Karlos Morales Leads South Hills Over Brother Rice

CARY, N.C.—South Hills (West Covina, Calif.) High scored only two runs in the first inning against Brother Rice (Chicago) High Wednesday afternoon, but behind a strong start from senior lefty Karlos Morales, that’s all they would need in a 2-0 victory at the National High School Invitational.

Leadoff hitter and shortstop Jacob Amaya, a Cal State Fullerton commit, started it off with a single in the top of the first, stole second and later scored on a single by John Dearth to right. Dearth, a San Diego State commit who is a righthanded pitcher and first baseman normally but the designated hitter Wednesday, scored when Morales singled right behind him out of the cleanup spot.

Once Morales spotted himself a second run, there was no looking back.

The Long Beach State commit plowed through four innings without giving up a hit, surrendering his first after recording two outs in the fifth inning, to sophomore outfielder Danny Doligale. Morales sat 87-88 with his fastball in the first inning, and touched 90 miles per hour on a swinging strikeout.

“Karlos was incredible today,” South Hills coach Darren Murphy said. “We talk a lot about the big stage. And the best players show up on the big stage. And Karlos has that knack. He did it again today, and that was a good ball club. He had all three pitches going today and we’re just really proud.”

In addition to his fastball, Morales throws a curveball and a changeup. The southpaw said he didn’t have a great feel for the breaking ball early on, but as the game progressed he started to find a bit more comfort with it.

“My fastball was really working for me. I tried getting the curveball early in the count but I couldn’t throw it for a strike,” he said. “I think going through the game I’ll get a feel for it. Just early in the game’s kind of like I need to find my release point.”

Consistent release point or not, Morales managed to navigate 5.2 innings while allowing just two hits and a pair of walks, and striking out five batters.

Junior shortstop Brandon Dieter, a Stanford commit, played fantastic defense while filling in at first base. Dieter scooped a short hop after deciding to charge in on the ball instead of wait back in the fifth inning, and made a leaping grab to catch a high throw and then make the tag on a runner one inning later.

Brother Rice righthander Ryan Kutt gave his team a chance to win on the other side, throwing a complete game on 87 pitches—85 percent of which were strikes. Kutt sat 86-89 mph and touched 90 with his fastball, and seemed to gain more confidence in his breaking balls as the start progressed.

Kutt allowed surrendered a pair of runs over his seven innings on the mound, struck out nine batters and issued just one walk.

“I told our kids, especially against Kutt, I thought we swung the bat pretty well for seven innings,” Murphy said. “Just the ball wasn’t falling after the first inning.”

Senior righty Andres Alvarez—aka “smoke”—was solid in his 1.1 innings of relief, striking out two batters including a huge strikeout in the sixth inning to get out of a jam with runners on first and third.

With its win Wednesday, South Hills will advance and play No. 1 ranked Archbishop McCarthy (Southwest Ranches, Fla.) High on Thursday.

“We have great respect for Archbishop McCarthy,” Murphy said. “And everybody knows them. I think, in all due respect, everybody kind of wanted an opportunity (to play them). We think they’re very good but we love the challenge…

“We’re going to come out and fight, compete. You go out and play that game, it’s just fun now because you jusst find out, ‘Hey, where do you stand?’ And they looked very good this morning. Should be a great game.”

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