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National Classic Tournament

 



Thursday, April 12
4/13/2012 1:21:24 PM

Championship: El Dorado (CA) vs El Toro (CA)
El Toro charged into the finals having put up 20 runs in their three games to get to the title game matchup with El Dorado, including six runs in the opener against James River (VA), who unleashed their ace (and 2012 MLB Draft prospect) LHP Nate Kirby.

But the championship game served as a statement from a pair of talented El Dorado hurlers who held El Toro's deep and dangerous lineup in check.

2013 RHP Joe Record had never pitched in a varsity game before the 2012 National Classic, and had missed the early part of this season with a hand injury suffered on the basepaths. Perfect Game has well over 100,000 players in an extensive database, Record was not among them (that will change quickly). His performance at the National Classic served as a huge coming out party.

On Wednesday Record came on in relief against IMG Academies, and induced a pair of groundouts before ending the perfect inning of relief with a strikeout. He worked 87-89 and threw a pair of 75 mph splitters. He pitched so well that coach Dave Moore handed him the ball to start the National Classic championship game.

On one of the biggest stages a high school pitcher can find himself in, Record rose to the occasion. He worked at 83-86 as a starter, touching 87 once in the 7th inning. He continued to use his splitter as an out pitch, also working in a deep low 70s curveball. His fastball induced a lot of weak ground balls, thanks to the sink and cut action he imparts on the ball. He has a long stride, with lower half mechanics that bare a slight resemblence to Tim Lincecum, though less exaggerated.

Record took a no-hitter into the 7th inning (though he had yielded an unearned run in the third). On his 96th pitch of the evening, Record made his first mistake, leaving a fastball up to 2013 OF Logan Roberts, who broke up Record's no-hit bid with a single into left field.

Record's lack of experience on the mound, slender frame and loose arm action all suggest that what he showed at the National Classic may be just the tip of the iceberg. He left to a load ovation from the large crowd of supporters from the host El Dorado Hawks after 6 1/3 innings, with six strikeouts under his belt.

El Dorado brought on 2012 LHP Kyle Twomey, who threw a 14 K no-hitter in Monday's opener, to close it out. Twomey would walk a batter and allow an inherited run on a wild pitch, but ultimately slammed the door, lifting El Dorado to their first ever National Classic championship in 23 attempts.

Record earned Most Outstanding Pitcher honors, while Twomey was named tournament MVP. El Toro 2012 OF Nick Villar garnered Most Outstanding Offensive performer.

Scouting impressions from day 4:
-2012 SS/RHP Chris Rivera had an intriguing performance behind the plate catching Twomey's no-hitter on Monday that had scouts wondering aloud about how much upside he would have as a catching prospect. But the webgem he made to end the 6th inning, a barehand-and-throw in one motion play on a slow chopper several steps onto the infield grass reminded everyone just what he is capable of at short. He also earned a win on the mound on Tuesday and hit a walk-off HR in the same game. Basically, Rivera can do just about anything on the diamond.

-2012 LHP Kyle Twomey has always been a highly projectable pitching prospect that scouts can dream on. This week he showed significant strides with his command and his curveball. Which were two his biggest question marks as a draft prospect entering the spring. He doesn't light up radar guns, but lives in the upper 80s with hard tailing action and climbs into the low 90s on occasion. His draft stock is on the rise and is a very interesting prospect.

-2014 CF Nate Alam continued to impress in the championship game, as he has done all tournament long. The kid can just flat out hit, and late in the game he showed that he can use all fields, roping a hard liner to the opposite gap in right center, after having consistently driven the ball to the pull gap througout the week. He also has shown very good reads and routes defensively, and was finally able to show off his range on a ball in the right center gap.

-2013 SS/3B Seve Romo is a known commodity to Perfect Game, having been a mainstay of the talented San Gabriel Valley Arsenal lineup at several national level tournaments. But we hadn't seen him play 3B much, a position he has moved to with El Dorado to form one of the top left sides of an infield you'll find in the country. He also showed very good plate coverage by driving a hard ground ball right at 1B Dan James late in the game. It went down as a 3-unassisted in the scorebook, but it was a tough pitch on the outside corner with movement from sidearm RHP Stephen Villines that Romo put a good swing on.

