N.C.—California’s Mater Dei High knew it had a tall task at hand
when it drew the nation’s No. 1 prep team, Bishop Gorman High of
Las Vegas, in its opening game of this week’s National High School
Invitational, then promptly was paired against No. 2-ranked Carroll
High of Corpus Christi, Texas, in its second encounter.
Monarchs hardly flinched, though, in easily and impressively
dispatching of Bishop Gorman 10-3 on Wednesday and following up with
a convincing 12-0 thrashing of Carroll on Thursday in a game that was
ended after five innings by the tournament’s run rule.
kids came here prepared to compete,” said Mater Dei coach Burt
Call, “and we have played very well so far. We’re always looking
to compete against the best talent we can find, so our kids are used
to this kind of competition.”
Gorman entered the 16-team tournament at 8-0 and Carroll was 17-0
after winning its first game earlier Thursday, but both schools
proved no match for Mater Dei, which entered the tournament with a
pedestrian 7-3 record and a No. 26 national ranking.
don’t think we were underestimated by anyone,” Call said, “but
we got off to a slow start this season (two losses in their first
five games) and that obviously factored into our ranking. I think
it’s overlooked sometimes that there are a lot of good high-school
teams in California, and you’re not going to win every game.”
Monarchs used big third-inning eruptions in both their games to win
going away. Against Bishop Gorman, they turned a 2-1 deficit into an
insurmountable 9-2 lead by scoring eight runs; against Carroll, they
expanded on a 2-0 lead by scoring seven times in the one frame.
Dei has pounded out a total of 30 hits in its two one-sided wins,
including six by junior catcher Jeremy Martinez, who is rated one of
the top catching prospects nationally in the 2013 high-school draft
class. Ty Moore, a UCLA recruit and the team’s top prospect for
this year’s draft, was the unquestioned star for the Monarchs
Thursday in their shutout win over Carroll.
has a knack for performing at a high level at notable, national
baseball events, as he was named the MVP at the 2011 WWBA World
Championship in Jupiter last October. He also participated in the
WWBA 17U National Championship for SGV Arsenal and the Perfect Game
National Showcase last July and June respectively.
Mater Dei's second game at the NHSI, he worked the first four innings
of the game, scattering four hits and striking out four, to chalk up
the win. He also drilled a three-run homer to highlight his team’s
seven-run, third-inning outburst. He is regarded as one of the top
pure hitting prospects in the 2012 prep class.
was emphatic that his Mater Dei squad can compete with anyone, that
the competition his team typically faces on its own turf in
California more than prepares it to face some of the better teams
around the country, such as the elite-level ones participating here
is the biggest state in the country, and it’s also the best from a
competition standpoint,” Moore said. “We face Division I-type
arms all the time back home, and 10-12 of ours kids play all over the
country in travel leagues during the summer. Four or five of our
players have even played on this field in national-level competition
before. So we’re used to playing against the competition we’re
nothing else, this tournament has confirmed the accepted
long-standing notion that the best high-school baseball in the
country is played in California and Florida. Every year, more players
are drafted from those two states than any other, and it’s been
evident here that the most fundamentally-sound baseball has been
played by teams from those high-profile Sun-Belt states.
California and Florida have three teams apiece entered in the
tournament, and the combined records of the clubs from each state
through two days of play is an identical 5-1. The four remaining
unbeaten teams, in fact, are from those two states, and bragging
rights will be very much at stake today when Florida and California
teams square off in both semi-final games. The championship tilt,
matching the two winners, is slated for Saturday.
games today, Mater Dei’s 26th-ranked team will take on
Florida’s unranked Sarasota High, while California’s No. 22
Harvard-Westlake will square off against No. 14 American Heritage.
it’s interesting to note that the four teams in the tournament that
stand above that quartet in the national rankings—No. 1 Bishop
Gorman (0-2), No. 2 Carroll High (1-1), No. 3-ranked Columbus (Ga.)
High (1-1) and No. 10 George Washington of the Bronx, N.Y. (0-2)—are
a combined 2-6, and have all been relegated to consolation games over
the next two days.