The California baseball team was on a roll last week, and not just on the field, taking four of the final five games of the season. On Sunday, the Bears netted a commitment from 2015 star Kasey Wallace, and, on Saturday, Cal scored a commitment from 2017 prospect Darren Baker. Yes: That Darren Baker.
While Baker may be the name that grabs most Bay Area baseball fans, Wallace is a fast-rising name in the baseball recruiting world in the class of 2015. Called a right-handed Lucas Erceg by those who've scouted him, Wallace hit .500 this year in 25 games, driving in 27 runs and scoring 31, while slugging seven home runs for Pinole (Calif.) Pinole Valley.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder is a long, lean shortstop, who could grow out of the position and into a corner outfielder or a third baseman.
"He likes that I'm very comfortable out there," Wallace said of his conversations with pitching coach and chief recruiter Mike Neu. "It's not a position that I don't know how to play, and he knows that I'm comfortable being a captain out there, and he likes my work ethic. I just want to play baseball, 24/7. That's really what I do."
Wallace pulled the trigger on Senior Day, when Cal downed visiting Arizona 6-4 on May 18, while he was accompanied by Baker (who committed 24 hours later), the 2016 St. Francis duo of shortstop Andrew Martinez and righty Hunter Bishop, preferred 2014 walk-on second baseman Elijah Smith of Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo, 2017 Petaluma (Calif.) Casa Grande shortstop Spencer Torkleson, 2016 Campolindo outfielder Max Flower, 2015 commit Jeremiah Burks and California High School 2017 righty Zach Chalmers.
Last Sunday also saw that comeback win by Cal, along with nearly 1,500 paying customers, an atmosphere that appealed to the imminent commit, as it did during the series against Oregon State, when he first visited.
"The atmosphere around Cal was really nice. Everyone was welcoming and everything, and it's a good baseball program, coming up," Wallace said. "The campus is beautiful, the baseball field is beautiful, and the thing about Cal, they were really interested in me going there."
The fans also played a large role in Wallace's decision to pick the Bears over an offer from Hawaii.
"It's actually very overwhelming, at first, because I didn't realize how big of a fan base Cal had," Wallace said. "Playing in front of a lot of people was actually very exciting, and knowing that everyone's coming out for you guys, day in and day out, that's very good."
The largest crowd that he'd ever played in front of before?
"A few hundred, probably three or four hundred," Wallace said.
Though Pinole Valley's season ended four days ago, after a 13-inning marathon against Sonoma Valley, local fans can see Wallace in action on July 17, when he plays for the Oakland Athletics Area Code Games team at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif. He will also be playing in a showcase in Georgia from June 25 to July 3, and then will participate in the Perfect Game USA Northern California Underclass Showcase on August 2-3 at Laney College in Oakland.
The 2015 class now includes Wallace, Burks, San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine catcher/outfielder Ty Greene, Pleasant Hill (Calif.) College Park center fielder Jeffrey Mitchell and Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's shortstop Ripken Reyes.
BSB: Cal Adds Local Infielder to 2015 Class
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