-2012 SS Jason Yano tends to get lost in the shuffle offensively for El Toro, as he bats ninth and is the only Charger hitter who isn't build like a linebacker. But he stands out defensively at shortstop, his arm strength is well above average, bordering on plus. He moves well defensively and showed solid range, he'll make a quality defender at the next level and contributes with the bat as well.

-2012 OF Nick Villar was a good choice for Most Outstanding Offensive Performer, he generates good bat speed with an easy fluid swing and is a dangerous hitter.

-2013 OF Drew Winter throws his hands really well at the plate and is a solid leadoff hitter for El Dorado. He also showed off a strong arm from right field.

-2012 LHP/OF PJ Conlon made one of the toughest catches of the game look easy, tracking a rocket that was directly over his head off the bat of 2013 3B Jonah Arenado onto the warning track and made the catch over the shoulder. He's a well rounded player who showed good bat control at the plate, though we didn't get to see him pitch this week.

Consolation Championship: Cypress (CA) vs Pacifica (CA)
2013 C Tyler Alamo made his much anticipated return to the Cypress lineup, slotting into the third spot in the order and occupying his usual spot behind the plate. Alamo didn't have a single quality swing in the game, looking a bit rusty after the layoff, but still went 2-for-3. His bat speed and wrist strength allowed him punch balls over the infield without having to be balanced and direct to the ball. And as we've seen in the past, when he squares the ball up it jumps off the bat hard. He also popped a 1.90 between innings, with a 79 mph throwing velocity, and showed surprising agility for his size behind the plate.

Aside from a five run 3rd inning by Cypress, the game was an otherwise scoreless affair.

-Cypress 2013 SS David Fletcher has impressed all week in our first look at the talented infielder. He is an obviously quick runner, and after several days of waiting for an opportunity to get a home-to-first time on him, he posted a 4.59 with a wide turn on what was nearly a double, but the ball his off of the left field fence a couple of inches on the wrong side of the foul line.

-Pacifica 2012 3B Kyle Davis showed the ability to use all fields with a compact swing and quick bat that he can likely accelerate with effort to drive the ball with occasional power. He also showed good lateral agility defensively and is a good all around player.

Other impressions from the final day of the National Classic
-James River (VA) 2014 SS Cullen Large had a good showing against Chaminade (CA). His spread stance at the plate made it difficult for him to make adjustments against El Toro's pitching earlier in the week, but on Thursday he showed the ability to pick up the pitch better out of the hand to clear his lower half and start his swing much better. He may develop the strength to drive the ball with authority in spite of an approach that lends itself more to contact once he matures physically, he has the hand speed to develop into a high level hitter.

-Ocean View (CA) 2012 OF Tim Robinson has a big strong compact build that is not your prototypical center fielder body type. He looks more like Kirby Puckett than Dexter Fowler. But his physical strength allows him to generate good bat speed and he runs well thanks to a muscular lower half. He has an aggressive swing with raw power, he's a player who likely gets overlooked because he doesn't neatly fit into a standard mold of a prospect, but he has tools that play.

-Sunrise Mountain (AZ) 2013 OF Brick Paskiewicz showed quick hands at the plate, with good separation of his upper and lower halves. He lacks strength at present and swings with a contact oriented approach, going out and finding the barrel out front and gets down the line quickly as his left handed swing carries him towards first base. Teammates 2012 SS/RHP Nick White and 2012 OF Draye Turner also showed interesting hitting tools, while White got the start on the mound sitting 81-84.

-Bishop Amat (CA) 2014 OF Scott Hurst continued to show off his high level athleticism and good bat speed with surprising pop that is belied by his small stature. He crushed a double to left against Spanish Fork (UT), showing that he can drive the ball with authority to all fields. Fellow 2014 teammate C Bryan Hernandez had some struggles defenisvely early in the year, but has shown a lot of progress learning the catching position and was a solid receiver this week. The tools are there (as evidenced by his 2.00 between innings pop time), and he's shown improvement with experience.
 
