Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) is a perennial power in Southern California with three CIF Southern Section titles—two since 2005—and two Trinity League titles in 2007 and 2010. The Monarchs began the 2012 season at No. 6 in the Baseball America/National High School Baseball Coaches Association Top 25, but fell to No. 10 and then No. 18 after a 7-3 start heading into the National High School Invitational. The competition didn't get any easier as Mater Dei was matched up with Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High, currently the No. 2 team in the Top 25. However, the Monarchs make a strong statement, erupting for 10 runs on 14 hits to beat the Gaels 10-3.
"To start the game we were a little bit nervous, but in the second inning we settled down and found our rhythm," Mater Dei head coach Burt Call said. "Our big at-bat was Brandon Perez, a freshman, coming up and putting us on the board. I think everyone just kind of followed suit after that. We had that huge explosion in the third. I'm very pleased with how they came out and competed against a very good Bishop Gorman team."
With his team down 2-0 in the second inning, Perez—a shortstop—drove in the first Mater Dei run with a single to left field. In the third inning, the Monarchs strung together seven hits to score seven runs before even making an out and made it 9-2 on a wild pitch. From there it was up to righthander Davis Tominaga to shut the door. He allowed three runs (two earned) on 10 hits and three walks while striking out only one in the complete game.
"He's been our No. 1 all season," Call said. "He's had some big wins for us. With him, it's control. He works in and out. He's able to bring it inside on a lefthander and also work away. And then his changeup is so effective. It keeps a lot of good hitters off balance. That's what makes him so unique, having that changeup in his arsenal that he can throw at anytime."
Tominaga ranged from 86-89 mph with his fastball and was able to neutralize Bishop Gorman's biggest threat in third baseman Joey Gallo. A draft prospect as a first baseman, Gallo has a big, strong frame that generates some of the best raw power in his class. But Gallo went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the fifth.
"We weren't going to give him anything to hit, just keep the ball low and get my offspeed for strikes and establish that early," Tominaga said.
Mater Dei will play the winner of Thursday's first game, which is between Corpus Christi, Texas' Carroll High and Gulliver Prep from Pinecrest, Fla. Ty Moore, the Monarch's right fielder and No. 2 hitter, will start on the mound.
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