walking 4, and giving up just 3 hits.

Both White and Harrison were a little off their game early, based on what I've seen of them before. Neither could really find their good breaking ball in the first couple of innings and in fact, both gave up their runs on hanging breaking balls that went for extra base hits; 2019 SS Tommy Gavello (2-for-4, R, RBI, HR - Pacific commit, single in video) hit the homer over the short porch in right field off Harrison and 2020 DH Charles McAdoo banged a 2-RBI double into right-centerfield off White. Those two swings accounted for all the runs.

Both pitchers eventually found the feel of their offspeed stuff after the adrenaline wore off and by the end both were throwing extremely well. Both held their velocity all the way through the game as well. Harrison was up to 92 mph early and still getting to 90-91 late while White topped at 90 mph and was still at 88-89 at the end. He really found his feel of all pitches in the 4th inning and by the 6th his 78 mph slider was dialed in. Harrison went to a slower curveball in the middle innings and when he got some feel for that pitch he was able to find the slider, which by the 7th inning was devastating at 77 mph and hard biting/sweeping action.

However, despite the low score, each pitcher was FREQUENTLY on the ropes. After the Gavello homer in the top of the 1st the Mustangs put two more runners on with one out before Harrison got the last two outs on an F3 and 6-3, which was the first of a few big plays made by 2020 SS Vince Bianchina (Northwestern commit). White had a 1-2-3 bottom of the first and with that 1-0 lead I wondered if the game might end that way. 

Harrison got MV 1-2-3 in the top of the 2nd, including two punch outs and then the De La Salle offense got the opening they would need. White walked Harrison leading off the bottom of the 2nd, which was followed by a single through the middle by 2019 LF Jared Amigh (1-for-3, R - Pacific commit) on a fastball left at the waist and down the middle. White stayed calm and struck out Bianchina and got 2020 RF Keoni Coloma who attempted what looked to be a safety squeeze. The squeeze aspect didn't work to score a run but it did move the Amigh to second base. With two outs it was up to McAdoo (1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI). White left a slider up in the zone and McAdoo slammed it into right centerfield, scoring both runners. A high breaking ball is perfectly tailored to McAdoo's swing, which reminds me a bit of big leaguer Mark Reynolds.

Monte Vista didn't flinch in the top of the 3rd, loading the bases after Gavello sliced a ball inside the 3rd base line, 2019 CF Ryder Martin (2-for-3) reached when his sac-bunt was thrown wide of first by Harrison and 2019 LF John Meyers walked. So, bases loaded, none out and the Mustangs were in business. Or were they? Having seen Harrison on many occasions I knew he wouldn't buckle and in fact, I've seen him frequently at his best in the tightest moments. Well, this was one of those moments as he proceeded to strike out the next three hitters and frankly he dominated each of those hitters with an array of high fastballs, snapping sliders, and well located heaters.

White had more trouble to deal with in the bottom of the 3rd as De La Salle also loaded the bases. A leadoff walk to 2021 1B Blake Burke followed by a hard hit single to right by 2019 3B Chris Santiago (St. Mary's commit) set the table for a sac bunt, putting the runners at 2nd/3rd. Amigh then grounded a ball to 1st base and 2019 Dawson Mann made a nice play and accurate throw home to get Burke at the plate. So two outs, runners 1st/2nd, but the White walked Bianchina, loading the bases. He was able to get Coloma to ground out to 2019 3B Geoffrey Kennedy who had to wrestle a tough hop and get rid of it to get the speedy Coloma. Even then it took a nice play on a long hop that Mann fielded cleanly. It was an outstanding play by both players in a crucial moment. Kennedy played well at 3rd base all game long and has a strong arm that plays well at the position.

Both teams played well defensively as there were MANY standout defensive highlights. Coloma made a play early in the game at the right field wall, drifting back and making a tough catch over his shoulder. De La Salle 2019 CF Jordan Wright (Chapman U commit) showed off his ability to close on the ball and make strong accurate throws. Monte Vista 2019 2B Brandon Yan is a scrappy defensive player and wrestled a few tough ground balls and tracked soft liners into short right field. Martin threw out Burke trying to advance to 3rd base in the bottom of the 5th. Lots of good plays... but none as big or as good as Bianchina in the top of the 6th inning. We will get to that in a bit.

White had a clean 4th inning and then in the top of the 5th Harrison had to pitch through more traffic. After Gavello was finally retired for the first time (he smoked a one-hopper off Burke's shin but he recovered and fed the covering Harrison to JUST nab Gavello) White walked Martin, gave up a ringing single to left center by Meyers and it was 1st/2nd with just one out. It was then that Mr. Snappy showed up. Harrison ruthlessly punched out Mann and then got 2019 RF Jake Brandel (UC Davis commit) to bounce out to 3rd base with another slider.

It was in the 5th inning when Burke, who reached on a hard hit ball to 2nd base that was ruled as an error, tried to get to third on a ball that hit by Santiago that flattened out under Gavello and rolled into centerfield. Off the bat it looked like a double play ball. In any case, Burke rounded second aggressively and that's when Martin hustled in, cleanly picked up the ball and threw a strike to 3rd base to nab Burke. White got the next two hitters and was locked in at that point.

The top of the 6th inning would prove very eventful. Monte Vista mounted a rally when Mann singled sharply to left field and got to 2nd base when Amigh misplayed the ball. He was sacrificed to 3rd base by the next batter. One out, runner at 3rd base, a great situation to score a run. However, as I said, Mr. Snappy was in the house by that point and Harrison struck out a pinch-hitter with a 77 mph slider. Two outs, runner at 3rd base and it was up to Brandon Yan, who stroked what looked to be a sure single up the middle, either rolling cleanly into centerfield or certainly an infield hit. Not so fast... Bianchina sprawled out, gloved it, got to his feet and threw a strike to nab Yan by half a step. It was about as good of a play in a moment like that as you'll see in an high school game. 

White had to pitch through a two-out error in the bottom of the 6th inning but he stayed the course and got the final batter he would face in his high school career to pop up to Gavello who ranged into short left centerfield to make the play. Though he wasn't at his very best, White should be very proud of how he ended his high school career as he was gutty and competitive and just would not cave, keeping his team in it all the way to the end.

The only question heading to the top of the 7th inning was if Harrison would attempt to finish the game. De La Salle had a pitcher warm and ready to go, but when Harrison came out of the dugout there was an awful lot of excitement in the stands. He had already gone over 100 pitches but his stuff had not backed off one bit, and in the 6th was as good as he had been all game.

With adrenaline pumping and sniffing the finish line, he struck out Gavello on a 90 mph challenge fastball. He got Martin on a fly to right field on a first pitch fastball at 89 mph and then it was up to Meyers, a left-handed hitter. Meyers didn't go down easily, but eventually struck out on a high fastball that must have been called a strike by the umpire because to my eye and in the video below, he doesn't appear to have swung. In any case, that was the ball game and what a game it was.

Quite a lot to pack into a 2-1 game that frankly felt like a championship game.

Harrison will all be at the June 9 PBR ProCase at Delta College, among a group of elite 2020 talents, while McAdoo and Coloma will be at Bay Area World Series, May 31-June 2 at Islanders Field in Lathrop.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Northern California Underclass ID CA 05/26 Islanders Field
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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