4/12/2012 11:02:27 AM

Rain threatened to interrupt day 3 of the National Classic, with the morning game at El Dorado HS pushed back an hour and briefly suspended, but it turned out to be a hiccup in another great day of high level baseball at the National Classic.

El Dorado (CA) vs IMG Academies (FL)
IMG Academies looked very strong through their first two games, as each of the four pitchers that had seen the mound in the tourney hit at least 89 mph on the radar gun (including two sophomores).

But it was a different story against El Dorado, who broke out with a five run fourth inning to pull away from what had been a close, low scoring affair in the early innings.

El Dorado got offense from all over the place, as nine-hole hitting 2014 CF Nate Alam went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs. The only out Alam made was on a hard line drive to left center field that was caught, he's a good young player to watch out for in the future, showing good routes and reads in centerfield.

While nobody lit up the radar gun in this one, there were a pair of interesting pitchers. El Dorado 2013 RHP Joe Record came on in relief to close it out, sitting 87-89 with his fastball, and worked in a nasty 75 mph splitter with hard tumble. He's an unknown player coming off an injury plagued sophomore season but that is likely to change. The other surprise was IMG 2012 RHP Lucas Friss, who had so much tail to his fastball that one scout noted that it looked like a screwball. He also had good tailing life on his 74 mph changeup and big depth to his 69 mph curveball. While Friss topped out at 84 mph he was highly effective.

El Dorado 2012 LHP/OF PJ Conlon broke the game open in the fourth, with his second hit of the game, a two-run triple to right center that put the game out of reach.

There was a scary moment at the end of the game, when El Dorado's middle infielders SS Chris Rivera and 2B Austin Logas collided as both chased down a low fly ball for the final out of the game in shallow right center field. Rivera, who had ranged far to his left on the play, stayed down for a few minutes after the collision, leaving the crowd at Cal State Fullerton's Goodwin Field in a collective hush. But eventually Rivera got up under his own power and appeared to be fine, much to the relief of the temporarily silenced crowd.

El Toro (CA) vs Esperanza (CA)
It is readily apparent from the moment they take the field for pregame warmups that El Toro means business. They whip the ball around the infield before the game as well as anyone in this loaded tournament. They have such a surplus that 2013 3B Jonah Arenado who shows a strong arm from 3B during the pregame warmups is relegated to DH duties by the highly talented 2012 3B/RHP Dan Conmy. Arenado also looks out of place hitting eighth in the order, at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds with a long powerful swing.

Similarly, 2013 1B Dan James doesn't look like your typical leadoff hitter at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, and while he had a quiet game, he has good raw power from the left side. James is followed in the order by the strong and compact left handed hitting 2B Mitchell Tolman, who won the Home Run derby on Saturday, Tolman got pitched around in this game, setting the table for the heart of the order.

2012 CF Nick Villar had a big day out of the three hole and has shown consistent development with the bat over the past couple of years, blasting a double that registered at 94 mph off the bat. Conmy also had a big game in the middle of the El Toro order, and was a Home Run shy of the cycle.

Esperanza's standout prospect to this point has been 2012 CF Nick Catalano, who has a quick bat, runs well and has a polished hit tool. 2012 1B/RHP Brad Anderson certainly did his part to keep Esperanza in the game, and gave them a shot at climbing out of the deep hole they fell into after trailing 8-0 in the 2nd inning. After an RBI single to get Esperanza on the board, Anderson came on in relief in the 4th inning, the first inning that El Toro didn't score. He would hold them scoreless again in the 5th and would drive in a total of three runs, while scoring another.

It wasn't enough though, as El Toro held on for a 9-6 victory to move into the championship game where they will face El Dorado.

Pacifica (CA) vs Bishop Alemany (CA)
Coming into the National Classic Alemany had put up 35 runs in their previous two games, but the bats have cooled off considerably since then. For the second time in three games at the Classic, the Warriors got shutout.

