Prep Baseball Report

CIF-SS Wild Card Recap

Steve Doherty
SoCal Area Scout



The 2019 CIF-SS playoffs are upon us with Division’s 1 through Division 7 represented on the field of play. But before any first round games were played, teams that were on the bubble had to play and win a wildcard game to earn the right to punch their ticket into the tournament so many call “The Gauntlet.”

Division one, six and seven did not have a wildcard entries this year, which left divisions two through five playing a combined 22 wildcard games.

I took in two games last week around the Southland. On Tuesday I travelled to South Torrance for a Division 3 wildcard matchup against #3 team from the Del Rey League, Serra (Gardena). On Wednesday I took in a Division 2 wildcard game as Bay League #2 Redondo Union hosted the #3 team out of the Moore League, Long Beach Wilson.

In the Division 3 matchup, Serra proved to be too much for the Spartans as the game slipped away early for South and they couldn’t recover in a 5-3 loss to the Cavaliers.  Serra Pulled away for good with three runs in the second inning.

In Division 2 Redondo Union coasted to victory over the Bruins 8-2. The Seahawks offense got started early with an HR by 2019 Max Zamarrippa. It was backed up by two more long balls on the day, one by uncommitted 2020 Liam Critchett, and 2019 Christian Dicochea, a University of Washington signee.   

Let’s take a closer look at notes/video on players that stood out to me last week.

Serra’s roster features Division I talent and a multiple MLB Draft prospects.

2019 UC Santa Barbara signee, LHP Kelvin Bender tossed a complete game, three hit gem, allowing three runs, walking five, and punching out Ten South hitters. Bender features a three-pitch mix coming out of a three quarter slot. Has athletic, slender frame with room for added muscle.  Fastball was sitting 84-86, topping 87, and 88. Displays a plus curveball with tremendous shape and late bite that dominated on this day, 72-74, and mixed in a few fading changeups at 72-73.

2019 Fresno St. signee Mahki Backsrtom’s power has arrived at the right time for the Cavs.  The swing has become more consistent displaying his ability to hit for average as well.  After a slow start, Backstrom could have very well put himself back into draft talk. Posted a two-for-two afternoon with four RBI, and this two-run HR.

2019 OF Damon Hale (Michigan) has also raised his game at an opportune time.  He has been taking balanced at bats, demonstrating he can square it up consistently. Hale plays with a lot of emotion and is a guy that can cause a lot of havoc on the bases.  He was one-for-two with a walk, two runs scored and a double seen here.

In the Division 2 matchup the big right-hander, 2019 Jake Thau, a Kansas signee, got the start over MLB Draft prospect teammate Andrew Dalquist. The risky decision to do that worked perfectly as Thau had an outstanding six-inning, 93-pitch performance. He struck out five, walked two, and gave up only three-hits.  Thau’s has an imposing presence on the mound standing six-foot-five; 235lbs. On this day his fastball sat 87-90, topping 91, and 92 respectively with late life. Was throwing his sharp slider for strikes at 77-78.

2019 SS Christian Dicochea (Washington) was phenomenal all day showcasing his ability to do everything for the Seahawks. Dicochea seems to be a leader for this senior laden squad.  He plays with tremendous energy and enthusiasm that stands out, along with a skill set that plays at the next level. Seen here is Dicochea taking it deep and making a big league full extension play at short.  Was one-for-two with a homerun and two RBI’s.

2020 OF Brett McCauley (Oregon) stands six-foot tall on a solid, durable frame. He possesses strength to his overall game that stands out. The bat is loud and puts together tough quality at-bats consistently.  Displays the ability to go gap-to-gap in the outfield with an above average arm. Recorded a 4.33 down the line from a full swing. Ended the day one-for-three with two RBI on the afternoon. Oregon is getting a player that has a chance to come in right away and make an impact.

South Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/14 Archbishop Mitty HS
North Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/28 Clyde P. Smith Field - Cardinal Newman HS
Northern California Future Games Trials CA 05/26 Islanders Field
Inland Empire Futures Games Trials CA 06/01 Norco High School
SoCal ProCase CA 06/08 Hart Park
Northern California ProCase CA 06/09 Delta College - Nick Cecchetti Field
Bay Area Open Showcase CA 06/26 Laney College
Inland Empire Top Prospect ID CA 07/23 Santiago High School
Norcal Top Prospect ID CA 07/24 St. Mary's College
Junior Future Games NATIONAL 07/30 LakePoint
Rising Stars Showcase CA 09/21 Santiago High School