Joe DeMers named state’s top sophomore

Cal-Hi Sports announced their state baseball players of the year on Monday, and College Park High’s Joe DeMers was named Sophomore of the Year. DeMers was a standout pitcher and also one of the Falcons’ top hitters. He went 10-0 with an ERA of 1.00 and 63 strikeouts in 63 innings, helping College Park reach the NCS Division II semifinals. As a hitter, he posted a .373 batting average with 25 RBIs. DeMers is a Washington commit with a 95 mph fastball.


Final 2013 East Bay baseball poll

Team Record Points Last week
1. Campolindo (5) 20-6-1 75 2
2. Amador Valley 18-10 70 11
3. Granada 24-2 65 1
4. De La Salle 19-8 58 6
5. Acalanes 20-7 57 7
6. Clayton Valley 22-5 50 6
7. College Park 20-6-1 44 t4
8. James Logan 19-8 41 8
9. California 19-7 35 t4
10. Newark Memorial 19-7 26 10
11.St. Mary’s 19-5 20 NR
t12. Alhambra 16-10 17 9
t12. Heritage 17-9 17 14
t14. Concord 15-6-1 7 NR
t14. Freedom 16-6 7 12

Also receiving votes:  Heritage (14-8, 4 points), San Leandro (19-5, 4 points), Alameda (15-9, 1), Liberty (15-7, 1). The East Bay Baseball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay. Records are through Saturday.


NCS baseball championship game previews

Division I

No. 4 Amador Valley (17-10) vs. No. 2 De La Salle (19-7), Saturday, 4 p.m., Saint Mary’s College

The Spartans are looking to become the first team in the highest level of NCS baseball play to repeat as champions since they accomplished the feat in 1996-97. To do so, they’ll have to beat an East Bay Athletic League that swept the season series from De La Salle. Amador Valley beat the Spartans 3-2 on March 28 in Pleasanton and 7-4 on May 1 in Concord. De La Salle has only lost once since then. The Dons immediately went on a four-game losing streak after that last win over the Spartans. The streak started with a deflating 15-0 loss to Granada. But Amador has rediscovered itself in the playoffs and upset the top-seeded Matadors, handing Granada only its second loss this season, in the semifinals to reach the championship game for the first time since winning the title in 2010.

Division II

No. 2 Campolindo (20-6-1) vs. No. 1 Casa Grande (27-2), Saturday, 1 p.m., Santa Rosa Junior College

The Cougars are looking to make history by capturing their fourth straight NCS title. That would tie an NCS record set twice, most recently by their opponent Casa Grande, which won four successive NCS 3A Redwood Empire titles from 2004-07. St. Vincent also won four straight Class A titles from 1986-89, but no East Bay team has ever accomplished the feat. The Gauchos survived thewildest game of the playoffs to reach the finals, beating College Park 12-11 on a 13th-inning walk off home run. College Park blew leads of 7-2, 10-7 and 11-10 in the late innings.

Division III

No. 3 Analy (23-5) vs. No. 1 Acalanes (19-7), Saturday, 1 p.m., Saint Mary’s College

The Dons are after their third straight NCS title. They shared the crown in 2011 with San Marin when the title game was rained out and won it outright last year. They rode the arm of John York in a semifinal win over Sonoma Valley. The senior fired an 83-pitch perfect game in a 1-0 win. He had 15 strikeouts and six groundouts and not a single ball went to the outfield. Analy reached the finals with a marathon 5-4 win over Sir Francis Drake that lasted 11 innings. The Tigers are looking for their third NCS title. They won the 2A Redwood Empire title in 2000 and also won it way back in 1921.

Division IV

No. 3 Piedmont (19-9) vs. No. 1 St. Mary’s (18-5), Friday, 5 p.m., Saint Mary’s College

The Highlanders are in the title game for the first time since winning the NCS 2A East Bay title in 2008. Their coach at the time was John Nelson, who is now at St. Mary’s. Piedmont and St. Mary’s are former Bay Shore Athletic League rivals, but in the new league configurations, the Highlanders are in the West Alameda County Conference-Shoreline League and the Panthers are in the Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division. Piedmont was the champion of the WACC-Shoreline while St. Mary’s won the TCAL-Rock. The Panthers have been dangerous all season behind their duo of aces in pitchers Devin Mahoney and Kevin Flemer. Mahoney pitched St. Mary’s to its semifinal win over Moreau Catholic, lining up the Oregon State-bound Flemer for the championship game. It’s the fourth time in the past five years St. Mary’s has made it to the finals and it’s looking for its second championship in that stretch.

Division V

No. 2 Head-Royce (22-5) vs. No. 1 Valley Christian (19-7), Saturday, 4 p.m., Fremont Christian

These Bay Counties League-East rivals met three times, with Valley Christian winning twice. Head-Royce’s win came in the only game in the set in which ace Steven Farinaro, one of the top pitchers in the Bay Area, was on the mound. He’s likely to pitch in this championship game. The UCLA-signee has an 11-1 record, 0.81 ERA and has struck out 146 batters in 69 innings. Valley Christian, which won the BCL-East title, is looking for its first NCS crown. Head-Royce in the defending champ and has won two of the past four titles.