Pacifica 2014 LHP Taylor Franzen threw a CG shutout, allowing four hits and two walks, while striking out four. Franzen topped out at 83 and worked in a 69 mph curveball and a 74 mph changeup. Things got interesting in the 7th and it looked like Franzen might not be able to finish, but after a brief mound visit the sophomore southpaw bared down and got the final outs to put the finishing touches on the victory.

2012 OF Daniel Ferrell went 2-for-3 with a solo Home Run to open the scoring and a three run double to break it open. 2012 CF Jono Herkins made a highlight caliber diving catch in the gap in left center field at full extension to add to the frustration for Alemany's hitters.

Franzen wasn't the only sophomore to step up for Pacifica, as 2014 OF Nick Howard went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI thanks for a short and balanced swing with good athleticism.

Alemany 2013 OF/RHP Nick Suniga got the start and sat 84-86 with a 69 mph curveball and a 74 mph slider, and was effective in the early innings.

Pacifica advances to the consolation bracket's championship game.

Cypress (CA) vs Galena (NV)
Cypress continued to stand out at the National Classic. Their all underclass infield offers a ton of promise, and sophomore CF Elijah Skipps had a very impressive at-bat from the left side.

Skipps, a switch-hitter has only batted from the left side in the two games that I have seen. In the matchup with Galena his second AB was an impressive one, he got a changeup on the outside corner late in the count and stayed back well, lining the ball into left field for an RBI single. These are the types of adjustments that a lot of underclassmen struggle to make, and it is promising to see from a player with Skipps' physial tools. He looks the part at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he runs well at present and showed solid bat speed from the left side already.

The standout from the Centurions' young infield is 2013 SS David Fletcher. As was discussed in the previous post about Cypress, he is a top level defensive shortstop. He also showed good on-base skills out of the leadoff spot in this game, showing good pitch recognition with some very good takes on borderline pitches. He can generate some bat speed, though it takes some effort, but his contact stroke is loose and easy. He also runs well and is aggressive on the bases with good instincts, if the bat develops he could become a special player.

Fletcher's left side of the infield partner 2013 3B David Lohr is another promising prospect for Cypress. He has a quiet approach at the plate, a smooth load and a loose easy swing with good bat speed, and ripped an RBI double in the game. He also has a strong arm at third base and good lateral movement.

2013 MIF Steven Andrade would play shortstop for most teams, but moves to the right side of the MIF to pair with Fletcher for a strong double play combo. Andrade is light on his feet and moves well defensively, he has good quick twitch movements and can handle the bat.

2012 RHP Chris Dixon threw a CG shutout, sitting 84-86, topping out at 88. He had good command, consistently pounding the bottom of the strike zone with his sinking fastball. He mixed in his 76 mph slider well, which featured late diving action, and he showed good pitchability.

Galena's standout was 2012 OF Ryan Ford, who has quick hands at the plate, a slight uppercut swing path and takes his hands to the ball well. He has good bat speed (as evidenced by his 6.01 second popup hangtime) and had two hits in the game. 2012 C Zack Parkinson popped a 2.04 in a stolen base attempt and showed some interesting hitting tools as well. 2012 SS Alex Barajas showed good defensive actions and moves well laterally.
 
Wednesday, April 11
Tuesday, April 10
4/11/2012 10:47:45 AM

Day 2 of the National Classic was moving day, as four teamspunched their tickets to the semifinals at Cal State Fullerton's Goodwin Fieldfor Wednesday night.

IMG Academies (FL) vs Spanish Fork (UT)
It was all IMG in the early going, as they had imposing left hander Max Foody on the mound overpowering Spanish Fork in the early going. Food sat 88-91 inthe first inning, and 86-89 thereafter, touching 90 as late as the 5th inning.Foody has come all the way back from a torn labrum he sufffered as a sophomore,an injury that is often career ending.

Foody was generally able to control all three of his pitches tozones in this start. His hard 2-plane curveball with deep 1-7 break topped at 81 in thefirst, typically sitting in the 77-79 range. He also threw several changeups inthe 81-84 range.

