CARY, N.C.—American Heritage High (Plantation, Fla.) senior righthander Christian Santana had worked 6.1 innings, striking out 10 and thoroughly dominating Rocky Mountain High (Fort Collins, Colo.).
But with American Heritage leading 10-0 and the win in hand, Santana wasn’t about to give up a run, or even allow a rally to fester.
So when Rocky Mountain’s Cade Nelson hit a slow roller to the right of the mound in the seventh with one out, Santana ran after it, slid, dropped to his knees and threw Nelson out.
“I don’t know if you happened to notice that Baseball America play of the game,” American Heritage coach Bruce Aven. “After 6 1/3, he wanted to keep that shutout.”
And keep it he did, punctuating the shutout with his 11th strikeout in a 10-0 win.
Santana walked only one batter—with two outs in the seventh—and gave up just four hits. His fastball sat 88-91 mph, and he also showed a snap curveball at 74-77 and threw a few changeups that ranged 82-84.
“I am mostly ready to attack hitters,” Santana said, describing his style. Batters seemed to be on his fastball early, so Santana shifted to more offspeed pitches.
“Once I saw they were catching up on it, I was thinking about other pitches. As the game went on I started thinking about the curveball and changeup. I’ve been working on the changeup a lot. Once my hitters got me the lead, I thought this was a good time to start working on it.”
Several scouts were in attendance to see American Heritage senior Mark Vientos, who went 4-for-5, and junior Triston Casas, who was 2-for-5 and drove in Vientos with the first run with a first-pitch double to the right center field gap in the first. But when Santana was on the mound, there were a phalanx of radar guns behind him.
“You try not to think about the scouts,” Santana said. “You’re there to win a game, not light up the radar gun.”
American Heritage finished with 14 hits as it showcased an aggressive approach. Junior Cory Acton was 4-for-4 and homered.
“I would think most of my kids would be fairly uncomfortable coming back passing on a fastball. That’s where you make your money,” Coach Aven said.