NCS baseball championship sites

There’s nothing set in stone yet, but the North Coast Section Division I baseball championship game will likely be at Saint Mary’s College on either Friday or Saturday. For Division II, if top seeded Casa Grande beats College Park (no easy task with Joe DeMers likely to be on the mound), that championship game would be played Saturday at Santa Rosa JC.


East Bay baseball poll — 5/13

The baseball poll is back here on the blog. Sorry, I’ve been off the past month so I haven’t been around to post the poll here, but with a week left in the regular season, here’s our latest. This is actually the second to last poll of the year. We won’t have one next week when NCS starts (there’s no reason to at that point, since things will get decided on the field). We’ll come back with the final poll after NCS is complete.

Team Record Points Last week
1. Granada (5) 21-1 75 1
2. Campolindo 15-6-1 70 2
3. Clayton Valley 18-4 63 3
t4. California 17-5 58 8
t4. College Park 16-5-1 58 6
6. De La Salle 15-7 51 5
7. Acalanes 16-7 45 4
8. James Logan 15-7 39 NR
9. Alhambra 14-8 32 11
10. Newark Memorial 16-6 28 10
11. Amador Valley 13-9 24 7
12. Washington 15-7 22 9
13. Bishop O’Dowd 16-8 11 14
t14. Concord 15-6-1 7 NR
t14. Freedom 16-6 7 12

Also receiving votes:  Heritage (14-8, 4 points), San Leandro (19-5, 4 points), Alameda (15-9, 1), Liberty (15-7, 1). The East Bay Baseball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay. Records are through Saturday.


East Bay Baseball poll — 4/8

It’s finally time for us to debut our baseball polls this season. We’ll have our first baseball/softball package running in Thursday’s paper and that’s when this poll will debut in print. But here’s a sneak peak.

Team Record Points Last year
1. Granada (5) 12-0 75 10
2. Amador Valley 9-3 66 NR
3. De La Salle 7-4 63 2
4. Campolindo 5-6-1 57 1
5. Acalanes 9-4 50 6
6. College Park 8-3-1 45 4
7. Newark Memorial 9-3 40 9
8. Alhambra 9-4 35 NR
9. Washington 9-3 33 NR
10. Clayton Valley 8-3 31 12
11. Heritage 8-5 27 NR
t12. California 8-3 20 5
t12. Deer Valley 9-4 20 8
14. Dougherty Valley 8-5 14 3
15. St. Mary’s 7-3 8 t13

Also receiving votes:  Foothill (6-6, 7 points), Freedom (8-4, 4), El Cerrito (10-4-1, 3), Berkeley (9-4, 1), San Leandro (10-3, 1). The East Bay Baseball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay. Records are through Saturday.


Baseball: EBAL/DFAL Challenge on Saturday

Most of us are caught up in the high school basketball season, but a pretty cool baseball event is slated for Saturday. It’s the First annual EBAL/DFAL Challenge. Dougherty Valley coach Brian Freitas is serving as the event director for the challenge, which will take place at three different venues.

At Granada High, Amador Valley will face Alhambra at noon, followed by Granada vs. Dublin at 3 p.m.

At San Ramon Valley, California meets Las Lomas at noon and San Ramon Valley plays Acalanes at 3 p.m.

At Dougherty Valley, there are two excellent games with Monte Vista facing Dougherty Valley at noon, followed by a showdown between De La Salle and Campolindo at 3 p.m.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for childer 12 and under, and under 5 is free.


High school baseball updates

I’ve had baseball news piling up over the past few weeks, so I figured I’d throw it out there in one fell swoop.

On the coaching front, we’ve had several changes. For starters, College Park has hired former Acalanes head man and DVC assistant Andy Tarpley to replace Matt Lisle. Lisle is now an assistant for the University of Oregon softball team. Tarp attended several College Park playoff games, and his hiring came as no surprise.

At Clayton Valley, Casey Coakley is returning to lead the Eagles on the diamond. Herc Pardi will remain with the program in his former role of pitching coach. Coakley returns from Los Medanos, where he’s coached the past couple seasons.

Deer Valley has filled its vacancy at the top, picking Dan Peters to take over for Dennis Luquet. Luquet was hired as the head coach at Diablo Valley College. Peters, a College Park grad, has an impressive resume of his own with stints as pitching coach at DVC and LMC as well as a brief run as head coach at Clayton Valley.

On the recruiting front, most people know by now that Cal has snagged top-shelf local pitchers in De La Salle’s Andrew Buckley and Campolindo’s Matt Ladrech (Ladrech is only a junior). NorCalPreps.com’s Cameron Schott reported today that Ladrech’s teammate, infielder Denis Karas, is now also headed to Cal. Karas is also a junior, so that means that over the next two years the pipeline from Campo to Cal will be plenty busy. Current senior Robbie Tenerowicz is Cal-bound after this season.


Liberty’s Zaharias signs with Sonoma State

Liberty High pitcher Stevan Zaharias has signed to play baseball at Sonoma State, beginning next season.

Zaharias was a standout for the Lions this season, earning first team all-BVAL honors with a 6-3 record. He owned a miniscule 0.87 ERA, opposing hitters batted .185 against him and he tossed four complete games. He struck out 62 and walked just 12 in 64.1 innings. He helped lead Liberty to its first playoff berth since 2008.