The first two trips through the order Foody allowed only one hit, a double by1B Kayden Porter (who had a 3-hit day), who Foody struck out on a curveball thefirst time through before trying to do the same again the second time...only tohave Porter blast a towering fly ball off the top of the fence in left centerfor an RBI double. It wouldn't be until the sixth inning when Foody was out ofgas and Spanish Fork's hitters got a third crack at the imposing southpawbefore they would start to make consistent contact.

Spanish Fork would push across two runs in the sixth when IMG would have to goto the bullpen for the final out, calling on 2014 RHP Sam Proctor, who wouldslam the door on the Dons rally immediately, working 88-90 with his fastballand 72 on the one curveball he threw, with a low 3/4 arm slot.

Things got very interesting in the 7th. IMG called on 2014 SS/RHP Cameron Vargafor a second straight game, and Varga would pull it out for the second straightday, though it was much more adventurous this time around. Varga would top outat 93 with his fastball and work in a quality 83 mph changeup that hefrequently throws to right handed hitters in most counts.

Spanish Fork had pushed across another run in the 7th to cut the defecit to 7-5on a double by 2012 OF Andy Perkins, and had runners on the corners with 2outs. But a sharply hit ground ball that appeared desitned for left field wassnared by a diving Brett Hanewich (who earned the W in game one), who thenfired from his knees to get the force out at 2B to send IMG to the semifinals.


El Dorado (CA) vs Valley Vista (AZ)
I actually only saw one inning of this game (the 9th inning), having arrivedearly for the Spanish Fork-IMG Academy matchup that was scheduled for 4:00,only to find that El Dorado and Valley Vista were knotted up at 3-3 heading tothe 9th.

2013 SS/RHP Chris Rivera dominated that one inning. A day after catching ano-hitter from teammate Kyle Twomey, Rivera was on the mound in the top of the9th for the Hawks. He wasn't as sharp as we've seen him in the past, especiallywith his breaking ball. But he was throwing his 89-91 mph fastball for strikesand kept Valley Vista in check.

Two pitches into the bottom of the 9th and Rivera sent El Dorado to thesemifinals with a walk-off Home Run to left field. Rivera got a hanging curveon 0-1 and blasted it high and deep.

Tournament host El Dorado has already had two very memorable games to move intothe semifinals where they will face IMG Academies, with a no-hitter in theopener and an extra innings walk-off in the second round.

Esperanza (CA) vs Bishop Amat (CA)
Both of these teams reached the 2011 CIF championship game in their respectivedivisions last year, with Bishop Amat capturing the Division III title, andEsperanza's junior-laden squad finishing second in Division I.

Esperanza brings back essentially the same team, while Bishop Amat has beensomewhat depleted. In spite of that, the Lancers fought hard in this matchup.The Lancers took a 1-0 lead into the 4th, before 2012 OF Kevin Viers yanked anRBI double to right field. Esperanza would go up 2-1 in the 4th and tack on aninsurance run in the 5th.

A diving stop to his right on a one hopper with the infielddrawn in followed by a snap throw to the plate by 2012 1B/RHP Brad Anderson helped2012 RHP David Wilson escape a jam and hold the lead. Anderson would also makea tough play on a high popup along the fence on the first base side (near theopposing dugout) and his first base defense made a surprisingly large impact onthe game.

The Esperanza defense came up big all game long, as 2014 SSTristan Hildebrandt turned a pair of double plays in the early going and showedgood defensive actions. Hildebrandt handled a 97 mph ground ball off the bat ofBishop Amat 2013 1B Adam Alcantara as well. It was a frustrating offensive dayfor Amat, who was unable to cash in leadoff doubles to start the 4th and 5thinnings. Alcantara and 2014 CF Scott Hurst each showed standout offensivetools, but the power presence of 2012 3B/RHP Rio Ruiz was sorely missed.

