The major league debut with the Oakland A’s of Bishop O”Dowd product Tyson Ross brought back a lot of good memories for me of the 2005 season. I covered a lot of O’Dowd baseball that season — pretty much every game of significance — and so I saw a lot of Tyson Ross. He was one of those players back then who you could tell had a pretty good chance of making it to the big leagues and I’m honestly not all that surprised by his rapid ascension and his success. Looking back through some stuff I dug up this story I wrote about O’Dowd’s 2005 HAAL finale against Castro Valley, which was a game to determine the league champion. What makes the article even more interesting to read is that it speaks of Ross’ showdown with Jason Castro, another player who will likely soon make his major league debut. Castro is a top-50 prospect (he’s No. 31 on mlb.com’s list) and is considered the Astros’ catcher of the future. And considering the fact the Astros may be the worst team in the majors, it may not be long before he’s called up.
Here’s the story:
By Jimmy Durkin
OAKLAND — The game that everybody had hoped for came down to the matchup everybody wanted.
Cal-bound Tyson Ross of Bishop O’Dowd High was facing Stanford-bound Jason Castro of Castro Valley, who represented the potential tying run in the top of seventh inning Friday with the Hayward Area Athletic League title on the line.
Castro bounced Ross’ 1-2 pitch to Dragons second baseman Carlos Perez, who fired to Chris Marshall at first to clinch O’Dowd’s third consecutive HAAL title. The 4-1 win also gave the Dragons a perfect regular season at 23-0.
“It’s great. Last time (Castro) got the better of me,” Ross said of the teams’ first matchup when Castro went 3-for-4. “Today I just came out more focused and got the job done. I love having to come down to the last game of the season. It was just an awesome game to play.”
Ross allowed just four hits and one unearned run to improve his HAAL record to 6-0 and lower his ERA to 0.53. He struck out 15, walked one and hit four batters. That bout with wildness helped the Trojans (17-6, 14-2 HAAL) bring the tying run to the plate.
Ross hit pinch-hitter Joe Salazar, and Myles Schroeder reached on an error. After Ross struck out Chris Steele, he retired Castro to end it.
“We weren’t going to give Castro anything to hit,” O’Dowd coach Joel Kaufman said. ‘We weren’t going to let him beat us. … He’s the best player on their team, and I’m a proponent that you never let the best player beat you.”
The Dragons (16-0 HAAL) should be a lock for the No. 1 seed in the North Coast Section playoffs. The seeds will be announced Sunday.
“We didn’t make (going) undefeated one of our goals, but because of what we needed to accomplish it became one of the goals,” Kaufman said. “We really feel now we deserve the No. 1 seed. We went out and beat a good Castro Valley team, and now we’ve got three or four more games to win in NCS, and that’s the goal.”
O’Dowd opened the scoring with two runs in the second. Marshall led off with a single. Schroeder, Castro Valley’s starter, struck out the next two Dragons before losing control. Nikko Wahl and Bryce Mendonca drew consecutive walks to load the bases, and Jeff Kobernus was hit by a pitch to bring in a run. Schroeder then walked Ross to give O’Dowd a 2-0 lead before getting David Williams to ground out.
Max Shupe added another run for O’Dowd in the third with a solo homer, and the Dragons scored an unearned run in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead.
Castro Valley’s lone run came after Castro led off the sixth with a walk. Rylan Sandoval was hit by a pitch, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. With one out, Greg Boucher hit an RBI groundout to narrow the gap to 4-1.
“We did pretty well,” Castro Valley coach Jon Lavine said. “We’re headed in the right direction heading into the playoffs.”