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SAN DIEGO SWING: CIF SAN DIEGO SECTION PLAYOFFS


Jack Shannon & Steve Doherty
PBR California Staff

CIF-SDS PLAYOFF RECAP PODCAST

SAN DIEGO, CA. - The 2019 San Diego Section season ended with a bang as six county high schools were crowned champions of their respective divisions. The playoff format provided many close and exciting games, with each game providing a story and on-field talent worthy of a write-up.

The 2019 season had its ups and downs but created a Hollywood ending.

The Eastlake Titans spent the majority of the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the county and showed that by running the table in the open division playoffs. Coined “Clash of the Titans”, the CIFSDS Open Division Final game was just that, a heavyweight bout between two of the areas top programs. The Titans of Poway took on the Titans of Eastlake at San Diego State Saturday night for the opportunity to call themselves champions by evenings end. Poway nearly erased a five-run deficit in the third inning but could not break through as Eastlake held on for the win and captured the 2019 Open Division Championship.

Parity in the San Diego section was a hot topic throughout the season and was evident as the 8-20 Westview Wolverines completed their Cinderella run by capturing the Division 1 Championship. The upstart Sage Creek Bobcats completed their magical season by capturing the Division 2 Championship and eliminating two of the better programs in Point Loma and Bonita Vista in the process. After struggling the past two seasons, Valhalla relied on the arms of two talented pitchers and a highly talented position player to complete their unlikely run to the Division 3 Championship. Number 1 seed San Diego Southwest showed that they are the cream of the crop in Division 4 as the Raiders ran the table to capture the crown. The Morse Tigers captured their first Baseball Championship in school history after claiming the Division 5 title. Since the schools opened its doors in 1962 it has produced countless athletes that have gone on to professional sports, in baseball, Big Leaguer Adam Jones is their most prominent recent alum.

Sitting in on close to 10 games, collaborating with colleagues and reading about every game gave us a good look and feel for the section action. Below you will find Scouts picks on county action, scouting notes on the respective games and highlight videos.

2019 CIF SAN DIEGO SECTION CHAMPIONS

Open Division: #1 Eastlake Titans 5 - #3 Poway Titans 3

Division 1: #11 Westview Wolverines 1 - #1 Grossmont Foothillers 0

Division 2: #3 Sage Creek Bobcats 14 - #1 Classical Academy Caimans 1

Division 3: #4 Valhalla Norsemen 6 - #3 San Pasqual Eagles 5

Division 4: #1 San Diego Southwest Raiders 5 - #3 Mt. Carmel Sundevils 3

Division 5: #4 Morse Tigers 7 - #6 Mount Miguel Matadors 5

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SCOUTS PICKS

Best Game: First Round Open Division, #1 Eastlake 3 - #8 Cathedral 1

Best Story: Westview entering playoffs with 8-20 record and winning Division 1 Championship

Matchup we’d like to see: Open Champions Eastlake vs Division 2 Champions Sage Creek

Best Pitching Performance: Kelton Stowell Westview RHP vs. Grossmont (7INN 2H 1BB 14K)

Best Defensive Performance: Mario Johnson Valhalla SS vs San Pasqual

Best Offensive Performance: Keoni Cavaco Eastlake 3B vs Cathedral (Leadoff Home Run)

SCOUTING NOTES

Open Division Championsip: #1 Eastlake 5 - #3 Poway 3 (5/25/2019)

  • 2019 3B Keoni Cavaco (SDSU) was everywhere making an impact on both sides of the ball, proving he is a big time, big game player.  Cavaco in scout terms is “tooled up”, showing four above average attributes in (hit, run, arm, glove). He displays good raw power in the swing that I feel will become above average in the future. Moreover, his attitude and effort is tangible watching him play. In my views, I have not seen him take a pitch off, which is an extremely mature characteristic for a young player. Cavaco posted a two-for-three day at the plate, with a hustle single and stolen base.  He came in relief in the seventh inning and proceeded to slam the door shut earning the save. With the MLB draft approaching next week, I feel he will be selected as a third baseman, middle to late 1st round, or supplemental round.

  • 2019 RHP Ricky Tibbett (SDSU) was the leader of this pitching staff this year and capped it off with a solid 3.0 IP performance in the finals, earning the win, allowing four hits, zero runs, striking out two, and walking one. Tibbett finished the year 12-1 with a .48 ERA, 29 strikeouts, .250 OBA in 87.2 inning pitched.   

