Prep Baseball Report

Austin Gorrell Classic: Semi-Final & Championship Game Notebook

Steve Doherty
SoCal Area Scout

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RIVERSIDE, CA – The Austin Gorrell Classic is a Baseball Scholarship Tournament held annually to honor the life of Austin Gorrell, a baseball player from JW North HS and the University of Nevada who’s life was cut short from heart failure four years ago. Forty teams participated in two highly competitive brackets (Gold & Silver) on a crash course to the Championship Game that was played at Cal Baptist University on Tuesday, November 26th. I took in two games the GOLD semi-final game between Vista Murrieta HS & Corona HS, and the Championship game, where the Big VIII Conference Panthers of Corona HS met up with Trinity League powerhouse Orange Lutheran HS. In a fantastic duel of two prodigious programs, Orange Lutheran came out on top with a 5-4 victory.

Before the Championship Game was played an emotional pre-game ceremony was held in Honor of Austin Gorrell. Austin’s parents, Gina and Kerry Gorrell, addressed the crowd along with several other esteemed guest speakers. This year, 10 senior players who must be attending college in the fall of 2020, were awarded scholarships for submitting an essay (no more than one page) describing themselves and what the scholarship would mean to them.


Ryan Callanan                           JW North HS                           $7000
Brett Pierson                              Orange Lutheran HS                $6000
Caden Szuba                             Temescal Canyon HS               $3000
Nick Darling                                Riverside Poly HS                    $3000
Rodrigo Herrera                         Citrus Valley HS                        $3000
Isaiah Newman-Whidbee           Riverside Poly HS                    $2000
Daniel Garcia                             Yucaipa HS                               $2000
Isaac Sandoval                           West Valley HS                        $2000
Jose Sanchez                            JW North HS                            $1000
Ryan Verdoza                            Centennial HS                           $1000

Let’s take a look at some of the standout players over the two days.


+ 2022 INF Andrew Walters (Corona HS) The #10 ranked player in PBR California in his class and a recent San Diego State commit is looking to have a big sophomore year to back up a fine freshman campaign.  Walters has obviously committed to his body as he looks more physical than a year ago. He will hit at the top of the lineup for the Panthers and be a cornerstone on the infield. Here’s his hard hit RBI double scoring Isaiah Greene from first base. 

+ 2022 SS Mikey Romero (Vista Murrieta HS) The #9 ranked player in PBR California in his class and University of Arizona Commit will be firmly planted in the middle of the talented Bronco lineup and locking down the shortstop position for the next three seasons. Romero displays smooth athletic actions all around with ample room to fill out. If he goes, Vista Murrieta goes, period.  Here is a 2-pitch sequence in the same at-bat. First pitch result was a foul-ball home run. Second pitch resulted in this double off the right-center-field wall.

+ 2020 OF Daniel Cruz (Corona HS). The uncommitted senior has always impressed with his long athletic body. He checks in at Six-foot-2, 180-pounds with significant room to add muscle. Cruz had proven that he can hit for average his whole high school career and this kid can really run. Will be fun to follow this year. Ended up with two hits on this day.

+ 2020 LHP/UTL Michael Flores (Corona HS) The Long Beach State commit is a two-way threat. On this day Flores was the DH. He will be hitting 3rd, 4th, or 5th in the Panther lineup all year. Here is a loud RBI single that put the game out of reach.


+ 2020 RHP Christian Rodriguez (Orange Lutheran HS) The #27th ranked player in PBR California in his class and a Cal State Fullerton commit checks in at an imposing Six-foot-6, 225lbs. Many pro scout eyes will be focused on Rodriguez’s senior campaign as he is primed to have a huge year. On this night he posted two strong innings featuring a 3-pitch mix. Fastball sat 86-88, topping 89 with his changeup 80-81MPH.

+ 2020 LHP/UTL Michael Flores (Corona HS) Flores (CSULB commit) got the ball in the Championship Game. Only threw one inning giving up a couple runs due to errors. His unique high leg kick is his signature and it really throws off the timing of the hitters. His fastball jumps through the zone and runs in on right handed hitters and away from lefties.

+ 2021 INF/OF Matthew Polk (Orange Lutheran HS) The #36th ranked player in PBR California in his class and a UCLA commit. Polk’s athleticism and his ability to square the ball up consistently always stands out. Did some damage with this hard hit standup double down the line. Has some of the fastest bat speed I’ve seen in an underclassman. Truly an exciting player to watch. He will be a key factor for the Lancers success this year after transferring from Gahr HS.


+ 2020 OF Isaiah Greene (Corona HS) The #19th ranked player in PBR California and a recent Missouri commit should be prepared for a season with many high-level decision makers at his games.  After one of the most impressive summers I’ve ever seen out of a recruit, he is equipped with the tools you want to see in a draft pick. The question is not if he will be drafted, the question will be what round? If you were to build an outfielder from dust, this is what they look like. The future is bright for this young man.

+2021 SS Justin DeCriscio (Orange Lutheran HS) The #41st ranked player in PBR California in his class and University of San Diego commit. DeCriscio stands on a small frame, but plays way bigger. The glove and the defense is at the top of his class and he continues to prove he is more than capable of locking down the shortstop position for the Lancers. Here is a full-extension play in the championship game. DeCriscio received the "Cody Smith Strongman Award" for his stellar performance.

+2020 OF Daniel Cruz (Corona HS) Uncommitted. Cruz finished the tournament 7-for-15 and was the recipient of Lefty Matt Becerra “The Always Humble, Loyal, & Respectful Award”. Here is his triple in the Championship game, and a sample of his speed tool.


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