CIF / NCS Playoff Preview Part 2 – NCS Les Schwab Tournament Division I

newproject_1_originalFriday, May 27th, 2016
By: Gabriel Rios

**The CIF / NCS Playoff Preview is a three part series. In Part Two we focus our attention on the NCS Les Schwab Tournament.**

Part 1: CIF San-Joaquin Section

Part 2: NCS Les Schwab Section DI

The CIF / NCS Baseball Playoffs take center stage this Memorial Day Weekend as teams all over Northern California compete for sectional supremacy. Some teams this weekend will be doing battle for a championship while other teams are looking to just get one possibly two steps closer to their championship title. All in all things are shaping up in fantastic fashion as the 2016 High School Baseball season winds down.

2016 NCS/Les Schwab Tires Baseball Tournament

The NCS Les Schwab Sectionals have six divisions each competing separately in a single elimination tournament. All divisions have completed their 1st round of playoff games. Divisions I-III start their quarterfinal games today & tomorrow.  The winners of those three divisions advance to the semi finals which will be played on Monday in most cases.

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NCS/Les Schwab Tires DI Tournament Quarterfinals

Oak Ridde (6)(1) De La Salle vs (8) California

David Jeans De La Salle Spartans enter their playoff game vs California with a record of 22-3. De La Salle was our #1 Ranked team in May (RANKINGS) and it’s gonna take a near perfect game from California coupled with a sub par performance from the Spartans for California to have any chance here. That isn’t being disparaging to Cal High it’s just being a realist and understanding the odds stack against California in this game.

California has had a good season going 16-9 and will be relying heavily upon guys like Zach Chalmers, Nicholas Friedel and Grant Mendoza if they are to have any hope at the upset.

The Spartans are led by a cast of characters that all will be playing DI baseball next year so go ahead and pick your poison. Connor Roberts or Nick Sparks are likely to be the starters in the quarter final match up and have been outstanding thus far. Offensively the Spartans are led by Armani Smith, Ryan Cole and Joe Vranish.

Keys to the Game


  1. Not make any mistakes.
  2. Total team effort and guys to play their best games of their lives

De La Salle

  1. Show up
  2. Not totally fall apart.


Oak Ridde (7)(4) College Park vs (5) San Ramon Valley

This game features two long standing playoff teams and is gonna be a battle. Both teams match up in a similar fashion so this game is a coin toss in our eyes.

College Park (18-7) has had an up and down season which is in large part due to their youth. That and the fact that they lost one of the countries best pitchers in Joe Demers. College Park got the best of SRV in their one meeting this year 7-0 but that win was super early in the season and both teams are much different then they were back then. CP is lead offensively by Super Sophomore Christian Encarnacion-Strand who has six jacks on the season. CP will look to Ian Mciver or Sam Behrens in this quarterfinal contest. My guess is Tarpley goes with McIver but he’s a much better coach than I’am so you never know.

SRV (17-8) has had a rough final stretch of the season but that doesn’t concern me too much here. Seniors Ryan Davis and Joey spears offer some nice pop in the middle of the order and can be game changers here if the CP pitcher of choice leaves a ball hanging. Junior Blake Harrison or Senior Ted Fleming will likely be called upon here in the Quarters.

Keys to the Game

San Ramon Valley

  1. Keep guys off base paths so Strand can’t deep you with a crooked number AB.
  2. Eliminate the walks.

College Park

  1. Play with confidence.
  2. Set the table for Strand


Oak Ridde (8)(2) Heritage vs (7) Clayton Valley

Look we will admit it we are Heritage homers. We know players on every team but there are very few teams we know as many players as well as we do with Heritage. That being said we have no bias or motive here and think this is going to be a fantastic game.

Heritage (20-4) is looking to close a chapter of perceived championship destiny by many including us.  The next step on their journey will be a tough one as Clayton Valley stand in their way.  I don’t think many will argue this fact but Heritage is the better team in this game. The thing is though is Heritage has shown numerous times this year that a brain fart here and there is quite common. Kevin Milam will likely get the rock at least he should but it wouldn’t shock me if the staff decides to save him. It would be a dumb move if they do because CV isn’t some punk team they can bully.

Clayton Valley (18-7) has been very good down the stretch and seem to be hitting their stride. CV is led by Senior Jack Miller and Junior James Biles. Biles or Senior Robert Towne will he handed the rock in this game and IMO it would be in CV best interest to go with Towne. Biles by no stretch is a slouch but Heritage has seen him and faced him since they were 10.  They will be a confident bunch if Biles is on the mound because of familiarity. On the flip side though Biles knows these guys too and he has never lacked confidence and in his heart of hearts knows he can beat them. Not sure I agree but I rather a confident guy over one that lacks such an important piece of the game.

Keys to the Game

Clayton Valley

  1. Be aggressive early in counts. Falling behind will be a death sentence.
  2. Stay in the moment and not let their emotions get the best of them.


  1. No bone head coaching mistakes like saving Milam. LOL. Sorry but there is no tomorrow without today.
  2. Be patient at the plate & don’t press.
  3. Play with a chip on their shoulder

Oak Ridde (9)(14) Castro Valley vs (6) Monte Vista

UPSET CITY (Dickie V Voice). We are calling it now. Castro Valley is going to pull of the upset. Monte Vista is a tough opponent but CV is feeling themselves right now and like we always say. CONFIDENCE is KING.

Castro Valley (15-9) has underachieved this season. Sorry they have. The roster is way to talented to have that lame record. Good news for them is their record doesn’t matter anymore. It’s one and done and this roster is packed with guys that have played big games and know how to turn it on when the lights are on. Matthew Mascio is the teams stand out player this year but he won’t have to do it all by himself today.

Monte Vista (16-9) is a quality team that has had a better season than CV and they aren’t slouches by any stretch.  They just happen to be running into a team that is confident and hitting their stride. Jack Murphy and Nate White led the way for Monte Vista and they will need to be big if they want to win today.

Keys to the Game

Castro Valley

  1. Stay confident
  2. Play the game don’t let the game play them

Monte Vista

  1. Jump on CV early. Eliminate their confidence.
  2. 3,4,5 need to have big offensive outputs.


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