Tournaments : : Story
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

So Cal righty right-on at Coach Bob

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

PHOENIX – One of the many things most of the top high school prospects find most appealing about competing at this month’s PG Coach Bob National Invitational tournament is the opportunity to play against and interact with players from high schools from states other than their own.

Quartz Hill (Calif.) High School senior right-hander and first baseman Jonathan Teaney is certainly among those who look forward to coming to the Valley during spring break to see what the guys from many of the other states west of the Mississippi have to offer.

“It’s always fun playing teams from all around the country,” Teaney said Tuesday morning before he joined his Rebels teammates to take the field at Pinnacle High School and play the Sheldon Irish from Eugene, Ore., in an All-Star Division game at the PG Coach Bob Invite.

“To come out here and just to see that there is talent everywhere in the USA – it’s a great baseball country – but I also always have a blast playing all these different types of teams and playing kids from all the different states.”

This is sixth straight year Quartz Hill has brought a team to Arizona for a spring break tournament and the third straight year that tournament has been the Coach Bob National Invitational.

“We enjoy getting away and playing teams from other states; we also get a chance to see some spring training baseball,” ninth-year Quartz Hill head coach Aaron Kavanagh said, adding that the team was hopping on the Loop 101 and heading down to Mesa for an Angels-Cubs game at new Cubs Park as soon as their Tuesday morning game was complete.

“The parents always look forward to it; the kids look forward to it,” he said. “It’s neat to play teams that we won’t ever see again. You get to play the teams from those other states outside of your area, and when you’re used to playing so many of those teams so many times, to get out and do something else is really neat.”

That sort of enthusiasm for the event is why the PG Coach Bob National Invitational continues to grow each year and why each year more and more of the country’s top prospects are showing up at high school fields sprinkled all over the north and west Phoenix metropolitan area, including Pinnacle High in far north Phoenix.

One of those highly regarded prospects put his talents on display Tuesday morning and was simply nothing short of sensational. Teaney – a 6-foot-2, 175-pound righty with an elusive fastball that has been gunned in the low 90s at several Perfect Game events – threw a complete game, seven inning shutout at the Irish, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out 15 in a 9-0 Quartz Hill victory.

“He’s got the good stuff, and that’s what sets him apart on the baseball field,” Kavanagh said. “He’s also a really good kid who is a (4.3) student and he’s never been a kid where you have a teacher call you and they say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this problem with Jonathan.’ He’s great in the classroom, he’s got a good family and he works hard.”

Teaney did more than pitch the Rebels to victory on this day. Quartz Hill was hanging onto a precarious 1-0 lead when he stepped to the plate with two out and runner on in the top of third, and promptly drilled a fastball far over the left field fence for a two-run home run and 3-0 lead he would never allow Sheldon to even think about encroaching.

“He enjoys being out there,” Kavanagh said. “Whatever we’ve asked him to do, he’s always willing to do it … and he does what’s best for the team. Sometimes when you have those guys who are so far ahead of everyone else talent-wise on the baseball field, they’ll carry themselves with the attitude of ‘Hey, I’m better than you.’ He’s not like that – he’s team first and whatever we need him to do to win, he’s willing to do.”

Senior Travis Tarnoff hit a solo home run, senior Tyler Pittman had a ground-rule RBI double and junior Peyton Speed came through with a run-scoring single in a four-run fifth that gave the Rebels a truly insurmountable 8-0 lead.

Quartz Hill stumbled out of the gate this season, losing six of its first seven games, but a 10-6 win over West Linn (Ore.) High School in a PG Coach Bob All-Star Division game and a 6-4 win over Sherwood (Ore.) High in an Open Division game on Monday got the ball rolling.

Combined with Tuesday’s win over Sheldon, those Coach Bob wins were the Rebels’ third, fourth and fifth straight to even their record at 6-6. They play Monarch High School out of Colorado on Wednesday for the Pool B championship in the All-Star Division of the Coach Bob Invite. The division’s championship game is scheduled for Thursday at Pinnacle High School.

