West Ranch baseball’s Callahan picks UC Santa Barbara

West Ranch JD Callahan (26) earns a save as he pitched two scoreless innings in the game against Golden Valley. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/For The Signal

When you watch JD Callahan stride onto the mound at West Ranch High, there’s no doubt he looks like a Division-1-baseball-pitcher-to-be.

He’s 6-foot-4 and lanky with an electric arm.

UC Santa Barbara – to which Callahan committed last week – evidently sees the rising junior that way, and with the strides he took over spring and summer, he is closer to being ready to pitch at that level.

Callahan, whose fastball already reaches the upper 80s, split the beginning of the spring season between varsity and junior varsity.

The Wildcats coaching staff projected him as a starter, and with Timmy Josten and Alex Burge excelling on varsity, Callahan got innings at the lower level.

He finished the season with varsity as a middle reliever, ending the year with a .86 ERA in 16 1/3 varsity innings.

He struck out 15 and walked five.

Then, over the summer, he worked to clean up his mechanics so he’d remain more consistently in the strike zone and also worked to fine-tune his curveball and changeup.

The effort has put him in position to challenge for a spot in West Ranch’s starting rotation next season and also earned him the NCAA Division 1 scholarship offer he dreamed of.

“The baseball program is great. The academics are great. It’s a great campus,” Callahan said. “I love the field. It’s everything I was looking for in a school.”

 Getting ready to go

In a final exhibition before leaving for Taiwan, the United States’ 12U National Team beat the Total Baseball Bears 17-0 at VTV Baseball Complex in Castaic on Monday.

Santa Clarita resident Kai Caranto went 2-for-3 with a double and a home run. Valencia resident Gregory Pierantoni pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

The 12U National Team played three games – one Saturday, Sunday and Monday – in preparation for the U-12 Baseball World Cup, which begins on July 28.

The USA opens against Australia.

During the three days of exhibition, Caranto went 6-for-8.

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