  • 2020 Trevor Tishenkel (Cal) was up to his usual self at plate going one-for-two with a walk and a run scored.

Division 1 Championship: #11 Westview 1 - #1 Grossmont 0 (5/24/2019)

  • Kelton Stowell: 2019 Westview RHP, 5-foot-10 150 pounds, R/R. Started on the mound and threw a complete game shutout. Allowed 2 hits 1 walk and struck out 14 batters. Dominant pitching performance thanks to a three pitch mix and plus-command throughout the game. David Robertson comparison on the mound without the 12/6 curveball. Keeps his body tight and fires towards home plate with balanced and fluid mechanics. Fastball played up with hop and carry through the zone at 84-87 mph. Slider broke with sharp action on an 10/4 plane at 72-74 mph and countered that pitch with a cutter in the same tunnel at 77-79 mph. Command was his key as he got ahead in almost every count and was not afraid to go in-out and up-down. Kept his slider/cutter combination away throughout the evening which played up against a right-handed heavy lineup creating a high rate of swing and miss. Best pitching performance that I witnessed in 60 games this high school season.

  • Jaden Wilcox: 2021 Grossmont RHP, 6-foot-1 180 pounds, R/R. Started on the mound throwing 6 ⅓ innings allowing 5 hits 1 run 1 walk and striking out 8. Underclass pitcher that showed poise and control on the mound in the biggest game of his career. Commanded the fastball at 82-85 mph with some arm side run. Showed his curveball at a high rate that broke on a 11/5 plane at 68-72 mph and completed his off-speed arsenal with a change-up that offset hitters timing at 73-75 mph. Sophomore arm with advanced feel for pitching that could find himself on the division 1 radar with a velocity spike.

Division 3 Championship: #4 Valhalla 6 - #3 San Pasqual 5 (5/24/2019)

  • Kyle Casper: 2020 Valhalla (Arizona) OF/RHP, 6-foot-1 195 pounds, R/R. Strong performance in all facets of the game, baseball movements looked crisp. Took 12 pitches before swinging, registering 2 walks and a 2-0 count before his first swing of the game. Showed great base running skills on two dirt ball reads and tagging up on a close play at the plate. Displayed a plus-outfield arm on a close play at 3rd. Closed the game out on the mound registering 89-91 mph on the fastball with life. Countered with a 73-75 mph slider with 11/4 tilt and command of the pitch. Seldomly used on the mound this season but looked confident and under control closing out the biggest game the season. Big time player who will be in consideration for 2020 pre-season player of the year.

  • Mario Johnson: 2020 Valhalla SS, 5-foot-10 175 pounds, R/R. Fielded extremely well and made a big impact on the game defensively at shortstop. Arm strength was below average but made up for it with proper prep step and ability to attack in between hops. Throws to first were on target and clean. Defensively bailed out his team in crucial moments and was the defensive player of the game.

  • Elijah Jackson: 2019 San Pasqual (Kansas State) DH, 6-foot-3 200 pounds, R/R. Batted leadoff as the designated hitter. Defensive absence cost San Pasqual immensely. Offensively showed that he can register hits, going 3-4 with a run scored and 2 RBI. All three of his hits were softly hit towards the middle of the field. Size and confidence played up and will be a name to watch down the line.

  • Jason Hall: 2022 San Pasqual C, 6-foot 160 pounds, R/R. Started at Catcher and hit cleanup. Physically looks more mature than what you would expect from a freshman. Showed some athleticism behind the plate but needs develop blocking skills and pitch framing. In four at-bats, walked three times showing plus plate discipline and approach. Level barrell through the zone led to line drive foul balls to the first base side which is a great indicator of his bat skills. Best freshman bat in the county and will be fun to watch for the next three years.

Open Division Semi-Finals: #3 Poway 9 - #2 Helix 0 (5/21/2019)

  • 2019 Catcher Taylor Johnson (LMU) Five-foot-eight, 180lbs, stocky, strong, compact maxed out frame. Similar body type as Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez.  More twitchy than fluid with coordinated athleticism. Able to repeat swing from both sides. Has average raw power, strong lower half and hips with swing path that will translate into pull side homerun power in the future, especially from the left side. Excellent receiver that is flexible, agile and able to get under the low ball with consistency. Demonstrates toughness and the ability to keep dirt ball in front of him. Exhibits plus arm strength, accuracy, and quality footwork on throws to second base. Has above average speed for his position and will add value at the top of a lineup.  Not a burner however will steal bags take the extra base when presented. Was one-for-three with this two run home run, and three RBI’s on the afternoon.

