San Ramon Valley pitcher Alex Barden impressed at the Bay Area World Series this summer and eventually landed an offer from the hosting Santa Clara Broncos. He turned his performance into a Division I commitment.
"The Bay Area World Series was where I first had the chance to throw in front of the Santa Clara coaching staff," said Barden. "While out there, I got ahead of hitters and made use of all of my pitches while on the mound at the showcase. Blaine Clemmens did an excellent job of running the event and it was fun getting to play with the top players in the Bay Area."
In addition to the Broncos, Barden was talking with Boston College, Brown, Georgetown, Penn, and UC San Diego. He took three visits to the East Coast before making the local commitment.
"The biggest factors that intrigued me about Santa Clara was the ability to play baseball at a big time Division I school and still get a good education," said Barden. "I felt a strong connection with the coaching staff and thought I could learn a lot from [Pitching] Coach [Gabe] Ribas."
The 6-foot-5, 210 pound lefty locates well and mixes in his offspeed stuff effectively. Although Barden only throws in the low-80s, he has plenty of potential for more speed with his size. Barden said he's working on his leg and core strength to increase his velocity. He held a 1.69 ERA in 41.1 innings at San Ramon Valley last season with 20 strikeouts.
He added, "My strengths are that I command the strike zone well with four pitches and have a good pickoff move."
In the classroom, Barden is a stellar student with a 4.11 GPA. His favorite subjects are statistics and economics, but he'll major in Business with a focus in marketing.
The Wolves finished last season with a 10-14 overall record, but they'll return Barden, Stanford commit Matt Winaker, and 10 of last year's 16-man varsity roster. Barden believes there were be plenty of improvement.
"I'm very excited for this upcoming season for San Ramon Valley," he finished. "We have a lot of returning talent with three Division 1 recruits already and more to come, so I am expecting a lot out of our team this year. [Head] Coach [Chris] DeClercq has extensive postseason experience and there are a lot of positives to look forward to for this season. SRV has its sights set on a deep run in this year's NCS playoffs."
Barden joins Acalanes shortstop Austin Fisher and Clayton Valley centerfielder Grant Meylan as Northern California commitments for Santa Clara's 2014 class. All three competed at the Bay Area World Series this summer.