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.
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.
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.
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.