Mater Dei is on some sort of roll. They haven't lost a game since losing the season opener of a double header against St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.). They won two prestigious tournaments, one in North Carolina, and one on a league rivals field (JSerra). Ryan McMahon (.452 BA, 15R, 16 RBI 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 BB, 8K) is having the kind of season at the plate that shoots guys up a draft board. His fielding prowess had long been recognized as an asset. Tyler Adkison (.429 BA, 14 R, 13 RBI, 7 2B, 2 HR 6 BB 3 K) has proven to be a great fit in the Monarch offense. On the mound, Aaron Cross (5-0, .24 ERA, 29.1 IP, 19 H 2 R 1 ER 24 K 8 BB) and Jacob Erickson (2-0, .45 ERA, 15..1 IP, 8H, 1R, 1ER, 14K, 1BB) have proven to great additions. Davis Tominaga (3-0, 1.25 ERA, 22.1 IP, 21 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 22 K, 13 BB) continues to be a steady influence as expected.
Servite continues to struggle to find consistency after winning a couple then losing one. Or losing a couple then winning one. Despite their record, this is a team that has some talented players buying into second year head coach Jeff Sears coaching. The Friars have played seven games decided by two runs or less, their record is 2-4-1 in those games. The tie coming in a tournament. Despite that, they find themselves in second place in the Trinity League heading into the home-and-home portion of play. The schedule does not set up easily for Servite as they will face Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran, and JSerra in order beginning Tuesday, April 9th at home. The Friars own victories over OLu and JSerra, needing only one more for the series win. We will all know where Servite stands in a few weeks, and if they survive they most certainly will have earned it.
OLu is on a season high five game winning streak that includes the championship of the National Classic. Like McMahon, Jason Martin (.415 BA, 7 RBI, 12 R, 8 BB, 2 K) has the attention of scouts. He's coming off his best week of the season and they'll need it against JSerra this week. Matt Stumme (.349 BA, 10 RBI, 6 BB, 2 K) has developed from a kid without a position to one of the best receivers behind the plate in the county, and now he's hitting for the Lancers too. Garett King (4-1, .23 ERA, 31 IP, 27 K, 5 BB) continues his rise in the view of baseball people. His lone loss came to Mater Dei where people in the stands were saying he had been in bed with the flu the day before the start. Leo Hernandez (6-3, 1.94 ERA, 21.2 IP, 9 R, 6 ER, 23 K, 2 BB) has been the victim of bad luck sometimes. The junior has allowed six earned runs and has three losses. The Lancers face JSerra this week followed by Servite next week, we'll know very soon how things will play out.
JSerra got a big boost when Dane McFarland returned to the lineup winning their first two games in the Boras Classic. Then they played poorly to drop the next two. The Lions have an opportunity to make a big statement this week when they face OLu to start the second half or Trinity League play. Quentin Longrie and Parker Joe Robinson have been steady and the addition of Zach Gloyne has helped with depth on the mound.
Notes: Santa Margarita's only league win is over Servite. That could come into play if there is a three-way tie for second. St. John Bosco has two players (Chavarria and Windes) hitting .300 or better. The Braves are going to be hard pressed to compete for the league title.
The Trinity League always provides a surprise or two in the second half of league play. The magnitude of the surprise will dictate the reaction. For example, if Servite can win four or five of it's next six games that will cause quite the reaction. I'm not saying it isn't possible because clearly it is. It's going to be tough to do.
Don't forget Mater Dei used an eleventh inning Bryan Call walk off home run to beat the Friars 2-1 the first time these two teams met.
Orange Lutheran has a great chance but it wont be easy against JSerra. Both teams need good results this week in order to keep pace.
When we look at the standings next week they could look the same or it could show three teams at 5-2, who knows? So many questions heading into this week. That's the beauty of this league. Can anyone catch Mater Dei? Will OLu start to hit like they should? Will JSerra make a run? How does Servite survive the gauntlet of the next three weeks?
I'm concerned about all the travel catching up to Mater Dei, not so much in the next week or two, but in the next month or two when this team should be peaking for a shot at the title. Fatigue now can lead to injury later. They will travel by bus this weekend to Stockton to play in the final of the Boras Classic. I would mark the following dates down, these are Mater Dei's last four games : April 30 (v OLu), May 3 (@ OLu), May 7 (@JSerra), May 9 (v JSerra). I believe the Monarchs will be there in the end because no one in the county, maybe even the country, has the quality of pitching depth Mater Dei does.
One thing is certain about the Trinity League, you're watching an impressive collection of talent on the field at any given time.