De La Salle: 1st Baseball State TOY

Players from De La Salle (Concord) salute their parents and supporters after they won CIF North Coast Section D1 championship that capped 29-1 season. Photo: Mark Tennis.


It’s one of the toughest choices atop the final state rankings between De La Salle of Concord and Cypress, but if historical achievements are a factor (and it always has been in the 40 years of Cal-Hi Sports rankings) then the Spartans are getting the nod. This is the first time the school is being named State Team of the Year in baseball. The school’s legendary football program is on the all-time list in that sport 18 times.

For more on all five of our State Teams of the Year (by divisions), CLICK HERE.

For a look at the last time we updated our all-time rankings of the state’s best teams going back more than 100 years (Gold Club post), CLICK HERE.

We hope you like this free post on CalHiSports.com. Please help us out today by becoming a member of our Gold Club so you can see all of our great content, including expanded final State Top 40 baseball team rankings. For more on special offer to get signed up for $3.99 for one month that started last year, CLICK HERE.

It has been said that a team’s previous successes can build on itself and aid in the evaluation of the next teams coming through the pipeline.

That’s not the only reason that De La Salle of Concord is being anointed this week as the 2019 State Team of the Year for California prep baseball, but in previous final state rankings the Spartans have finished No. 3 (in Class AAA in 1985 at 24-4); No. 4 (23-4 in 1996); No. 3 (25-3 in 1997); No. 2 (26-1 in 2000); No. 7 (23-4 in 2005); No. 2 (25-3 in 2016) and No. 2 (28-4 in 2018).

This time, for 2019, the No. 1 ranking is sticking. It’s the school’s first-ever finish in the top position in final state baseball rankings. There’s been CIF state titles, of course, in football and boys basketball over the years, especially in football (which still leads the state with seven CIF crowns and was State Team of the Year 18 times between 1992 and 2015)

De La Salle’s baseball team this season already was being hailed as perhaps its best-ever going into the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs. That can be the kiss of death when a season isn’t complete yet, but for this group it wasn’t a problem. The Spartans won their fourth straight NCS title with a 10-1 victory last Saturday over Heritage of Brentwood at Diablo Valley College.

“It’s just the pitching,” said De La Salle head coach David Jeans after the final game. “We had five really, really good pitchers. We had Chris Santiago who could throw 89 to 90 and hardly ever used him. We also had a lot of big games in which everybody throughout the lineup contributed.”

De La Salle of Concord head coach David Jeans has directed teams to four straight section titles. Photo: Mark Tennis.


The leader of those pitchers was junior Kyle Harrison, a UCLA commit who pitched a three-hitter over five plus innings in the NCS final and struck out 10 and who had three runs batted in at the plate. He ended the season 10-0 with a 1.26 ERA and had 103 strikeouts in 61 innings.

Santiago, a senior, was the leader of the team in RBI with 38 and also batted .407. Junior Vince Bianchina led the Spartans with a .419 batting average while sophomore Blake Burke led with four homers and a .395 mark.

“It definitely feels different this year,” said Harrison, who also pitched as a sophomore in the NCS championship. “We’ve done something that hasn’t been done before. We hope to keep it going next year and just keep working hard.”

The players and coaches were aware that winning the last game would allow them to also celebrate a mythical state title, but they also admit where the best baseball is played in the state.

“We love playing the Southern California schools when we can and we know the best baseball in the nation is played in Southern California,” Jeans said. “It would be nice if we had (state and regional) playoffs, but some rules would need to be fixed. If it happened, it would be great to see.”

It’s not like Northern California is that far behind the south or should be viewed as some backwater place of weak competition, either. De La Salle’s unbeaten record in the East Bay Athletic League this season hardly ever happens because most teams in the EBAL have at least one strong pitcher. The Spartans ended up sweeping games against Amador Valley of Pleasanton, Foothill of Pleasanton and Monte Vista of Danville during weeks in which Amador and Foothill were among the top 20 ranked teams in the state.

