San Clemente (Calif.) baseball players Kolby Allard and Lucas Herbert haven done a lot of things together: surfing; signing letters of intent to UCLA and helping Team USA win the COPABE 18U Pan American Championships gold medal in September.
In June, they’ll also likely be selected high in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Allard and Herbert also are two of the 20 players on the 2015 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Preseason Baseball Team, the only duo from the same high school.
The pair are two of the five players from California on the ALL-USA team, 25% of the total. Texas also had five players.
Allard, a 6-foot left-handed senior pitcher, led San Clemente with a 1.32 earned-run average and was 6-2 with 98 strikeouts in 62.2 innings last season. He also was the Most Valuable Player in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in August. Unlike many hard throwers, he has excellent control and walked only 17 as a junior.
“On the field, he’s all business,” San Clemente coach David Gellatly said. “Off the field, he’s your typical lefty. As far as any pitcher we’ve had here, he’s got the best control in the strike zone that I’ve seen.
It’s gotten to the point, that when you run him out there and someone gets a hit on him, he gets frustrated with himself. He primarily throws a fastball and a curve ball. He has a change-up, but at the high-school level, he doesn’t have to use it.”
The 6-1 Herbert hit .284 with 11 doubles and 16 RBI and 24 runs in 33 games and threw out the only runner brave enough to run on him at the Pan American Championships.
Herbert and Allard also play together in the summer for the Southern California Renegades, where they’ve gotten used to high-level competition. Last season, Allard was the No. 3 pitcher for the Renegades, because the No. 1 pitcher was Brady Aiken, the top player in the 2014 MLB draft, and the No. 2 pitcher was Jacob Nix, who was taken in the fifth round.
“My team has been very lucky with the talent that we’ve had,” Renegades coach Si Pettrow said. “Kolby definitely is a gem. He has great control and has gotten better every year. We’ll often have him start out with off-speed stuff early in the count, because he can always throw fastballs for strikes if he has to. Normally, you have guys throw fastballs outside, but when he goes inside, a lot of hitters can’t catch up to him.
“Herbert may be the best athlete we have,” Pettrow said. “He rarely catches for us. We can play him at first, the outfield or shortstop. He’s become a leader. He started out as a No. 7 hitter for us and now is hitting No. 3 or No. 4.”