The Boras Classic has established itself as one of the top high school baseball tournaments in the country in only its third year. The tournament has become a must stop for college recruiters and pro scouts alike and the 2015 version is certain to attract more attention than years past with the teams and players that will be participating.
"From top to bottom each team represents outstanding programs with outstanding coaches and players," said Brett Kay of JSerra High School who along with Burt Call of Mater Dei serve as co-organizers. "This might be the best 16 teams in our three year run with the Boras Classic South."
The tournament will be played April 7th through April 10th and will feature some of the top teams in Southern California. Additionally, some of the top prospects heading into the 2015 MLB Draft will be on display in the tournament including Kolby Allard, Chris Betts, Kyle Molnar, Travis Moniot, Tristan Beck, and Jonathan Olson. The tournament will also feature some of the top prospects for the 2016 and 2017 MLB Draft.
"We have a showcase of not only talented teams but some super talented players that's created a buzz from an outside perspective," said Kay.
The tournaments also has gone back to its original format of four games in four days after having a day off in between games last year. This allows for an extra day in case of inclement weather.
The Boras Classic South is only half of the tournament. There will be a north version that will take place in Northern California. The winner of each bracket will face off for the de facto state championship at Goodwin Field on the campus of Cal State Fullerton the first Saturday in May.
"Maxpreps just ran an article stating this is the 2nd toughest tournament in the nation," said Kay. "We take that as a compliment to the outstanding level of play that Southern California has to offer, as well as Northern California."
The tournament will once again be hosted at two sites: Mater Dei and JSerra. There will be four games at each site per day beginning at 9:00am with each subsequent game three hours later.
Below are the first round games with some notes on each.
At JSerra: Game #1 - 9:00am Damien v Great Oak: This game should feature Jonathan Olson (UCLA) and the stingy Damien defense against a veteran and experienced Great Oak team led by Mitchell Hayes (Nevada) at shortstop and Zach Noll (Oregon) on the mound. This should be the classic matchup of quality pitching against quality offense for both teams.
Game #2 - 12:00pm
Palm Desert v Alemany: The potential Jeremiah Estrada (UCLA) v Brandon Ponticelli (Nevada) matchup will have scouts excited because they'll get to evaluate a draft prospect in this class (Ponticelli) and the 2017 class (Estrada). Travis Moniot (Oregon) and Alex McKenna (Cal Poly) will also be on display for scouts to see in the run up to this draft. This game will feature a lot of good uncommitted players as well.
Game #3 - 3:00pm
San Clemente v Chatsworth: This game will undoubtedly be standing room only at spacious St. Pierre Field. Kolby Allard (UCLA) is the probable starter for San Clemente and there is discussion he's in the mix for a top three overall selection come the 2015 MLB draft which means there wont be a shortage of radar guns. Lucas Herbert (UCLA), who is Allard's battery mate, is sure to have plenty of eyes on him as scouts are enamored with his big power potential from the catcher position. Josh Garcia (CSUN) of Chatsworth is not a guy you want to sleep on and if he is the opposing pitcher to Allard he will have a chance to get on scouts radars for the 2016 MLB Draft.
Game #4 - 6:00pm
Granite Hills v JSerra: Granite Hills of San Diego is back in the tournament for a second consecutive year and is looking for a better showing in 2015. Despite a 2-2 showing in this event in 2014, Granite Hills went on to win the CIF SDS Title in the Open Division and they return some starters from that team. Their oppenent is JSerra who is everyone's #1 or #2 team in the Southland and is ranked in the Top 10 nationally by several polls. Quentin Longrie (USC) will be the probable starter and his offense is stacked and is led by Chase Strumpf (UCLA), Brady Shockey (USC), Jake Pries (UCLA) and super-sophomore Royce Lewis.JSerra will undoubtedly be one of the favorites to win this bracket.
At Mater Dei: Game #1 - 9:00am
Aliso Niguel v Vista Murrieta:Kyle Molnar (UCLA) will be the probable starter for Aliso Niguel and he is sure to attract the attention of scouts on hand as his stock should be high by the midseason point. Blake Sabol (USC), Dominic Collachio, and Eric Wagaman will provide the offense along with Molnar. Vista Murrieta has a balanced lineup that features some very intriguing college, if not pro, prospects. Ian Nowak (UCR), Jack Moberg (UCI), Hunter Tidwell (SJSU), Chance Hroch, and Jake Moberg can all handle the bat. Nowak and/or Connor Cannon (Oregon) will compete on the mound.
Game #2 - 12:00pm
Chaminade v Long Beach Wilson: The main draw in this game will be Chris Betts (Tennessee) of Wilson who is widely considered a first round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and who could potentially have a field day with the short porch at Mater Dei. Chaminade brings in some talent of its own with Dallas Tessar (Washington), Blake Rutherford (UCLA), Nick Kahle (Washington), Tommy Costello (Washington). This game will feature the top catcher in the 2015 draft class in Betts and one of the top catchers in the 2016 class in Kahle. Game #3 - 3:00pm
Birmingham v Huntington Beach: As the defending City Section champions Birmingham returns a great deal of their roster from last season and are off to a good start in 2015, but Huntington Beach will be unlike any opponent they've faced. The Oilers are chalk-full of Division I prospects led by Noah Davis (UCSB) who likely start this game. Tyler Murray (Hawaii), Dominic Abbadessa (Long Beach State), Logan Pouelesen (UCLA), Hagen Danner (UCLA), Landon Silver (UCSB), and Cooper Moore (Utah) will all have coaches thinking very carefully about every pitch they call. Huntington Beach, like JSerra, is ranked either #1 or #2 in Orange County and ranked nationally by several polls.
Game #4 - 6:00pm
Corona v Mater Dei: This game will be the pitching matchup of the tournament in my opinion. Tristan Beck (Stanford) of Corona against Nick Pratto (USC) of Mater Dei. Beck is a top prospect for the 2015 MLB Draft while Pratto is one of the top two or three pitchers in the 2017 class in California and widely regarded as a top guy nationally. The game will also feature Brendan Beck (Stanford) of Corona, who will be a top 2017 prospect as well, along with Josh Stephen (USC) of Mater Dei in the 2016 class. Scouts will flock to this game for the pitching though, and it should be the best pitching matchup of the tournament.