 

  • 2020 MIF/RHP Alonzo Richardson (SDSU) Our #84 ranked player in the state for the 2020 class. Five-foot-ten, 160lbs, medium, toned, athletic frame, with muscular definition. If he is on the field, Richardson is the best athlete present hands down. Made a major league play on defense after he was removed from his one and two thirds innings pitched, showing he is able to separate what happened. It is on my top three defensive plays I witnessed this season. Richardson took the loss for Helix allowing seven hits, striking out two and walking one. Two critical errors behind him led to unearned runs. Fastball sat 89-92, topping out at 93. Curve had late bite, but would stay flat occasionally on this day at 70-73.  Slider displayed some depth between 75-78. Richardson’s future is as a middle infielder and we will see his name move up our rankings and pop up as a potential draft pick in 2020.

 

  • 2020 OF Trevor Tishenkel (Cal) Our #20 ranked player in the 2020 class, Tishenkel continues to impress and hit every viewing, putting himself in position as a top performer on his team, and leader going into his senior season.  His range, and ability to track balls in the gap has improved along with his commitment to being more physical. Arm has gone from average to above average in a short period of time, showing he is healthy going into the summer. Tishenkel is one of the top five outfielders in the state, and should see a jump in his all around game. His name will pop up in draft discussions next year.

Division 2 Semi-Finals: #3 Sage Creek 5 - #6 Bonita Vista 4 (5/23/2019)

  • Ethan Sakata: 2019 Sage Creek, RHP. Started on the mound for the Bobcats and put in one of his best starts of the season in the biggest game of his career. Allowed 1 run in 5 ⅔ innings pitched. Changed speeds and mixed pitches extremely well, rarely doubling up on the same pitch and moving side to side. Fastball sat at 81-84 mph throughout his start. 4-seam showed some hop through the zone and the 2-seam darted away with arm-side run. Off-speed arsenal consisted of a split-change with downward movement and a 12/6 curveball. Four pitch feel and command played up against a quality line-up. Maturity and development at the junior college level could make him a name to watch down the line.

  • Nate Brasher: 2021 Sage Creek, OF/INF, R/R. Long and lanky with room for growth. Father played in the NFL. Showed good baseball movements and raw tools. Doubled to left-center on an 88 mph fastball. Relied upon all year and will be a big piece for the Bobcats over the next two years. Profile is beginning to build and the division 1 college radar is beginning to take notice.

 

  • DiMaggio Cazares: 2019 Bonita Vista OF/RHP/C, 5-foot-10 185 pounds, R/R. Super-utility player that showed versatility that will play up at the next level. Strong build with some athleticism and quality baseball movements. Strong-athletic build allowing him to be moved around the field. First reliever out of the pen, fastball sat at 85-88 mph. Doubled following his first inning of relief.

  • Nate Nankil: 2020 Bonita Vista (Cal State-Fullerton) OF/RHP, 6-foot-4 190 pounds, R/R. Raw tools on display, running to first at 4.2 seconds and singling to both left and right field. Opposite field ability and present power project well for advanced pitching.  Made a strong throw from right-field on a play at the plate but bobbled the transfer. Overall outfield defense needs to improve but the skills are there. Baseball movements are present and will be a name to watch ahead of the 2020 MLB Draft.


Open Division 4th Round: #1 Eastlake 3 - #4 Torrey Pines 1 (5/21/19)

  • Matt Schlesner: 2019 Torrey Pines (PLNU) RHP, 6-foot-4 215 pounds, R/R. Started on the mound for the Falcons on the road and in an elimination game. Showed poise and confidence in his biggest start of the year. Fastball sat at 82-85 mph and was able to successfully locate up-down-left-right. Did a really good job locating away with both his fastball, curveball and change-up. Innings 4-6 the change-up really took form and tied up right-handed hitters. Made one mistake pitch in the start which resulted in a 2-run home run to give Eastlake the lead and win.

