Back

Season Preview: De La Salle Spartans


Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California, we've begun rolling out team previews from around the state.

In this edition we will take a closer look at the De La Salle Spartans, the defending North Coast Section Open Division 1 champs. The 2019 version of the Spartans looks very much like recent teams... loaded and ready to compete for a title.

(Players, be sure to search our database and claim your profile. Don't see your profile? You can create a free PBR profile here)

Team: De La Salle 

Nickname: Spartans

Section: CIF-North Coast Section, Division 1

League: East Bay Athletic League

Head Coach/Years at school: David Jeans (8th year)

Team Twitter Handle@DLSBaseball

2018 Overall Record: 26-4

2018 Postseason Finish: NCS Division 1 Champions

Number of Returning Starters: 5

Number of Returning Pitchers: 4

Top Returning Players:

'19 3B/P Chris Santiago; '19 C Jared Amigh; '19 OF Jordan Wright; '19 RHP Cole Silva; '20 LHP Kyle Harrison; '20 OF Grant Daley; '21 OF/LHP Blake Burke

College Commits:

'19 3B/P Chris Santiago - Saint Mary's; '19 C Jared Amigh - Pacific; '19 RHP Eric Reyzleman - San Francisco; '19 INF Nick Fusari - Loyola Marymount; '19 OF Jordan Wright - Chapman; '19 Nic Camozzi - Occidental; '19 RHP Cole Silva - U of Chicago; '19 RHP Dylan White - U of Chicago; '20 LHP Kyle Harrison - UCLA; '20 INF Vince Bianchina - Northwestern

Other Players To Watch:

'19 RHP Dylan White; '19 1B Nic Camozzi; '19 INF Nick Fusari; '20 INF Vince Bianchina; '20 INF Keoni Coloma

2019 Outlook:

It has been quite a run for De La Salle the last number of years. They have appeared in seven straight NCS D1 finals and have won the last three in a row. Yes, it's been quite a run and that run has a very good chance to continue in 2019. The Spartans are tested each year in both their non-conference schedule and in strong league competition. Yes, they lost quite a few very talented players to graduation, numerous of whom are playing D1 baseball now, but the cupboard is not bare... it never seems to be. 

De La Salle has to replace six significant offensive contributors from 2018, including 18 of their 29 team home runs. However, they do bring back two of their four biggest boppers. Stolen bases were spread out throughout the team last season and in 2019 they look to have plenty of players with good wheels who can make an impact on the bases. The Spartans do have to replace three important senior pitchers, but the good news is that they also bring back pitchers who contributed 94+ important innings.

Last year's team posted a team ERA of 1.58 and with the experience they are bringing back, another stellar year on the mound is possible. Behind the plate they bring back a D1-signee so the battery each day will be strong and talented. The middle of their line-up will be a force and ahead of those sluggers will be speed at the top of the line-up and spread throughout. This is a balanced team.

There are players all over the roster who have earned numerous accolades, from All-American teams and recognition at some of the nation's highest profile prospect events. They have a boatload of kids headed off to play college baseball in the future, many of whom are heading to D1 programs. There are underclassmen still sorting out their recruitment but possessing multiple offers. On teams this deep and talented, the fight for playing time and to carry on the tradition of success keeps all the players hungry.

Their schedule once again will present numerous tests and stiff challenges for the Spartans as Coach Jeans doesn't shy away from playing the best competition. The non-conference schedule features scrimmages vs. Cardinal Newman and Valley Christian and games vs. St. Francis, Jesuit, St. Mary's-Stockton, Elk Grove and participation in the inaugural All Catholic tournament in Las Vegas. Conference play in the EBAL is always good, with games vs Monte Vista, San Ramon Valley, Amador Valley, and Foothill, all programs that also have aspirations of deep playoff runs.

The two returning hitters who did the most damage in 2018 are senior 3rd baseman Chris Santiago (.368, 9 2B, 5 HR, 25 RBI) from the right side and sophomore right fielder Blake Burke (.345, 9 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 30 RBI) from the left side. Burke is among the top 2021 grads not just in the state, but in the nation. He's PBR's 10th ranked player in California and #91 nationally. Senior catcher Jared Amigh produced quite a bit of extra base hit power (11 2B) in 2018 while hitting .381 with 20 RBI. It's a good bet that some of those doubles will end up on the other side of the fence this season. Those three accounted for 75 RBI in 2018 and will be leaned on for more of the same this year.

Three players will man the middle of the infield for the Spartans. Junior Vince Bianchina is an athletic (WR/DB on football team) switch-hitter while fellow junior Koeni Coloma (also a football player) is a left-handed hitter who can also play in the outfield. Senior Nick Fusari (R/R) will also be playing up the middle this season. They have plenty of line-up options with a switch-hitter, a left-handed hitter and a right-handed bat. In limited action last year Fusari hit .667.

The outfield will be athletic and fast, with junior Grant Daley returning to his spot in centerfield. Daley is the main WR on the football (speaking to his athleticism) and is among the underclassmen fielding offers in the recruiting process. Senior Jordan Wright will be in left field and he can really run and in limited action as a junior he hit .517. The aforementioned Blake Burke will roam right field and though he's not the runner that Daley and Wright are, he is a big strong athlete with a strong arm.

Leading the way on the mound will be junior left-hander Kyle Harrison. He's got slippery and wicked stuff when at his best, with an upper-80s fastball (occasionally a tick above) and a big sweeping breaking ball. He holds runners well and is fun to watch compete because it's clear that he loves to play. He will also be part of a platoon at 1st base, with senior Nic Camozzi. Senior right-handers Cole Silva and Dylan White will both be relied upon quite heavily. Silva also can pitch in the mid-upper 80s and has a good breaking ball. Junior Chris Santiago was utilized as a closer/fireman last season and could fill that role once again. He has a big arm that runs the fastball into the upper-80s. Yet another arm that will be counted on is senior right-hander Eric Reyzleman and he also can get into the upper-80s. They are deep and the stuff is good across the board.

So, is an 8th straight appearance in the NCS D1 finals in their future? A fourth straight championship? Time will tell but the 2019 De La Salle Spartans are ready to give it all they've got.

RELATED CONTENT

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Northern California Preseason All-State (Invite-Only)
CA 01/27 Delta College - Stockton
Super 60 Pro Showcase
NATIONAL 02/03 The Max
N. CA Junior Future Games Trial - Sac/Solano CA 02/24 Vacaville Christian HS
SoCal Junior Future Games Trials
CA 03/09 O'Malley Field - Harvard Westlake
N. CA Junior Future Games Trial - East Bay CA 03/24 Athenian School - Danville
N. CA Junior Future Games Trial - North Bay CA 04/28 Cardinal Newman HS - Santa Rosa
Northern California Future Games Trials
CA 05/26 Islanders Field - Lathrop