Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Baseball: Katella Finally Wins Epic Pitching Battle, Title (6/3/17)

It took 11 innings before Katella won the Southern Section Division 5 title with a 3-0 victory over Chaffey.Photo/Paul Luna

By TONY ARDUINO

Anaheim Katella won an epic battle with Ontario Chaffey to determine the Southern Section Division 5 champion on Saturday night. The Knights ended a scoreless battle, finally, with three runs in the top of the 11th inning to win the CIF-SS title, 3-0, at UC Riverside.

Runs were hard to come by as inning after scoreless inning went on the scoreboard. Until the 11th.

That’s when Katella senior Fabian Agredano broke the scoreless tie with a run-scoring single to left field that scored Skyler Johnson. Katella added two more runs for insurance, and then Agredano took the mound in the bottom of the inning to get the save.

“These kids have been battling for three years,” Katella coach Marcelo Miranda said.  “They deserve this.”

The night was dominated by pitching as both teams’ starters put up zero after zero.  Chaffey starter Lawrence Castaneda threw seven scoreless frames, allowing only four hits; Katella starter David Navarrete threw five scoreless innings while striking out six.

“I was out there trying to do my best and put zeroes on the scoreboard for my team,” Navarrete said. “My defense played great behind me.”

The dominant pitching didn’t end when the starters left. The relievers also threw well. Katella’s Johnson relieved Navarrete and threw five scoreless innings — and picked up the win.  The senior allowed only two hits.

“I went out there and tried to get my team back in the dugout,” said Johnson. “I try to be a presence on the mound and I did that tonight.”

Fabian Agredano came on in relief of Johnson for the final three outs.

Katella had many opportunities throughout to get on the board as they left 11 runners on base.  It was the bottom half of the order that did most of the damage as the Knights’ 6-9 hitters accounted for six of their eight total hits.

The bottom part of the Katella lineup got it going in the 11th. Navarrete reached base on an error to lead off the inning.  On the ensuing sacrifice bunt attempt, Tigers’ catcher Eddie Tanori made a great play, narrowly getting the lead runner at second base. Andres Agredano then followed with a single which set the stage for Fabian Agredano — who singled to left-center field for a 1-0 lead.

Chaffey coach Max Pinedo then intentionally walked No. 8 hitter Dru Zuniga to load the bases.  With the infield playing for the double play, Steven Limon executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt scoring Andres Agredano.  Leadoff hitter Michael Hill then capped the inning with an RBI single for the 3-0 margin of victory.

The CIF title is the second for Katella; the Knights also won in 2004.

“I feel so happy for these kids,” Miranda said. “Most of these guys have been three-year starters for us … I’m proud of them.”

Zachary Ehrhardt had three hits and Rhese Gomez had two hits for Chaffey in the losing effort. Gomez also took the loss — though all three runs he gave up were unearned.

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

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