Friday, April 17, 2009

Mater Dei Is Anderson Bat National Classic Champion

Mater Dei, CA- 2 vs El Toro, CA - 1


There aren't many high school baseball teams that can turn to its No. 4 starter in the rotation and expect a solid performance.

Mater Dei did, and Ruben Orosco delivered.

Orosco (2-0), a senior left-hander headed to UC Irvine, pitched six innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out eight to lead top-ranked Mater Dei to a 2-1 victory over No. 2 El Toro in the championship game of the National Classic on Thursday night at Cal State Fullerton.

"It is quite remarkable how much depth we do have on the pitching staff," Mater Dei coach Burt Call said. "It is very assuring as coaches that you know that you're going to be in games.

"Ruben was huge tonight. He pitched a great game against a great hitting team. He hit his spots and made pitches when he had to. He had a lot of poise and confidence out there."

Matt Blanchard pitched a scoreless seventh for the Monarchs (16-2) to record the save.

El Toro (15-3) had slugged its way into the championship game by scoring 35 runs in three games.

That's what Orosco had to deal with, but he accepted the challenge without hesitation.

"My go-to pitch was my cutter," he said. "I was commanding my fastball well and my slider was getting me out of situations."

A couple of those situations occurred in the fifth and sixth innings.

In the fifth, El Toro had runners on first and second with two outs, but Orosco retired Trevor Jensen on a groundout.

In the sixth, the Chargers had runners on first and second with one out, but Grant Andersen and got Ryan Joyce both popped out.

"I was glad that I got out of those spots," Orosco said. "I had some good defense by my teammates."

Orosco was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Brian Frattali, who was selected tournament MVP, hit a two-run homer off El Toro starter TJ Kendzora. It was the only mistake Kendzora made, but it proved costly.

Kendzora pitched 6 2/3 innings, but took the loss. He allowed three hits and struck out eight.

"He was unbelievable," El Toro coach Mike Gonzales said. "He had a great performance. He threw strikes. … I couldn't asked for anything else.

"We just came up a little short offensively. We had our opportunities, but we just couldn't get the hit when we needed it."

Derek Campbell and Blanchard, who won two games in relief, were selected to the all-tournament team for the Monarchs.

Aaron Northcraft of Mater Dei was picked as the most outstanding pitcher.

Ryan Joyce, Aaron Wirsch and Chris Manning earned all-tournament honors for the Chargers.

Nolan Arenado was selected as the most outstanding offensive player.

The other consolation games to round out this week long tournament were:
Game #25 Aptos, CA - L vs Don Bosco Prep, NJ - W
Game #26 Mamaroneck, NY - W vs Spanish Fork, UT - L
Game #27 Arch Bishop Mitty, CA - 13 vs El Dorado, CA - 7
Game #28 Notre Dame, AZ - 11 vs Notre Dame, CA - 6
Game #29 Northview, CA - 7 vs Jesuit, CA - 5
Game #30 Esperanza, CA - 4 vs Palm Beach Central, Fl - 1
Game #31 Norco, CA - 10 vs De La Salle, CA - 7

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