This is Kavanagh’s ninth year as head coach at Quartz Hill High School, a school with more than 3,000 students located in Los Angeles County in Southern California. The Rebels are a member of the Golden League in CIF Southern Section Division III, and won a CIF Southern Section Division III championship in 2006.

“We always try to win a Golden League championship year and then our next goal is to always try to compete for a CIF championship in our division,” Kavanagh said. “We always have the guys who will compete every year, it’s just a matter of things going your way and I hope that this year works out that way.”

This year’s Rebels team features 10 seniors, including Teaney, and many of them have been playing at the varsity level for three years. All of that returning experience made the slow start to the season all the more frustrating, but they look to be turning things around at the right time.

Quartz Hill starts Golden League play once it returns home this weekend and a couple of other prospects among its returning cast from 2013 include junior Gaston Bastanchury, a PG “high follow” and senior Josh Van Dorp.

Quartz Hill finished 22-7 in 2013 with Teaney compiling an 11-3 record with a 2.01 ERA and 51 hits and 80 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings. He also hit .407 (35-for-86) with seven doubles, a triple, two home runs and 22 RBI and 29 runs scored. Unofficially on the mound this season, he is 2-1 with a 0.58 ERA and 13 hits and 42 strikeouts in 24 innings.

Teaney is the undisputed star of this team. Perfect Game ranks him as the No. 187 overall national prospect in the class of 2014 who has built a ton of cred among PG scouts in just two years of PG event action. He’s participated in high profile events from coast to coast and this is his third Coach Bob Invite appearance.

“I love playing on all these beautiful fields out here,” he said. “It’s always fun hanging out at the hotel with the team, and it’s just a blast to come out here; this is just great baseball weather, too.”

Coach Bob is cool, but Teaney has experienced so much more. He dived into PG tournament play at the 2012 PG/EvoShield Underclass National Championship in Peoria, Ariz., playing with the Southern California Bombers 2014 Black and then took part in the 2012 PG WWBA Underclass World Championship in Fort Myers, Fla., playing with Illinois-based Gravel Baseball.

He has been at three PG showcase events, including the 2012 PG National Underclass Showcase-Session 1 in Fort Myers and the 2013 PG National Showcase in Minneapolis, the absolute biggest bang for your showcase buck in terms of exposure and prestige.

“I had a great time up there – that was the top of the top talent in the USA,” Teaney said of the National experience. “It was fun playing with and against the all the best players.”

About four months after Teaney pitched at the PG National Showcase – and earned a perfect 10.0 PG grade – he joined an all-star cast at the 2013 PG WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., as a member of the Ohio Warhawks.

Counted among his Warhawks teammates at the event were 2014 left-hander Kodi Medeiros from Hilo, Hawaii, the No. 6-ranked national prospect in his graduating class; 2015 right-hander/shortstop Nolan Kingham from Las Vegas, ranked No. 14 in his class, and 2015 shortstop Cadyn Grenier from Henderson, Nev., a Bishop Gorman High School junior ranked No. 17 nationally who is also here this weekend playing for his school in the PG Coach Bob Invite.

“Every time I go (to a PG event) I always have a blast, but anytime I’m playing baseball I always have fun,” Teaney said. “Just to go to all those events and play with some of the top talent from all the states, it’s really fun.

“But that was a little nerve-wracking, but it always gives you that extra adrenaline,” he said of pitching in front of hundreds of scouts in Jupiter. “You just want to go out there and be the best that you can be.”

Teaney has signed with the University of San Diego, which seems like a perfect fit for a Southern California kid who loves both baseball and school.

“When I went out there I felt confident with the coaches; I liked their plan on what they were going to do,” Teaney said. “It’s obviously a good baseball program, and the stadium is beautiful with all the facilities. When I was touring the campus I just felt at home so I knew right then that was where I wanted to go.”

He has thought about the 2014 MLB June amateur draft, but not enough to warp his single-minded vision. “I’m just focused on improving and trying to help my team get the ‘W’,” Teaney said. And a couple more “Ws” at the Coach Bob would give his school an All-Star Division championship.

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