And like other State Teams of the Year of the past, De La Salle also went out of the state for an elite tournament. In its case, the trip was to Las Vegas for the first-ever All-Catholic Classic that was held at Bishop Gorman. There, the Spartans got a win over nationally ranked St. Laurence of Burbank, Ill., and in the final had to beat the host Gaels. Their pitching depth was definitely on display and contributed to a lopsided 9-0 win.

The team’s only loss came in the second game of the season 3-2 to St. Francis of Mountain View. The Spartans played eventual CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 finalist Jesuit of Carmichael in the next game and won 17-0. They didn’t lose again, capping the season with a 28-game winning streak. That’s tied for the sixth longest in-season win streak in state history and is the third-longest in CIF North Coast Section history. The team will need three more wins to start the 2020 season to break the school record of 30 set in 1986 but will need quite a few more after that to reach the NCS record of 42 set in 2006 by Justin-Siena of Napa.

The top team at the end of the season in Southern California, Cypress, can legitimately claim to be No. 1 in the state as well because of its higher placement in national rankings. In the nearly 40 years of Cal-Hi Sports state rankings, however, what national rankings do has never had that much of an impact. Almost all of them for many years in football, by the way, always ranked De La Salle lower than SoCal No. 1 teams before the Spartans started playing (and beating) those teams in 1998.

There’s no question that Cypress (31-3) won a much tougher section playoff bracket than De La Salle, but its regular season schedule before the playoffs was not superior. The Centurions didn’t go out of state to play in a major tournament and didn’t win the title in the Boras Classic. And arguing they’re from a league that is stronger than the EBAL ignores many factors.

In the end, both teams simply deserve all the credit and accolades they can get for doing what they did in 2019. There can only be one State Team of the Year, though, and for this all-time list anyway it’s De La Salle.

CAL-HI SPORTS ALL-TIME
STATE BASEBALL TEAMS OF THE YEAR

Head coach John Diatte and team at Valley Christian won this year’s CCS Open Division title after taking it last year that also clinched final No. 1 ranking. Photo: Mark Tennis.


