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WCAL Playoff Tourney Preview (CA)


Ryan Ozella
N. California Area Scout

Santa Clara, CA - With the 1st round of the West Catholic Athletic League tourney over and the final four set for a doubleheader today at Santa Clara University, I thought a quick preview of the games would be a good primer. The WCAL has been showing the most talent-laden teams all season with these final four having made their case for the Power 25 Rankings at some point this season.

Below is a preview of the two semi-finals games and a player to watch from each team. As always be sure to click the players names to see notes and video from our full season coverage.

St. Francis Lancers (4) vs Valley Christian Warriors (1)

Valley Christian went 2-0 during the regular season against St. Francis getting the 6-0 Victory at home and the 4-2 Victory at St. Francis. Valley Christian has been the best team in the Section all season (and currently #7 ranked team in the PBR CA Power 25 Rankings) showing a potent offense that will feature 5 D-1 commits in it. They’re a deep team with the arms and offense to beat you. For St. Francis, they will need to get their lineup to lengthen at-bats and string together hits when guys are in scoring position. Their pitching has kept them consistently in games, but will be tested by a tough lineup.

Player to Watch - Valley Christian

2019 OF/RHP Steven Zobac - Zobac has been the best player in the Central Coast Section this season with his ability to hit, play strong defense and pitch in whatever role is needed for the Warriors. The XL frame is long and strong with more projection as he continues to mature. On the left side of the plate Zobac has been a nightmare for opposing pitchers showing patience (.627 OBP), bat-to-ball skills (.474 AVG) and pop (17 XBH including 5 HR and 11 2B). His strong defense in RF is highlighted by his above-average arm that prevents runners from advancing. On the mound, he's been a late inning closer or shown his ability to work deep in ball games like he did in the 4-2 victory at St. Francis. It’s power on the mound coming at you with a FB 88-91 MPH on both sides of the plate matched with a late, hard biting SLD (75-78) and hard sinking CHG (80-81). The Cal commit could also hear his name called in next month’s MLB Draft.

Player to Watch - St. Francis

2020 LHP Gianluca Shinn - The long legged lefty didn’t pitch in either of the two regular season matchups against Valley Christian, but looks like the man up today. The Lancers #2 has been tough to hit all season working from a mid slot that has some deception. In an early season viewing he showed a three-pitch mix with the FB 78-85 T87 working with arm side run at the higher velocity, a SLD 66-72 MPH that will sweep under bat paths, and a CHG 71-73 MPH with arm side sink. The Uncommitted 2020 has only given up 11 earned runs in his 49 innings pitched this season while striking out 40.

Archbishop Mitty Monarchs (3) vs Serra Padres (2)

Mitty and Serra split their regular season matchups with each team grabbing the home victory. Both teams come into this game having had streaky seasons. Serra has found their groove lately rattling off 3 straight wins after having a 9-game win streak earlier in the season. They are a balanced team that looks to beat you with solid defense and pitching and timely hitting using some small ball and speed to get their offense going. Mitty's offense has carried them throughout the season and it’s the type of lineup that can get hot in a hurry. They had a 6-game winning streak, beating some of the best teams in Northern California, before a 3-game losing streak was ended yesterday against Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. The Monarchs pitching will need to step up in this one to give them a shot at a Finals appearance.

Player to Watch - Serra

2021 3B Thomas Gould - The young sophomore has been the best hitter for the Padres this season (.330 AVG, 9 2B’s) while also showing strong defensive skills at the hot corner. His large frame is strong with some space for added maturity. At the plate the hit tool is present with a quick trigger and the ability to read pitches early. As he matures his power will come into play more often, right now being able to drive the gaps for XBH’s. He’s shown agility and quickness at 3rd with plenty of arm strength to stick at the position. Mitty pitchers will want to avoid mistakes to this Uncommitted 2021.

Player to Watch - Archbishop Mitty

2020 SS/OF Nick Yorke - Yorke has been the best pure hitter in the Section this season with plus bat-to-ball skills (.495 AVG, 18 XBH’s including 7 HRs) showing the ability to regularly square it up and drive it to any part of the ballpark. The bat speed if for real and pitchers mistakes usually end up deep in gaps or over the fence. His instincts and baseball acumen are off the charts matching it with his average speed to take extra bases and put pressure on opposing defenses. Just recently returned to the defensive side of the ball after a minor shoulder injury early in the season, Yorke will probably be in the OF where he has shown solid range and quick first step reactions. The Arizona commit would be challenging Zobac for best player in the Central Coast Section if he’d been playing defense all season.

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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