Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Baseball: El Toro’s Jackson Shuts Out Corona for D1 Title (6/2/17)

Jake Jackson pitched a three-hitter to lead El Toro to a 4-0 win over Corona to win the Southern Section Division 1 baseball title. Photo/Jon Lofdahl

Jake Jackson was in attendance to see his dad coach El Toro of Lake Forest to a 2008 CIF-Southern Section title. Jackson set a goal from then on to win a championships at El Toro. That goal was met on Friday in resounding fashion.

Jackson struck out five en route to a complete game shutout to lead the Chargers to a 4-0 victory over Corona to win the 2017 CIF-SS Division 1 title at Dodger Stadium.

“My dad coached here in 2008,” Jackson recalled. “It got me set with the program and established here early to where I wanted to get here with my team … the best group of guys I have ever played with. It means the world to me to be here and be a CIF champion.”

Josh Zamora of El Toro had two RBIs and scored a run in a 4-0 victory over Corona for the Southern Section Division 1 championship. Photo/Jon Lofdahl

El Toro was seeded second and Corona was unseeded. El Toro was No. 1 in Southern Californai and Orange County in the So Cal Sidelines rankings. Corona was ranked No. 2 in the Inland Empire and No. 10 in So Cal.

Jackson and his teammates knew they had to jump on Corona ace Michael Hobbs early and they did just that. Hobbs was removed one pitch into the second inning, his 42nd pitch overall, trailing 2-0.

“We jumped on him early,” Jackson said. “It was really good for us to come out and get two runs in back to back innings to get him out of the game. We came in the game knowing that he was good, he’s going to St. Mary’s. He’s a very good pitcher and he works well in the zone. We just tried to compete against him and we competed really well and it led us to a CIF championship.”

Carson Negrete walked with one out in the bottom of the first inning for the Chargers (27-7-1) and would score on a double to left field by Josh Zamora. Zamora scored a batter later with on Tyler Lasch’s RBI single to right field.

In the second, Chase Luttrell singled to center field on Hobbs’ first pitch. That was it for Hobbs, but the Chargers were not done yet. After a Kenny Oyama single off reliever Dane Baker, Erik Tolman knocked in Luttrell in with an RBI single to right field to make it 3-0. Zamora added his second RBI, a sacrifice fly to right field, that scored Oyama to make it 4-0. Baker and Brennan Beck shut down the El Toro offense the rest of the day, but the Panthers (24-10) couldn’t get anything going against the stellar Jackson.

El Toro won 23 of its last 26 games, including the Division 1 title game at Dodger Stadium. Photo/Jon Lofdahl

“We faced a good team,” Corona coach Andy Wise said. “We faced a good pitcher and there is no time to get off to a slow start. Michael tried to do a little too much in the beginning. We don’t have the time for that when you face a good group like that. We had too many non-competitive pitches from our guy. We put ourselves in some bad counts and their guys took full advantage and did a great job.”

Tolman and Lasch each went 1 for 3 with an RBI, Luttrell went 2 for 3 and Zamora went 2 for 2 with a double and two RBI for the Chargers, who started the season 4-4-1 but went on to win 23 of the remaining 26 games.

“We were ranked pretty high in the beginning of the season, mainly because of the run we made last season,” El Toro coach Mike Gonzales said. “We won the league title, made it to the quarterfinals and we had everyone returning. There was a lot of expectations on the kids and sometimes those expectations get the best of them. I think early on, it did. They were mature and we are senior-laden. We were able to talk it out to get it on the right track. Fortunately we were able to.”

Hunter Collins went 1 for 2 with a double and Eric Gomez and Jayden Kiernan got a hit apiece for Corona.

After watching El Toro win it from the seats of Dodger Stadium nine years ago, Jackson is now part of his own CIF-SS championship team.

“It’s wonderful,” Jackson said with his coach hugging him. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

(NOTE: Report news and notes to So Cal Sidelines editor-in-chief/softball writer Carlos Arias via email (, text (949-606-3602) or Tweet (@SoCalSidelines))

Follow us on Twitter @SoCalSidelines.

El Toro defeated Corona to win the Southern Section Division 1 baseball championship. Photo/Jon Lofdahl

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