Thursday, April 02, 2015

Notes From The Boras - Day Four

The Northern California edition of the Scott Boras Baseball Classic is now over for 2015 and this year's tournament will likely be remembered for its excellent pitching. Oh, you have to throw in quite a few defensive web gems into the mix, too.

At least four of the games went into extra innings, two of them including Thursday's championship game, were scoreless after seven frames. Eventually, St. Francis pulled out a 1-0, 10-inning win over Clovis West to earn the right to face Boras' Southern California champion on May 2 at Cal State - Fullerton for the mythical state champion of baseball.

The other game scoreless after regulation was a second round contest between Granite Bay and Serra High School of San Mateo. Those two went 11 innings without crossing the plate before Serra notched a pair in the 12th frame to win, 2-0.

St. Francis opened play at the Boras with a 5-0 win over Davis as Jeremy Ydens threw a no-hitter. He went the distance, striking out six and walking two.

Another pitching gem was turned in by Bellarmine's Troy Burg who tossed a complete game one-hitter at Stockdale and won, 4-0.

Serra took third place at the Boras by defeating Elk Grove Thursday, 7-2.

"Good pitching and good teams," was how Elk Grove head coach Jeff Carlson described his observation of the 2015 Boras.

The Thundering Herd played the longest game of the tournament. Elk Grove was knotted at one in a semi-final game against Clovis West Wednesday but couldn't get anything off Golden Eagle reliever Joe Cleary in the final 6 1/3 innings. Clovis finally scored in the 14th inning to win, 2-1.

Clovis West head coach Kevin Patrick pretty well summed it up for the other clubs who traveled from outside Sacramento to play in the four-day tournament at McAuliffe Fields in Sacramento.

"It's an opportunity to play great baseball and get away from league (opponents), let our kids relax a little bit, but compete high quality competition," Patrick said. "This is a first-class event. Scott Boras is a huge name. Gerry (Boras) and Jeff (Carlson) at Elk Grove do a fantastic job in hosting this event."

Patrick's Golden Eagles did show plenty of depth in pitching allowing only seven runs in four games.

"We didn't come here to finish 13th of 14th, we came to win, obviously it took a great effort to win our games," he said.

One of the clubs Clovis West defeated to get to the championship game was Oak Ridge. They handed the Trojans their first loss of the 2015 season in a 5-4 win in the first round of the Boras.

The Boras reached far outside the Sacramento area to place teams in this year's tournament. Two schools from Bakersfield, Liberty and Stockdale, were a part of this year's tournament along with five from the Bay Area: Archbishop Mitty, St. Francis, J. Serra, Pacific Grove and Bellarmine. Maria Carrillo High School from Santa Rosa also drove to the capital city to be a part of the Boras.

From the Sac-Joaquin Section were Yuba City, Granite Bay, Oak Ridge, Davis and Turlock.

The only other Elk Grove school at the Boras was Pleasant Grove, but it was a tough four days for the Eagles. They lost all their games, albeit two were by just a run.

That had head coach Rusty McLain scratching his head.

"I don't feel very good," he admitted. "It's kind of a bummer that we're not on the top end of things. I think we in games and we're playing decent ball at times, but we're not playing well enough to win."

Pleasant Grove need to right the ship immediately because on Monday they open the Delta League play with a game against Jesuit.

"Our effort and our camaraderie is good, so we'll be fine," McLain said.

Davis, the defending Section Division I champion, also struggled this week. They were 1-3 in their four games. Despite that disappointing showing, Blue Devils' coach Dan Ariola enjoyed being in the Boras.

"I love it. I am just happy we're in (the tournament)," he said. "It's a great atmosphere and they do such a good job making sure we're taken care of."

Davis will open its Delta League slate with Franklin on Monday.

"We always play better after our Easter tournament," Ariola said. "Last year we went 1-3 in our Easter tournament then came back the next week and swept Grant and that got us going. It just gets you better when you play this good competition."

And, there's already a long waiting list of teams that want to be a part of the 2016 Boras Tournament, according to the event director Gerry Boras, a brother of Scott, the infamous professional sports agent who graduated from Elk Grove High School. Boras says there's a process he'll go through to determine which teams he'll invite for next year's event.

"It all depends on the history of the team, how well they did this year, how they did past years and how their future rosters look for 2016," Boras said.

He also thinks the Northern California tournament will once again be at McAuliffe Fields.

"It's been great," Boras said. "We just need to shore up the scoreboards, but that's about it. Everything's worked well."

His comment referred to the numerous lights burned out on the scoreboards of both diamonds at McAuliffe. There were some frames on those boards where there were so many burned-out lights that only small parts of some numerals could be illuminated, leaving fans to guess at numbers.

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