Area Code Games – Friday Wrap

By Eric Sorenson. Posted on August 10th, 2012 in National stuff
 

Nobody parties like a SoCal party. The Brewers celebrate their Area Code championship after the win over the Rangers.

It’s called Californication. The Red Hot Chili Peppers sang about it and the Area Code Games Brewers’ played like it.

The Southern California-based Brewers squad completed its wire to wire domination of the Area Code Games with today’s 3-1 win over the Texas-based Rangers in the 20th and final game of the event. This makes the second season in a row where a team has gone undefeated for the ACG week, as the Brewers went 5-0 and held their opponents to just 10 runs total.

Like the Rangers, the Midwest-based White Sox entered the day with a chance to tie for the title, but they were eliminated from a shot at the top spot with a 9-3 loss to the Athletics.

Here’s how the final standings looked:

1- Brewers (SoCal): 5-0

2- Rangers (Texas): 3-2

2- White Sox (Midwest): 3-2

4- Athletics (NoCal): 2-2-1

4- Yankees (Northeast): 2-2-1

6- Reds (4corners): 2-3

7- Royals (Northwest): 1-4

7- Nationals (Southeast): 1-4

Despite the high-drama on the field, the last day of the Area Code Games was, as usual, sparsely attended. Guess the hoards of scouts and college coaches had seen what they needed to see by day six.

It was a great 2012 Area Code Games and I got to see a lot of great baseball and hang out with a lot of college coaches and just shoot the breeze. Here’s how the final day went.

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GAME ONE:

Yankees – 3

Reds – 1

The Northeast-based Yanks picked up their second win of the week on the strength of Matt Thaiss’ two-run double in the 1st inning and never trailed the rest of the way.

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GAME TWO:

Athletics – 033 002 10 -  9  7  1

Wht Sox – 000 001 11 -  3  5  4

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A’s: Stands for “Anacondas”. These guys grabbed their prey from early on in the game, scoring a trio of runs in the 2nd and 3rd inning and then never let the White Sox have much room to breathe from there.

But the A’s weren’t dominant in any facet of the game, they just took advantage of a few Sox miscues – note the four errors – and pitched strong. The win by the Bay Area-based Athletics knocked the Midwest-based White Sox out of any chance of tying for the ACG title as they finished the week with a 3-2 mark. The A’s finished up 2-2-1.

Four pitchers for the green and gold held the Sox in check, including a pair of Pac 12-bound studs in Oregon State commit Trent Shelton, who started the game and threw two perfect innings, and 6’9″ robo-dominator Chris Viall, who appears headed to Stanford if the pros don’t offer him a Brink’s truck. Viall was on the hill right when I pulled into the park (got a late start this morning, sorry) and though I didn’t see a clock on his pitches, it looked like he was throwing 125mph or so. More on him in a second.

The A’s also got pretty stoic performances from three more righties in Daulton Jefferies (Stanford commit… although another publication I’ve seen had him committed to Cal, so go figure), Joey Caffese (Cal Poly commit) and Austin Puckett (Pepperdine commit).

The game was originally supposed to be the usual seven innings, but was extended an extra inning due to its quick pace. The Sox were down 9-2 entering that extended frame, and were able to add a run and one hit to their totals. The A’s also had their only error in the 8th as well.

Stanford-bound man-giant Chris Viall was a force on the mound for the A's.

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Sweet-swinging Andrew Rose, who is bound for Oklahoma State, had a hot bat all week long for the White Sox. If they had named an All-Area Code team, he'd be a leading vote-getter.

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Compact but powerful, Willie Calhoun (Arizona commit) came in with a big reputation at the dish, and it was true. The dude could do just about anything with the bat.

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Zach Plesac is an uncommitted recruit... but that won't last long. He was impressive on the mound today, being one of the few pitchers to hold the A's bats quiet.

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Nebraska-bound (and home plate-bound) Westin Edrington (#2) had a good week as well, scoring one of the few White Sox runs.

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GAME THREE:

Brewers – 002 010 0 – 3  4  1

Rangers – 010 000 0 – 1  3  3

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The last game of the sixth and final day of the Area Code Games was typical of a long week under the anvil of the Sun:  Hot temperatures and tired bodies. Whoever made the fewest bonehead plays was destined to win.

There wasn’t a lot of offense on display here and a handful of glaring miscues on defense helped decide this last, ragged game of the week. But the SoCal-based Brewers did what they had been doing every other game the last few days… coming out on top.

Both teams put up some early runs thanks in large part to some shoddy play. The Rangers took an early lead when a simple two-out groundout went awry and Darryn Sheppard was able to round the bases with the help of an error, a stolen base and then an RBI single from Garrett Luna (who is allegedly deciding between TCU, LSU and Air Force).