  • Kevin Sim: 2020 Torrey Pines (San Diego) 3B/RHP, 6-foot 190 pounds, R/R. Flashed plus-defense at third, diving to his right en route to stopping would be doubles and turning them into outs. End of the season slump continued as he went 0-2 and lowered his average to 271 on the year. Relieved Schlesner for one out and touched 89 mph on the mound. Will be a name to watch in the San Diego Section ahead of the 2020 MLB Draft.

  • Jake Connelly: 2019 Torrey Pines (Utah) 1B/OF, 6-foot-2 170, L/R. Hammered a fastball up for a double off the right field fence for the only extra-base hit of the game for the Falcons. After sitting out half the year to transfer rules, showed well with 379 BA and will be a name to watch down the line at Utah.

  • Mac Bingham: 2019 Torrey Pines (USC) OF, 5-foot-10 190, R/R. Bingham continued to impress over all with his plus baseball movements and feel for the game. Should step in right away and contribute for the Trojans.

 

  • Keoni Cavaco: 2019 Eastlake (SDSU) 3B, 6-foot-1 190 pounds, R/R. Poor showing for the potential first-rounder as he made two costly errors at third. Went hitless at the plate with clear struggles with pitches away. Ran well as he record times of 4.22 and 4.15 from home to first on ground outs to third base.

  • Ricky Tibbett: 2019 Eastlake (SDSU) RHP, 6-foot-2 185 pounds, R/R. Continues to impress on the mound as he picked up his 12th win of the year. Command and attacking nature were present again. Fastball velocity and stamina were outstanding as he fastball hovered around 88 mph in the first and 7th inning. Should step in right away and find success with the Aztecs.

  • Nick Vallarelli: 2021 Eastlake C/UTL, 6-foot 200 pounds, R/R. Catchers build whom slated into the line-up as the DH. Hit a clutch go-ahead 2-run home run in the sixth inning. Hammered a fastball up to left-field that cleared the fence with ease. Sophomore that is seeing increased playing time and could find himself on the college radar sooner than later.

Division 2 4th Round: #3 Sage Creek 7 - #2 Point Loma 6 (5/18/19)

  • Anthony Hall: 2019 Point Loma 1B, 6-foot-3 195 pounds, L/L. Drove in 4 runs for the Pointers, including a bases clearing double off the right field fence. Continues to show power to the right side. Does a really good job keeping his hands low, allowing for a quick strike approach and good projectability with next level velocity. Division 1 college offers are beginning to stack up along with pro coverage ahead of the 2019 MLB Draft.

 

  • Blake Ledbetter: 2021 Point Loma LHP, 5-foot-10 150, L/L. Started on the mound for the Pointers and struggled commanding pitches down in the zone. Flashed projectability and potential in the future. Fastball topped at 82 mph.

  • Preston Buscher: 2019 Sage Creek, RHP. Closed the game out, tossing 3 innings and keeping the Pointers lineup at bay. Set down arguably the best 2-3-4 (Goursin-Hall-Otjen) in the county in the 7th. Big bodied righty with a fastball that sat 82-85 mph and an average curveball with command. Competed on the mound and wanted the ball in a big moment.

  • Connor Blough: 2021 Sage Creek, 2B, L/R. Small frame and average baseball movements. Made noise with his bat driving in a key run with 2 outs and looked comfortable at the plate all game. Sound defensively and moves well laterally. Young infielder that will be a name to watch down the line.

  • Nick Naccarato: 2020 Sage Creek, OF, L/R. Mixed bag results offensively, singled twice including a key RBI but struck out twice and looked overmatched. Stole 20 bases in the regular season and possess ivy league grades.

 

Open Division Round 2: #3 Poway 4 - #7 La Costa Canyon 3 (5/17/19)

  • Dylan Moran: 2019 Poway RHP, 5-foot-10 160 pounds. Started on the mound for the Titans, putting in a quality start in 6 ⅓ innings. Heavy mix pitcher that used his fastball at a below than 50% rate as he relied heavily on a curveball and changeup combination to get outs. Nothing overwhelming but possess control of three pitches that generate outs at a high rate.

  • Kyle Nevin: 2019 Poway (Baylor) 1B, 6-foot-4 170 pounds, R/R. Long and lanky first baseman with a very good feel defensively at first base. Son of former San Diego Padre Phil Nevin. Projectable swing and build but in need of college development.  

