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Season Preview: Temescal Canyon Titans


Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

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

In this edition we will take a closer look at the Temescal Canyon (Lake Elsinore, CA), a team that made a run to the quarterfinals in the Division 3 CIF-SS playoffs last season. The Titans return eight starters and move up to Division 2 with added expectations but have an underdog feel to them.

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Team: Temescal Canyon

Nickname: Titans

CIF Section: Southern Section Division 2

League: Raincross Conference/Ivy League

Head Coach/Years at school: Neal Post (2nd season)

Team Twitter Handle: @tctitansbsbl

2018 Overall Record: 22-9-1

2018 Postseason Finish: Quarterfinals

Number of Returning Starters: 8

Number of Returning Pitchers: 3

Top Returning Players:

'20 OF Caden Szuba; '19 LHP Dane Padrnos; '20 OF/SS Jack McClellan; '19 C/SS Devlin Lindeman; '19 MIF DJ Jones

College Commits:

NONE AT THIS TIME

Other Players To Watch:

'20 RHP Dylan (DJ) McCarty, '19 MIF Andrew Villarreal

2019 Outlook:

After a somewhat surprising run to the D3 quarterfinals last year, the Temescal Canyon Titans will move up to Division 2 and into a new league leaving them with the element of surprise they had in 2018. With eight returning starters and three returning pitchers, the Titans have the experience to deal with the burden of expectations that follow a successful season in which the majority of your team returns in tact.

"Expectations this season are high because of our success last year," said second-year head coach Neal Post. "We still have to play well to meet those expectations."

Expectations can be a burden to some and a motivator to others. For Temescal Canyon the expectations are not uncommon. After all, this is a program that has won 69 games since the 2015 season and reached the postseason each of those four seasons. However, with the number of returning starters and the playoff run from a year ago the expectations have ratcheted up a bit.

For Post, the 2019 season brings something new with it. A new league. A new division. But the same expectations. The Titans certainly have the players on defense to keep them in games.

"Defense will be our biggest strength with all key players returning," said Post. "We also have added depth behind them despite their limited playing experience."

Junior outfielder Caden Szuba is coming off a season in which he hit .394 with 9 doubles, 14 RBI, 17 stolen bases and scored 21 runs. He's a very athletic, speedy outfielder with an above average arm that will see time on the mound this year as well. Junior outfielder/shortstop Jack McClellan returns after hitting .318 with 16 RBI, 5 doubles, and 25 stolen bases. He's a guy that flashes gap-to-gap power with plus speed to go with a high baseball IQ. Senior middle infielder DJ Jones is a sure handed player that can play anywhere in the infield and provides speed at the top of the order. Senior catcher/shortstop Devlin Lindeman also shows position flexibility defensively along with some power in his bat giving the Titans plenty of options.

Those players will need to increase their production at the plate if the Titans are to fulfill their lofty expectations. It's an area that may be a cause for concern given the tightness of games last year. The Titans played in 11 games decided by two runs or fewer.

"We left a lot of runners on base last year," said Post. "But our defense was our savior along with our ability to create runs with pressure and timely hitting."

Post believes the Titans defense, improved offense, and three returning starting pitchers should give them a chance to win a lot of games in 2019.

Senior left-handed pitcher Dane Padrnos shows a good fastball/changeup combination to go with a deep understanding of how to pitch and win games. The senior returns after winning eight games with 1.11 ERA a year ago. Junior righty DJ McCarty will be counted on as a starter in 2019. McCarty posted an 0-1 record with a 1.59 ERA a season ago. Senior Diego Ramos went 4-2 with a 1.79 ERA in 47 innings pitched last season will once again have high expectations in 2019 after having a strong finish late in the season. Behind those three are some relatively untested arms that will be expected to make the next step if the Titans are to make a run. Lindeman, who was used sparingly on the mound last year, will likely work himself into some innings due to the depth behind him at catcher. The wildcard could be senior left-handed pitcher Campbell McGarvey who returns a lot bigger and stronger which has translated to more consistency and velocity on the mound.

For Post the new season brings with it not only expectations but newness as well. The Titans will not only move into a new league, but they'll make the jump to Division 2 which in the Southern Section is loaded.

"We are moving into a new league which will be competitive week-in and week-out," said Post. "We are excited for the unknown and hope to surprise some people."

The only real surprise for Titans fans would be if they aren't once again in the postseason.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Northern California Preseason All-State (Invite-Only) CA 01/27 San Joaquin Delta College
Super 60 Pro Showcase NATIONAL 02/03 The Max
Solano-Sac Junior Future Games Trials CA 02/24 Vacaville Christian HS
SoCal Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/09 O'Malley Field - Harvard Westlake
East Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/24 Athenian School
North Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/28 Clyde P. Smith Field - Cardinal Newman HS
Northern California Future Games Trials CA 05/26 Islanders Field
Orange County Futures Games Trials CA 06/08 Hart Park - Orange CA

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