Ruiz was in uniform (and often a batting helmet with bat inhand), and it was visably evident how badly he wanted to play. If he is able toreturn to the Lancer lineup later in the year it should provide a huge boostfor them down the stretch. His teammates have performed admirably without theirsenior leader, having won their opener at the National Classic and giving astrong team like Esperanza a battle on their home field.

Esperanza moves on to the semifinals to face aloaded El Toro squad in the second semifinal at Goodwin Field on Wednesdaynight. It will be their biggest test to this point in the tournament. 
Monday, April 9
4/10/2012 11:21:56 AM

As expected, it was an action packed opening day at the 2012 Hard 9 National Classic. The tournament has historically been one of, if not the top level of high school competition. On day one, most teams sent their aces to the hill to try and put their team into the winner's side of the bracket, so pitching was the big story on day one.

Bishop Alemany (CA) vs Carlsbad (CA)
It turned out to be a 1-0 pitcher's duel. The strike zone was big, and Carlsbad 2012 RHP Thomas Eshelman took advantage. Eshelman epitomizes the level of high school baseball in Southern California. While he's not especially big (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) and doesn't light up the radar gun (sat 84-87, topped at 88), he really knows how to pitch. Eshelman was spotting up his fastball well and showed advanced feel for his two-plane 70 mph curveball that he routinely threw for strikes in fastball counts. Eshelman struck out 14 and did not issue a walk (though he did hit two batters) while throwing a complete game two-hit shutout of nationally ranked Bishop Alemany.

The only run in the game on a solo Home Run to left center off the bat of Carlsbad 2013 3B/RHP Nick Anderson. The ball came off the bat at 88 mph and traveled approximatly 370 feet. Anderson was one of three standout position players for Carlsbad, joining him were: 2014 1B/LHP Matt Wezniak (DH'd this game) and 2012 1B Chase Blaker.

Bishop Alemany got a strong start out of 2012 RHP Corey Messmore, who combined a deceptive delivery and a finesse approach to frustrate Carlsbad's hitters most of the game.

The standout for Alemany was 2012 SS Peter Van Gansen. He not only had the best at bat of the game, in which he stayed back and drove a 1-2 curveball that was a few inches off the backdoor corner (had been called a strike all game long) into left field for a 2-out single, but he also made several good plays at shortstop.

2012 OF Corey Sims had the other Alemany hit, a hard ground ball through the 5-6 hole, and was one of the better swings anyone got against Eshelman. Sims looks the part with a strong athletic build and has quality hitting tools.

James River (VA) vs El Toro (CA)
This game drew a huge crowd of scouts, scouting directors, executives and advisors. They were mostly on hand to see James River 2012 LHP Nate Kirby face the toughest lineup he'll see all year. El Toro is a very difficult matchup for a pitcher, and Kirby fared well in the early going.

Kirby touched 90 mph twice in his start, working at 87-89. He worked in his 83-84 mph changeup aggressively. He maintains his arm speed on the changeup and it has extra tailing life at the end, but the velocity differential renders what is the makings of a quality changeup essentially an exaggerated two-seamer at present, so it was more hittable than it could have been.

Kirby throws two different breaking balls, a 71-74 mph 12-6 curveball, and a harder version at 78-81 with big 1-7 deep break and bite. The harder version is the better of the two, though it can get a bit slurvy at times, it is usually a very nasty breaking ball that can be used as a legitimate weapon against hitters.

Kirby ran out of gas in the 6th inning, after retiring the first two batters he faced, the wheels came off. He was eventually pulled after giving up a couple of runs and then the bullpen threw gasoline on the fire. El Toro put up a six run inning to break up what had been a scoreless affair with Kirby and 2012 RHP Tyler Brashears (who was relieved by 2013 RHP Stephen Villines) to that point.

It was clear from the pre-game warmups that El Toro is a complete ballclub, they not only boast a loaded offensive lineup, but also have standout defenders.