  • Spencer Jones: 2019 La Costa Canyon (Vanderbilt) DH, 6-foot-7 210 pounds, L/L. Back as a hitter only after suffering a fractured elbow 8 weeks ago. Finished the game with three hits and a walk. Post-injury swing path showed a more inside out approach which was very evident as two of his hits went to left-center and the other to centerfield. Talent is there and the layoff did not hurt his feel for the game.

 

 

  • Connor Kinney: 2019 La Costa Canyon (Tufts) RHP, 6-foot-3 170 pounds, R/R. Started on the mound for the Mavericks, putting in a quality start in 6 ⅔ innings. Creates deception with tight mechanics and an over-the-top release point. Change-up showed great downward movement, garnering swings and misses throughout his outing. Should have a lot of success at the academic-baseball juggernaut Tufts College.


Open Division Round 1: #1 Eastlake 2 - #8 Cathedral Catholic 1 (5/15/19)

  • Ricky Tibbett: 2019 Eastlake (SDSU), 6-foot-2 185, RHP. Started on the mound and went the distance allowing 1 run over 7 innings. Showed emotion and extreme competitive nature on the mound. Executed pitch location at a college level, showing plus-command of his breaking ball and fastball throughout the course of his outing. Fastball sat at 86-88 mph and topped at 90 mph. Looked like a college weekend starter down the line.

  • Keoni Cavaco: 2019 Eastlake (SDSU) 3B, 6-foot-1 190 pounds, R/R: Amazed the crowd with a first pitch leadoff towering home run to left-center. Took a fantastic pregame infield and flashed his plus-glove throughout the game with ease. Showing first round talent just a few weeks before the draft. 4.2 to first base on a ground out to shortstop.

  • Marcelo Mayer: 2021 Eastlake (USC) SS, 6-foot-3 175 pounds, L/R: Healthy and back playing at an elite high school level. Hammered a fastball inside for a double off the right-center field fence. Defensively put in his best performance and look comfortable and confident overall. Keoni Cavaco and Marcelo Mayer were the only hitters that had a chance versus Jake Rons. 4.5 on a ground out to second base.

  • Jake Rons: 2019 Cathedral Catholic (LBSU) RHP, 6-foot-2 180 pounds. Started on the mound and went the distance for the Dons. Made two mistakes with his first pitch of the outing as he left a fastball over the plate that got punished for a solo home run by Keoni Cavaco and a fastball up and in to Marcelo Mayer for a double. Settled in after that and cruised through the Eastlake lineup. Fastball ranged 86-88 mph and topped at 90 mph. Located his slider away well garnering swings and misses and quick outs. Looked like a solid college pitcher down the line.


Division 1 Play-In: #7 CARLSBAD 3 - #10 FRANCIS PARKER 1 (5/14/19)

  • Thomas Saggese: 2020 Carlsbad HS SS, 6-foot 170 pounds, R/R. Best player on the field. Continuing to show his strong hit tool and ability to stay at SS. Pitched around and saw a lot of breaking pitches. Stole two bags on great reads and scored a crucial run after picking pitchers timing and taking off early from second.

  • Finn McIlroy: 2022 Carlsbad RHP/SS, 6-foot-2 165 pounds, R/R. Freshman power arm hit 88 mph closing out the games final two outs. Shows command and feel for pitching. Name to watch now.

  • Jacob Mayall: 2020 Carlsbad LHP, 5-foot-11 170 pounds. Started on the mound twirling 6 ⅓ strong innings, allowing 1 run on a leadoff 7th inning home run. Fastball sat at 80-82 mph with arm-side-movement, commanded curveball at 68-72 mph and tripled his arsenal with command of a change-up at 70-72 mph. Should see his role increase in his senior season and will be a name to watch with a velocity spike.

  • Nevan Noonan: 2022 Francis Parker 2B/SS, 5-foot-9 160 pounds, R/R. Younger brother of 2007 first round draft pick Nick Noonan. Homered to lead off the sixth inning.

  • Ryan Sanborn: 2019 Francis Parker RHP, 6-foot-3 195 pounds, R/R. Started on the mound flashing a sharp curveball with command to keep the Lancers guessing. Headed to Stanford on a football scholarship as a punter.


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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