NCS D2 Playoff (CA): Casa Grande at Maria Carrillo

Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

NOTE: This is a game recap from 5/24/19, any scouting notes/stats/extended videos for players from this game can be found within their profiles if applicable.

SANTA ROSA, CA – Casa Grande and Maria Carrillo were formerly longtime league rivals but recent league realignment in the North Bay now has them in separate leagues. Over the years teams that strived for a league title or more significantly, a North Coast Section title, had to go through either Casa or Carrillo. Each school has produced significant college players, some of whom are presently among the most well-regarded in all of NCAA D1 baseball… Cal's Andrew Vaughn (Maria Carrillo) and ASU's Spencer Torkelson (Casa Grande).

There don’t appear to be any future Vaugn’s or Torkelson’s on the either roster but there are some players who will play D1 and other levels of college baseball, either in the near future or down the road. That the Maria Carrillo Pumas reached the semi-finals of the NCS-D2 playoffs wasn’t a surprise, as they are seeded #4 and have an experienced team of seniors and juniors. The Casa Grande Gauchos however do not boast the experience and frankly had a line-up and pitching staff that was in flux all season. To their credit, they found a good formula and peaked at the right time. They entered the playoffs seeded #8 and even that seeding seemed a bit generous.

How did these teams get here? Carrillo (19-9) defeated 13th seeded Arroyo and in round two took down a team that earlier in the season looked like a title contender, 5th seeded Marin Catholic. Casa (15-12) won a crosstown rivalry game vs Petaluma HS and then took down top seeded Redwood. They rode the hot pitching hand of 2020 RHP Mario Taormina in both games. However, in this one senior LHP Chris Sanchez got the start, opposite junior RHP Connor Charpiot for the Pumas.

Carrillo ended up taking the contest 7-1, in large part due to an avalanche of walks (11) and some mistakes by Casa. Playing an experienced team issued that many walks is almost certainly predictive of a loss… just as it was for Petaluma when they walked 15 Casa batters in round one. Yes, 15 walks. No mystery why Casa won that game 15-5. Of the 11 walks, five of them scored. Carrillo scratched out only six hits, so the free bases definitely led to the win.

Charpiot had a big game for the Pumas, pitching six strong innings (5 H, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 ER) while also having an impact at the plate (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI, 2B). His 3rd inning double to plated senior shortstop K.C. Kelly (1-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 RBI), who led off the inning with… a walk. Charpiot also drove in the first Puma run via sac-fly in the first inning, also driving in Kelly… who walked to lead off the game. Both times Kelly walked, he scored. Carrillo junior 1st baseman Bryce Cannon, hitting in the 4-hole, walked three times, stole a pair of bags and one of the walks turned into a run.

Carrillo put the game out of reach with a 6-run 3rd inning. After Charpiot drove home Kelly, Cannon walked, followed by a strikeout for the second out. Casa decided to intentionally walk the sixth place hitter, junior 3rd baseman Bryce Veler which didn’t work out very well, in large part due to then walking the next hitter, which loaded the bases. An infield single by senior RF Evan Magelitz plated a run and then after the ninth place hitter walked, Kelly stroked his single to drive in the dagger runs.

In a nutshell that was the game. Charpiot did have to dance through some trouble in the top of the 1st inning, which would be the biggest threat Casa mounted all day, even though they did score their lone run in the 6th inning. Lead-off hitter 2019 SS Joe Lampe (1-for-3, IBB, SB; UC Davis commit) singled hard to right field and stole second base. After getting the next two hitters, Charpiot got himself into trouble by walking the 4th and 5th place hitters, but escaped when he induced a hard ground ball from 2019 1B Kyle Taylor (2-for-3; Providence Christian commit) to Kelly at shortstop, who fed the covering 2nd baseman.

Casa put a couple of runners on base in the 2nd and 3rd innings but with only one extra base hit on the day, it just never really like the Gauchos were much of a threat. Their sole run scored via a wild pitch. There were some hard hit balls that found Puma gloves (Cole Santander L7, Nick Taormina L8, and Lampe F9) as their defense played clean baseball... a big part of their season thus far.

There are some Carrillo players of note, likely for the JC level, but good players with talent. Notable would be shortstop Kelly, 2019 CF Chris Latorre, 1st baseman Cannon and senior catcher Kody Kent (committed to Santa Rosa JC). As for Casa, 2020 C Cole Santander has verballed to Cal and 2019 INF Noah Bailey (1-for-3, good at-bats) will head to West Valley College. 2020 2B Nick Orella is a player I have seen twice now and am taking a liking to (L/R).

Maria Carrillo will take on 10th seeded Benicia HS on 5/29/19 while Casa's season comes to an end. Of note, after the game, Casa head coach Chad Fillinger (2nd season) stepped down to spend more time with his young family (spoke to him via text).


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