2019 – Concord De La Salle (29-1)
2018 – San Jose Valley Christian (29-3-1)
2017 – Chula Vista Eastlake (32-4)
2016 – Clovis Buchanan (30-1)
2015 – Pleasant Hill College Park (26-4)
2014 – Clovis (33-5)
2013 – North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (28-4)
2012 – Vista (31-4)
2011 – Clovis Buchanan (30-2)
2010 – San Jose Archbishop Mitty (31-3)
2009 – Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley (26-6)
2008 – Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (27-4)
2007 – Long Beach Wilson (31-3)
2006 – San Jose Bellarmine (34-4)
2005 – Woodland Hills El Camino Real (28-4)
2004 – Chatsworth (35-0)
2003 – Carlsbad La Costa Canyon (32-1)
2002 – La Puente Bishop Amat (28-2)
2001 – La Puente Bishop Amat (27-2)
2000 – San Diego Rancho Bernardo (30-3)
1999 – Riverside Arlington (29-2)
1998 – Clovis (33-2)
1997 – Clovis (32-2) (plus one win by default)
1996 – Granada Hills Kennedy (31-3)
1995 – Fountain Valley (26-3-1)
1994 – Fountain Valley (27-3-1)
1993 – Fresno Bullard (26-3-1)
1992 – San Diego Mira Mesa (26-5)
1991 – Ontario (26-0)
1990 – Cupertino Monta Vista (27-3)
1989 – Fresno Bullard (28-2)
1988 – Fresno Bullard (29-1)
1987 – Lakewood (25-7)
1986 – Santee Santana (26-2)
1985 – Oxnard Rio Mesa (27-3)
1984 – Rancho Cordova (33-5-1)
1983 – El Cerrito (27-1)
1982 – San Diego Mt. Carmel (24-2)
1981 – Westminster (23-4)
1980 – Fresno Bullard (29-2)
1979 – Visalia Mt. Whitney (20-3)
1978 – Larkspur Redwood (30-5)
1977 – West Covina Edgewood (29-1)
1976 – Lakewood (22-4-1)
1975 – Torrance Bishop Montgomery (27-3)
1974 – Torrance North (26-6-1)
1973 – El Segundo (30-5)
1972 – Venice (19-3)
1971 – El Segundo (33-2)
1970 – Lompoc (27-1)
1969 – Sacramento Grant (16-1)
1968 – Fresno Hoover (27-3)
1967 – Long Beach Millikan (20-4)
1966 – El Segundo (24-4-1)
1965 – San Diego Crawford (22-4)
1964 – Lynwood (23-2)
1963 – Long Beach Poly (21-4)
1962 – Sacramento Bishop Armstrong (22-2)
1961 – S.F. Sacred Heart (32-2-1)
1960 – Fresno Roosevelt (20-2)
1959 – S.F. St. Ignatius (28-3)
1958 – Fresno (25-1)
1957 – Fresno (22-2)
1956 – Ontario Chaffey (21-5)
1955 – South Gate (17-2)
1954 – L.A. Loyola (22-5)
1953 – Compton (23-2)
1952 – S.F. Sacred Heart (29-5)
1951 – Sacramento McClatchy (22-0-1)
1950 – Long Beach Wilson (24-3)
1949 – San Diego (29-3)
1948 – San Diego (26-3)
1947 – S.F. Mission (12-1)*
1946 – San Diego (24-7)
1945 – S.F. Mission (10-0, League)
1944 – S.F. Mission (9-0, League)
1943 – L.A. Fremont (13-1)
1942 – San Diego Hoover (13-0 vs. prep teams)
1941 – S.F. Galileo (12-1)*
1940 – S.F. Mission (11-1)*
1939 – San Diego (20-5)
1938 – Glendale (4-0, Playoffs)
1937 – S.F. Commerce (12-2, League)
1936 – Long Beach Poly (23-2)
1935 – Sacramento (20-1)
1934 – S.F. Mission (7-0, League)
1933 – Fresno Roosevelt (20 -2)
1932 – San Diego (11-4)
1931 – S.F. Mission (8-0, League)
1930 – San Diego (19-3)
1929 – San Diego (31-5)
1928 – San Diego (22-8-1)
1927 – Fullerton (29-5-1)
1926 – Alameda (21-1)
1925 – Los Angeles (6-0, League)
1924 – S.F. Sacred Heart (6-0)*
1923 – San Diego (15-4)
1922 – S.F. Mission (6-1)*
1921 – San Diego (18-5-2)
1920 – San Diego (13-1)
1919 – Oakland Technical (8-0)*
1918 – San Diego (12-6)
1917 – San Diego (12-1)
1916 – S.F. Poly (7-0, League)
1915 – S.F. Sacred Heart (5-0)*
1914 – S.F. Lowell (6-0)*
1913 – Long Beach Poly (19-3-1)
1912 – Long Beach Poly (17-5)
1911 – S.F. Sacred Heart (5-0)*
1910 – S.F. Sacred Heart (8-0)*
1909 – Alameda (5-0)*
1908 – Palo Alto (4-0)*
1907 – Alameda (5-1)*
1906 – S.F. Lick (1-0 League)**
1905 – S.F. Lick (9-1-1)*
1904 – Palo Alto
1903 – Berkeley
1902 – S.F. Lowell
1901 – Berkeley
1900 – S.F. Cogswell
1899 – Palo Alto (5-0)
*Record for league and playoff games only.
** Playoffs and remainder of league schedule were cancelled due to earthquake.
Lick’s 1906 team was regarded as being better than its 1905 team.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


If you enjoyed this article, find out how you can get exclusive content, one-of-a-kind California high school sports content from the Cal-Hi Sports Gold Club.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*