|Selector||3-A: No. 15 College Park vs.
No. 5 Arroyo
|2-A: No. 7 Piedmont vs.
No. 1 Northgate
|Jimmy Durkin||College Park||Piedmont|
|Ben Enos||College Park||Northgate|
As for the 3-A game, Arroyo’s fans pleased don’t get alarmed and start screaming bloody murder at me for picking against you. Actually, you should probably be happy that I’ve picked against the Dons. I was stupid enough to pick against Arroyo in each of the first three games of the playoffs and the Dons have promptly won all three so me picking College Park is probably a good sign for you. As for my reasoning for picking College Park, I’m going with the team of destiny pick. For a No. 15 seed to make it all the way here — while only giving up one run mind you — it just seems like they have something going for them. Much of the same could be said for Arroyo, especially after it upset the No. 1 team in the state. Anyhow, I have to make a pick so I’m choosing College Park, but that in no way means I’m ruling out the Dons.
On to the 2-A, it’s probably predictable that I’m picking Piedmont. I’ve picked them the whole way, so why stop now. I did consider switching my pick after I just got off the phone with Piedmont coach John Nelson, who talked about how his team has gotten motivation from being the underdog all year long. Mind you, this is a Piedmont team that I don’t believe ever cracked our top-15 poll and in the last one we put out on May 14 (the end of season poll comes out next week) finally got a mere two votes. As I’ve said repeatedly, I love the pitching combo of Bryce Chu (UC Davis signee) and Jordan Remer (USF). Remer will be on the bump at the Coliseum and he’s excited for that opportunity. To be honest, being based in Oakland, I don’t know much about Northgate, other that that they can rake it. I haven’t seen them play yet though.
After seeing Arroyo beat Livemore on Wednesday, there is no way I can pick against the Dons. That is a solid team all the way through the lineup and their defense was flawless. I’ve heard great things about MacHado (8-1, 1.85) who will be on the bump. I saw College Park knock off Foothill, but came away thinking that CP was very beatable and Foothill would win 9 of 10 against them. Although, then they go win 2 straight without allowing a run against Monte Vista (which scored 8 the game before) and Clayton Valley (which scored 20 in its first round game).
I haven’t seen either of the 2A teams and Remer sounds good, but Northgate’s impressive record leads me to believe this is their year.
I wish I could be there to watch the Dons play a historic game in McAffee Coliseum, but I am at state track in SoCal and might get to watch another Arroyo happening as Derek Thomas has a chance to win the state title in the boys 800 meter. That would be something. Anyway, back to baseball. It’s scary to see what College Park’s pitching staff has been able to do to opposing offenses in the playoffs, but I think Arroyo’s approach on offense is another something coach Eric Anderson should be proud of and applauded for. The Dons are the ultimate opposite-field hitting team. We all know high school pitchers love to live on the outside corner _ most of the time that gets outs _ but these kids know how to go the other way. That has been huge to Arroyo’s success this season. When watching the game, take notice of how many balls the Dons hit the other way or up the middle. As long as they don’t get caught up in that, “I want to try to hit one out of a pro field” syndrome then I have to think Arroyo can put up enough runs to win. For those that know baseball, it is special when a team can hit as one whole unit. And for those that know high school baseball, it is hard to teach kids to take the opposite-field single (and sometimes home run like Nick Grucza) rather than try to yank everything out of the ball park. Very good job by the entire Arroyo coaching staff this year and, of course, to the kids.
3A: A No. 15 seed in the championship game? Come on now. I play the horses occasionally and it’s just good sense to pick the longshot at those odds. Casey Goonan should be on the bump for CP and he’s a bulldog with good control and a great pitcher’s mentality. I have to confess I don’t know a ton about Arroyo but I fully expect this to be a low-scoring game with two good pitchers going at it. Gonna be a close one.
2A: Normally, good pitching beats good hitting but I’m willing to bet against that credo today. Northgate is very solid fundamentally and I think that trumps the fantastic arm of Jordan Remer today. Piedmont has some good wins in the postseason but I’m not sure the Highlanders have seen an offense of Northgate’s caliber. But hey, I’ve seen all of about five baseball games this year so what the heck do I know.