Well, we’ve reached the end of the NCS baseball season. Tomorrow, Acalanes and Albany will square off for the 2A crown and De La Salle will take on Alameda for the 3A title. While these will be two good games, there are a few key matchups to watch out for if you make the trip down to Union City to take in the action.
3A final: DLS vs. Alameda:
Pitching: Alameda will send Kenny Arnerich to the mound. For the Spartans, conventional wisdom says Taylor Reid will get the call after three sterling innings in relief in the semifinal. If this becomes a bullpen game, De La Salle has the huge advantage with Jared Wagner and Tyler Hess available. Alameda would need to go with No. 3 pitcher Jason Miller.
Offense: The big bopping Spartans bludgeon the ball with amazing consistency so it will be up to Arnerich to keep them off balance. Conversely, the Hornets do all the little things that help win ballgames. They bunt, they run, they manufacture runs. We’ll see which style prevails.
Intangibles: Alameda comes in as the defending champ, so there won’t be an awe factor to contend with. Likewise for DLS, as the Spartans were there two years ago. Internet scuttlebutt has the Spartans winning big. I can definitely see that happening, but if Arnerich is on, this might be Alameda’s game to lose.
2A final: Acalanes vs. Albany
Pitching: Graeme Agate toes the slab for Albany and Mike Guglielmo goes for the Dons. Both are the kind of bulldog competitor coaches love. Neither is overpowering but there is no question that they’ll both leave everything on the field. If bullpens enter into the equation, we could see both teams’ starters from Wednesday (Kyle Shipley for Albany and Scott Emery for Acalanes). No clear-cut advantage here.
Offense: Just like in the 3A game, one team pounds the ball and the other does the little things to win. Acalanes just rakes, plain and simple. One through nine in their order is capable of getting the big hit. Nana Yiadom, the Cougars No. 9 hitter, was an unlikely hero in their win over St. Mary’s on Wednesday but he embodies what the Albany offense is all about. He’s fast, he can bunt and he has good bat control. The entire Albany team fits these criteria and Zach Babitt and Agate provide plenty of pop at the top of the lineup. Still, the offensive advantage goes to Acalanes.
Intangibles: Acalanes has been the team to beat all year long. Then again, so was St. Mary’s and Albany took the Panthers out. The question here is will Acalanes’ bats continue to rip the cover off the ball? If they do, this won’t be much of a game. For Albany to win, it’ll have to play flawless defense.
So, meet us in Union City tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the 3A championship. If you can’t get there, come right back here to the East Bay Prep Sports blog as Chace Bryson and I will be blogging from both games. See you tomorrow.
– Ben Enos