Prep Impressions: March 17, 2011

I shot pitch-by-pitch video of the Riverside Poly-Corona Centennial varsity baseball game for and came away thinking the Bears offense, considered among Riverside County’s elite, was rendered ineffective by a good — not great — pitcher.

Poly’s studs, Chris Rabago and R.J. Ybarra, went a combined 1 for 6 against Centennial’s Matthew Taylor, who pitched a complete-game shutout. It doesn’t take a sabermatrician to know that a team fails most often when its most prolific hitters don’t succeed.

To his credit, Taylor mixed his pitches and kept hitters off balance. He had command of the plate, walked just one and allowed only one runner to reach third base over seven innings. It may not be his best performance of the season, but it’ll certainly be one of the best.

Taylor has had few performances that would have pointed to a shutout over Poly, ranked third in the most recent L.A. Times High School Baseball Top 25. His performances this season seem to indicate he’s improving with every start, though. He has two wins and a save in his last three appearances.

Poly’s offensive gameplan was unable to gain traction on the basepaths because the team has so few baserunners. Only once did the Bears have runners at first and third, and Taylor promptly struck out Ybarra to end the fifth inning. It was the last time Poly had an at-bat with runners in scoring position.

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