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Arroyo/Livermore recap

By Kyle Bonagura
Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 at 9:52 pm in Uncategorized.

I just got done writing my story for tomorrow’s print editions, but there was a lot I wanted to touch on about today’s game.

Obviously a lot of emotion going into some of these comments I’ve been reading, but most of them are coming from people who have an affiliation. Yes, I covered Livermore all year long, so I know more about the Cowboys than I do Arroyo, but I definitely can give an unbiased opinion and hopefully mediate this a little.

Pitching

Alex Jack is legit. He doesn’t have over powering stuff, but he threw strikes and got ahead in the count. I could easily see him turning into a solid Sunday or mid week starter for Fresno State when he gets there.

Singleton didn’t have his best stuff today. That homer he gave up was a typical Livemore HR, high fly balls carry like its Coors field at the park. Without that wind, its either an out or a double. But the field is what it is and Grucza hit it over the fence … it was one of the few hard hit balls. I thought he struggled with his control out of the stretch which led to that wild pitch, but he did only give up 2 hits. No shame in that.

As good as Jack was, J.R. Graham was the best pitcher out there today. 90+ velocity and a nasty slider, only gave up one hit in 4 2/3 and struck out the side when they needed a shutdown inning in the 4th. He’ll get my vote for East Bay Player of the Year, although he struggled at the plate today.

Hitting

Livermore got burned by its lack of depth at the bottom of the lineup. Hitters 6-to-9 went a combined 1-for-10 with 8 strikeouts. That just won’t get it done, you gotta at least put the ball in play.

Neither team hit well, at all, period. Both teams finished with 3 hits. No one should be bragging about having better hitting because, well, neither team hit well, at all, period.

That .379 batting average Arroyo has as a team would be no where near what it was if the Dons played in the EBAL. However, if anyone actually thinks Arroyo would be a .500 team in the EBAL they are flat out wrong. The Dons would have competed for the title, I’m not going to say they would have won it going away. But talent level wise, they are equal to Livermore, Foothill and Monte Vista.

Defense

Props to ErnDog for pointing out the Livermore defensive woes on paper before the game started and stating that won’t fly against the Dons. In the third inning, Richardson got on with a single (on an 0-2 pitch) and Singleton then got a ground ball which could have been two (although it was slowly hit and Petros, who I’ll assume is fast bc he leads off). Worst case, there should have been 2 outs with a runner on first. Instead, they have runners on the corners with 1 out. Perhaps a little rattled, Singleton walked Matheny, who he struck out in the first, to load the bases. A wild pitch then gives Arroyo a run. Jake Sylvester is the best defensive catcher I saw this year (UOP commit) and it looked like he was upset with the pitch Singleton threw, which makes me think they got their signals crossed. That is unacceptable in an NCS semifinal game. A hit by pitch and a weak grounder follow and that lead to a 2-run inning. Props to Arroyo for putting the ball in play (unlike Livermore), I know “put the pressure on, bla bla bla” but those are two lucky runs.

In a sense Livermore beat themselves with that shotty D, but they didn’t hit well enough to win anyways so its all moot.

Bottom line is that Arroyo was the better team today. However, it’s not like they went out a beat Livermore soundly, that was a game between two very evenly matched teams that would probably split 5-5 if they played 10 times.

BTW, Tanner Laran (who hit the HR for Liv, and almost went yard in the 1st also) is the most underrated player in the East Bay. He should have been a first-team all EBAL player.

Ump error in the first inning 

That ball definitely hit the dirt and the umps definitely blew the call. However, as soon as the umpire rung him up he is out right there. Livermore played it right by running down to first (and around to score), but I don’t think it would have happend like that if the ump didn’t signal out. Yes, first base was occupied, but there was 2 outs. When there is two outs, the base doesn’t need to be open to run to first on a dropped third strike. Hope that clears that up.

For you Arroyo fans: With Bower heading off for the State track meet in SoCal, I have assumed the responsibility of covering the Dons the rest of the way. Look for a preview in Saturday’s Daily Review.

I’m sure I’ll keep thinking of things throughout the night I want to say about this game so keep checking back.

-KB

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  • BaseKnocks

    Well said.

  • ErnDog

    Kyle, thanks for the profs. Much appreciated.

    I will offer some added comments later but off to work we go….

    GO DONS!!!

  • big dawg

    about the ump error in the first….the Arroyo catcher threw down to second on the play, even though the strikeout was the 3rd out of the inning….when he threw down the arroyo infielder touched second before the runner who was previously on 1st reached second base…so even if the ball bounced and the ump made the wrong call, Arroyo still technically would have had the force at second.

  • BaseKnocks

    The kid never touched 2nd base. Who would have been smart enough to think that?

  • Kyle Bonagura

    I’m pretty sure he would have been safe at 2nd also…

  • Ballfan

    Kyle, Can you explain the “dropped strike” play in a little more detail? # of outs before pitch, runners on base, what happened after that. It seems like the play has drawn a lot of fire, but since I wasn’t there, I don’t think I have a good handle yet on what exactly went down. Not to stir the pot, but just curious.

  • Kyle Bonagura

    There were two outs in the top of the first.

    Brett Christopher was on first for Livermore and David Hart was at the plate.

    1-2 count, Christopher steals (had it stolen easily), Hart swings and misses at a ball in the dirt. The catcher throws the ball back to the mound and everyone on Arroyo runs in.

    Hart ran to first, then second. Christopher ran all the way around to the plate.

    As soon as Hart swung and missed the umpire at the plate made the signal that he was out, when the catcher should have had to tag him or throw it to first.

    They definitely blew the call.

    I equate it to in football if a ref blows the whistle, the play is dead even if they were faked out and the ball carrier hasn’t been tackled. Can’t blame Arroyo for running in because the ump called him out.

    It’s not like the ball skipped by him to the backstop, Hart would have easily been thrown out and it definitely had no affect on the outcome.

    Hope that helps.

  • Ballfan

    Yes, very much – clear and concise (and for what it’s worth, based on that description, i agree with your conclusions) . What is the discussion about a play at second? same or different play? If there was a throw down to second on the dropped third, that is a force play – same as catcher stepping on plate after dropped third, two outs, bases loaded.

  • Kyle Bonagura

    I explained it a tag wrong. The catcher didn’t throw it back to the mound, he threw it to second to try and get Christopher stealing. What Big Dawg was saying is that the throw to second was essentially getting the force there instead of at first.

    I think he was safe at second, force or no force. Whoever caught the ball (2B or SS) is the one who tossed it back to the mound when he realized there was a strikeout. There still would have been time to go to first on the play because Hart didn’t run to first right away.

  • Ballfan

    Correct mechanic for HP ump would be to call a strike on swing, but not ring him up. Here’s where he then needs help from his partner(s) [assume they had a 3-man crew]. Base ump will signal, by for example pointing to the ground for ball in dirt and clenched fist for ball caught, which will then allow HP ump to make no further call – signifying play on, or “he’s out” – so that the catcher then knows no further play is required. Sounds like here the HP made the out call without help from partner – bad mechanic = bad call, but as you say, appears not to have affected outcome.

  • Kyle Bonagura

    Exactly.

    The motion the HP ump made was in the air with a closed fist, that was the mistake.

  • baystuff

    Go Dons!! All the best in the Championship! Well deserved.

  • DONPRIDE

    Dons all the way!! College park won’t know what hit em.

  • Random Guy

    Kyle that last paragraph before gettin to the umps mistake is cool.The comment is greatly appreciated. Wish we could of been interviewed by you one more time.
    -TL