But that would be about all the highlights the Lone Star Staters would get. An inning later a plunked batter was followed by a single from Elliiott Barzilli, which turned into a Bad News Bears-style pair of runs thanks to a throwing error and a misplayed relay. That allowed two runs to score and the Brewers would not trail again.

There were more foibles in the offing as in the 5th inning, another hit batter was followed by a pair of back-to-back errors on Luna, the hard-luck 3rd baseman, and another run would score for the Brewers.

In all, the Rangers committed those three errors and also added two hit batsmen and two walks, which meant all of the Brewers runs in the game were unearned.

Big lefty Chris Kohler, one of several USC recruits, had a good start despite giving up the only run of the game (though unearned)

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The double-play combo of Georgia Tech-bound Elliot Barzilli (#12) and San Diego-bound Terrian Arbet (#11) are certain stars if they go the college route.

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Tyler Alamo (#31) got a nasty beaning on his elbow during the game. In general, it seemed like the Brewers took a lot of bumps and bruises this week.

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... unfortunately, a batter later, Garrett Luna couldn't handle this hot shot from the Brewers' Corey Dempster (yet another USC-to-be product), which led to another Brew-Crew run.

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WHO IMPRESSED:

- LHP Chris Kohler, Brewers.

The Brewer starter only threw two innings and gave up the lone run which the Rangers scored, but it was unearned thanks to a fielding faux pas. Besides that, four of his six outs came by strikeout. The future USC Trojan has a smooth over-the-top arm motion and utilizes a lot of velocity from his 6’3″ frame.

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- Garrett Luna, 3B, Rangers.

Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t be giving such big props to a guy who committed three vital errors in the field, but he was impressive at the dish. Luna, who blasted a tape-measure salvo over the left field wall earlier in the week, crushed another would-be dinger that went about two feet left of the fair pole in the game’s final at-bat. Too bad all it got was a chorus of “whoas!” from the remaining crowd, because two pitches later, he whiffed to end the game. But Luna also had the Rangers only RBI with a 2nd inning single which scored Darryn Sheppard from 2nd base, so give the guy his due.

Also, the most impressive thing about this young man was after the game, despite his miscues, he was the only player the entire week I saw go over to the other teams’ dugout and shake hands with the opposing coaches. Classy move.

Garrett Luna doing the sportsmanship thing after a tough performance today.

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NOTES:

- THE TRACKMAN IS BACK.

Those boys from the technology known as “Trackman” were here with all their whistles and bells and ways of measuring what these baseball players could do. Here are some of their findings from the week, the top five in each category (with their college commitment in parenthesis):

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Top Velocity:

Dustin Driver (UCLA), RHP, Royals – 94.2mph

Dustin Driver (UCLA), RHP, Royals – 94.1mph

Kohl Stewart (Texas A&M), RHP, Rangers – 94.0mph

Logan Shore (Florida), RHP, White Sox – 92.3mph

John Pomeroy (Oregon State), RHP, Royals – 92.9mph

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Top Curveball Spin:

Tyler Allen (LSU), LHP, Yankees – 2834rpm, 75mph

Tyler Allen (LSU), LHP, Yankees – 2818rpm, 74mph

Matt Krook (undecided), LHP, A’s – 2746rpm, 80mph

Matt Krook (undecided), LHP, A’s – 2684rpm, 76mph

Touki Toussaint (2014grad), RHP, Nationals – 2671rpm, 72mph

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Hardest Hit Balls (exit speed):

Michael Hoard (Arizona), Reds – 107mph

Alexander Jackson (undecided), Brewers – 106.8mph

Jonathan Denney (Arkansas), White Sox – 106.8mph (on a HR)

Riley Unroe (undecided), Reds – 106.3mph

Dylan Manwaring (Wake Forest), Yankess – 106.2mph

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Longest Hit Balls:

Jonathan Denney (Arkansas), White Sox – 431 feet (home run)

Corey Simpson (Houston), Rangers – 410 feet (home run)

Alexander Jackson (undecided), Brewers – 402 feet (triple)

Marcus Doi (undecided), Reds – 380 feet (triple)

Cody Thomas (Oklahoma), Rangers – 380 feet (double)

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- THE ALL NAME TEAM.

Here are the best monikers I could find from this week.

C- ‘lolana Akau, Reds

Any guy with an apostrophe for a first initial is gold in my book.

1B- Tyler Alamo, Brewers

He actually played more at catcher this week, but I had to figure out a way to remember him somehow.

2B- Gosuke Katoh, Brewers

A slash-and-dash type of batter, I hope he ends up at UCLA after all so that I can hear the fans yell, “Go-Suke!”

SS- Seaver Whalen, Royals

I wonder if his father was a fan of Tom?

