The 2019 Area Code Games got underway on Monday, and it was the reigning North Coast Section Player of the Year who shined brightest in Long Beach. Rising De La Salle senior Kyle Harrison tossed three shutout innings to lead the team representing the Oakland Athletics past a team comprised of nearly all Southern California athletes representing the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3.
Harrison allowed just three singles in his three innings, and struck out six during his stint. The Brewers’ team actually got two runners on base against Harrison in each inning, thanks to a walk, hit by pitch and an error which were scattered through the first three frames, but Harrison ended his first two innings with strikeouts and induced a ground ball to second base to end the third. Meanwhile, the group of rising seniors from Northern California jumped out to an early lead at the plate and then built a cushion with a three-run fourth inning.
Turlock catcher Tyler Soderstrom struck the big blow in the top of the fourth inning, tripling with one out to drive in Valley Christian’s Eddie Park and Mitty’s Nick Yorke, who had each singled, with Yorke’s single to left field driving in Saint Francis’ Petey Halpin. The A’s took an early lead in the top of the second when Turlock’s Cole Carrigg drove in Franklin-Elk Grove’s Chase Davis with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Brewers closed the gap with three runs in the bottom of the fifth, but scoreless relief stints from Jesuit’s Andy Owen and Buchanan-Clovis’ Isaac Ayon slammed the door for the victory, with Owen striking out a pair. One of the top defensive plays of the game came when Ayon used a nasty two-seamer on the outside part of the plate for the first out of the bottom of the seventh, and Soderstrom then threw out a would-be base stealer with a quick throw to second base for the double play. San Ramon Valley shortstop Jack Grant then ended the game by taking care of a ground ball to secure the win.
Park and Los Gatos’ Tommy Troy each walked twice at the plate, which made Park the lone player in the game to reach base three times. Yorke reached base twice, adding a walk to his run-scoring single.
The Area Code Games continue on Tuesday down at Blair Field in Long Beach, but the only action for the group from Northern California will be during batting practice and the Home Run Derby at night. They return to the playing field on Wednesday afternoon against the team representing the New York Yankees.
A few of the top returning players in the North Coast Section announced their commitments in the past few weeks. De La Salle’s Charles McAdoo just announced he will play in college at San Jose State, while Heritage’s Ryan Jackson pledged his commitment to the University of Nevada-Reno. Clayton Valley outfielder Telly Hill committed to the University of the Pacific.
Meanwhile, Jackson’s teammate Keith Jones de-committed this summer from Washington State University, after the Cougars had a coaching change. He is now currently uncommitted.
Football transfers are high-profile news, but one of the biggest moves of the off-season seems to be a baseball transfer in Petaluma, where hard-throwing junior Gavin Ochoa is now headed to Casa Grande, the cross-town rival of Petaluma High, where he played the past couple seasons.
Ochoa, who gave his verbal commitment to CSU Long Beach back in June, throws in the high-80’s and was just named to the Future Stars Series All-Tournament Team after a strong showing in Cypress, TX.
Ochoa was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Cardinal Newman junior and Cal commit Carson Crawford, along with Roseville’s Josh Alger, a UCLA commit, El Cerrito outfielder Rodney Green, Jr and Foothill’s Caleb Lammle, a UC Santa Barbara commit.