2013 C Gavin Collins showed off a strong arm, and popped a 1.93 between innings and had good carry on his throws while also showing good offensive ability for a catcher. 2012 1B Dan James is a dangerous left handed hitter who gives the top of the order some pop. 2012 3B/RHP Dan Comny showed off a strong arm from 3B and had some good swings against Kirby. 2013 INF Jonah Arrenado (younger brother of 2011 Arizona Fall League MVP and El Toro alum Nolan Arrenado) was another hitter who showed promise with the bat, having a two-hit day in spite of facing a high level arm.

El Toro looked like a legitimate contender in this tournament with the showing they had, surviving a tough opener is a big step for the Chargers, who will take on Carlsbad in the second round.

IMG Academy (FL) vs Cypress (CA)
A pair of 2013 RHPs took the mound as Brett Hanewich of IMG faced Kevin Lillicrop of Cypress. Hanewich wasn't as sharp as we've seen him in the past, topping out at 89 while working the in the mid-upper 80s. His curveball wasn't sharp today and he wasn't that effective with his changeup.

Yet, Hannewich executed in big spots, making pitches he had to make and worked his way out of some tough spots to grind out 6 innings. He allowed three runs, but they were isolated in the second inning where Cypress' talented lineup put up a three spot.

What stood out most in this game was the play of the two shortstops: IMG 2014 SS/RHP Cameron Varga and Cypress 2013 SS David Fletcher. Varga would show off his arm strength later in the game by touching 92 mph with his fastball when he closed out the 7th inning for the Save. Fletcher's functional infield arm strength was as good, if not even better. Fletcher's highlight play of the game came with two outs in the second inning on a ball far to his right, he ranged over and just managed to get to a ball that seemed destined for left field, then made an off balance throw across his body to nail the runner.

Cypress features several high level underclassmen that we got our first look at in this matchup: 2014 switch hitting CF Elijah Skipps and 2013 3B Stephen Lohr. 2012 OF Travis Buziecki also showed well in our first look, hammering a double to deep center field that registered at 88 mph off the bat.

IMG Academy is a team that we are very familiar with, and the usual suspects continued to stand out, including Varga who had a quiet day offensively, but showed plus bat speed and serious raw power potential. 2012 OF Eric Myskowski had the game winning RBI double to the left field corner in the bottom of the 6th to break the 3-3 deadlock. It was a big win for IMG who will advance to take on Spanish Fork (UT) in the second round a day after the Dons cruised to an 8-0 victory in their opener, getting a pair of Home Runs from 2012 1B/RHP Kayden Porter.

El Dorado (CA) vs Galena (NV)
In the nightcap at Cal State Fullerton's Goodwin Field host El Dorado sent ace 2012 LHP Kyle Twomey to the hill.

He would match Nate Kirby in fastball velocity, also sitting in the 87-89 range, touching 90 a couple of times. Twomey's fastball has more movement, with hard lefty tailing action, though he also mixes in an occasional cutter. Where Kirby has the advantage is in the secondary stuff.

Twomey's curveball has long been a concern for scouts, as it had generally been a mid-upper 60s loose spinner pitch that wasn't much of a factor in year's past. While he's still far behind Kirby's power breaking ball, Twomey showed significant improvement with his breaking ball. It typically sat between 69 and 73, though it got as high as 74 and as low as 66. While the consistency isn't there with it, the two plane 1-7 breaker shows significantly improved spin rate, a very promising sign for Twomey who is one of the more projectable LHPs in the class of 2012.

Twomey would strike out 14 batters and toss a no-hitter.

The battery was an interesting one for El Dorado, as Twomey threw to 2013 SS/RHP Chris Rivera who made a surprise start behind the plate. Rivera isn't particularly polished as a catcher, but his arm strength and athleticism play very well there. His throwdown velocities ranged from 77-80 mph and he posted between innings pop times of 1.93-1.97 with room for improvement and he refines the lower half mechanics on his catch and throw motion. Rivera took a couple of hard foul balls off of his throwing arm (one off the hand, one off the shoulder) but was able to stay in the game, and on the next pitch after regrouping from getting hit on the shoulder he picked a runner off of 3B. Rivera would go 1-for-2 with a pair of walks at the plate.