3B- Kean Wong, Reds

Brother of former Hawaii All-American Kolten and is also a future Rainbow as well.

OF- Marcus Doi, Reds

Another islander, Doi has power to spare, though he didn’t leave the yard this week.

OF- Logan Shore, White Sox

A dual-threat OF/RHP, I’m not sure if Shore is related to the late Ernie Shore, who had a stadium named after him which Wake Forest plays in.

OF- A.J. Puk, White Sox

Like Shore, Puk is a dual-threat and pitched well this week. Unlike Shore, he shares a name with a piece of hockey equipment.

DH- Arden Pabst, Brewers.

Wouldn’t you know it, a guy named “Pabst” plays for the Brewers. How apropos.

UTL- Logan Ice, Royals.

I’m thinking Ice would go well with Pabst for a great pairing. (Is there a “Pabst Ice” on the market?)

And the pitching staff goes like this…

- Dustin Driver, Royals

- Parker Bugg, Brewers

- Chasen Ford, Brewers

So, in essence, sometimes you’re the Driver, sometimes you’re the Bugg and sometimes you’re the Ford.

(Ah screw it, I’m not funny)

The one time all week I happened to catch (Logan) Ice and (Arden) Pabst in the same picture... Mmmm, Iced Pabst.

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- THE HONEY BADGER.

I have to admit, I slept in a little today and didn’t get down to Blair Field until the early part of the second game. But because of my running out of the house, it wasn’t until I was sitting and talking to Oregon State coach Pat Casey when he finally said to me, “What do you think of that Honey Badger guy getting kicked off the LSU football team?”

I answered with, “Umm, what?”

Yes, I hadn’t check out my Email or my twitter before leaving for Long Beach so I hadn’t heard anything about the Tiger All American footballer getting the heave-ho. But color me not surprised at all. The dude was wildly talented and everything, but he was a bad seed from the get-go in TigerTown.

And as I stated on my Twitter earlier today, this is just another reason why I love college baseball waaaaaay more than college football. Coaches in football are forced to recruit bad people. Football is a violent game played by guys who have to be heart-hearted individuals, so you have to take on some bad seeds to fill out a competitive roster, that’s just the nature of the game. (And yes, many many football players have no business attempting to be college students, so I wish there was a minor league for football too.)

Fortunately for us, baseball has a far fewer amount of bad people in it. Oh sure, there’s a Joey Belle (or “Albert” as he became known in pro ball) every so often, but by and large baseballers are much better, more intelligent people.

Again, there ARE exceptions, so don’t flood my Email with your Andrew Luck or RG3 examples.

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- ONE OF THE FEW, THE PROUD.

As you can see from this sign, Long Beach State is one of the few places in the country who sells beer at their games. Unfortunately, there was no brew available during the Area Code Games. Not even a $50 bill could coax a brew from the concession stands to sneak me one.

The concession stand sign at Blair Field. Pshaw!

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THE BAT BOY’S LAST PERFORMANCE.

That excitable little dude who was the Royals bat boy had one last game on the main stage, so I thought I’d snap one last pic for an entertaining week from him.

The Royals' bat boy hams it up one last time.

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- THE BEST WINDUP I SAW ALL WEEK.

You don’t see this kind of movement from a pitcher any more. San Diego recruit Stephen Gonsalves wins the award for the coolest old-school windup at the Area Code Games. It’s as if the ghost of Dizzy Dean came to him as an apparition one night and told him “use a 1940s windup and you’ll make it to Cooperstown”. Check it out here:

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Alright, that’s it from Long Beach. I can now officially start my college football mindset now.

More again soon.

G’night.

 

COMMENTS:

August 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm
Fat Sam says:

It’s interesting to compare Tyrann Mathieu with another current famous athlete. The Honey Badger is a cocky, preening, braggart who seemingly got busted using illicit substances and is getting justly vilified for it.

Meanwhile, the world’s current most popular athlete is probably Usain Bolt. Cocky, preening, braggart. And I hope you don’t really believe for a minute that he’s blowing away the world’s fastest sprinters, many of whom have been previously caught doping, and running clean while doing it.


August 11, 2012 at 11:55 pm
Eric Sorenson says:

Good take Fat Sam. Though I have to admit, I haven’t watched much Olympics coverage, so I’ll take your word on it about Usain Bolt… the future San Diego Charger wide receiver (what the hell, he’ll already have his logo on the side of his helmet).

Did they drug test him yet? Do they do that before the Olympics, or after?


August 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm
Kenny says:

That picture of Chris Kohler didn’t look real the way he was contorted!


August 15, 2012 at 5:22 am
bozar says:

Good call on Bolt. He’s damn good but let other people proclaim your (you’re) legend. I don’t know if he can be beaten; those long legs. But self-proclamation of greatness has always bothered me.