Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Baseball: Martin Henderson’s 7th Inning Stretch (5/22/15)

All four teams who reached the finals last season in Division 1 and 2 failed to get past the first round this season. Division 2 finalists Temecula Valley (the champ) and Aliso Niguel were beaten on Thursday. Santa Margarita the D1 champ, failed to qualify for the playoffs. The team it beat, Foothill, was ousted on Friday in a huge upset. … Foothill was the second-seeded team in the division. … Sometimes, you just get beat. The other team makes more plays. It happens. But man, happening in the first round with your ace on the hill isn’t supposed to happen. … The loss must sting after last season’s enchanted journey to Dodger Stadium, but if there’s one coach who can keep it in perspective for the players it’s Vince Brown. … Foothill had the right guy on the rubber, unbeaten Sebastian Lopez, but the Knights were unable to deliver clutch hits when opportunities existed and lost, 3-1, to Rialto Carter. … One of the runs was unearned against Lopez, now 10-1. … Lopez pitched a six-hitter and walked three; the second earned run, which turned out to be the winning run, got aboard on a walk. … In the wrong spot, a walk can kill you. … The winning pitcher, Ricky Hernandez, also pitched a six-hitter but with no walks in six innings. … Foothill scored on a double by Brandon Hudson and single by Evan Mickelson, but scoring only one run required Lopez to be near perfect. It wasn’t to be. …. Foothill had two runners on with none out in the bottom of the seventh, but the pinch-runner at second got picked off. I was always told, ‘If you get picked off second base it’s the third base coach’s fault.’ That was usually an adult. Or me. … After the pickoff, the next batter walked. That will have you pulling your hair out. … However, Foothill wasn’t alone on Friday. Three of the four seeded teams lost. That’s remarkable. … Third-seeded Glendora was beaten by Damien, 8-7, and fourth-seeded South Hills was beaten by Rio Mesa, 4-1. … As unpredictable as baseball can be, I wouldn’t think David Copperfield could make three of the four top seeds disappear in the first round. …

The only seeded team that won was top-seeded San Clemente, which beat Bellflower 12-2. … Now if the Tritons had lost also, someone would have had to have launched an investigation. … Seriously, when Kolby Allard was lost to injury early in the season, did you really think San Clemente would still be this good? Just imagine what they could be if they had Allard, one of the top prospects in the country who happens to be a left-handed pitcher. Like that’s not important. … Andre Pallante continued to do a nice job as fill-in ace for the Tritons. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning before giving up a couple of hits. He left with a 5-0 lead, then the Tritons scored seven in the sixth inning. … Lucas Herbert had four RBIs. …

Matt Torretto of Trabuco Hills. Photo/Martin Henderson

Matt Torretto of Trabuco Hills. Photo/Martin Henderson

Led by San Clemente, the Sea View League went 3-0 on Friday. … The biggest win belonged to Trabuco Hills, which won at Oxnard Camarillo, 2-1, in nine innings. … Chad Crosbie and Ryan Kearney drove in the runs in the top of the ninth, and reliever Zach Cuzzocrea survived a Scorpion rally in the bottom of the inning. … Matt Torretto came on in the second inning and pitched 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. … Torretto can be a pretty tough left-hander; he has kind of a funky delivery that’s really tough on first-timers. Since he didn’t start, I’m guessing Coach Michael Burns wanted Torretto to pitch on Tuesday. That’s part of the game of chicken coaches play with the rotation. Can you win that first game with your No. 2? Are you willing to take that chance since you can’t bring your No. 1 back on three days rest. (In my Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry voice) “Well do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, Coach?” … But in the end, you’ve got to win first to get to the second round, so you bring your stud into the game in the second inning. Turned out, it had to be done. …

Mission Viejo wasn’t willing to take that chance. The Diablos started Patrick Sandoval, who’s another left-handed pitcher likely to be drafted very high by a major league team. … Turned out Sandoval needed almost all of the runs his team provided as Mission beat Yucaipa, 6-4. … Three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, on a two-run single by Tyler Odekirk followed by Zack Sharpley’s RBI single, gave Mission a 6-1 lead and discussion in the dugout whether to pull Sandoval so he could come back on Tuesday in the second round. … Coach Chris Ashbach wasn’t having none of it. “What if I pull him and then it’s 6-6 and I got my best guy on the bench?” … It’s a game of chicken, I tell you. … Ashbach’s commitment to his ace may well have been necessary. In the fifth inning, Hunter Reade launched a three-run homer to make it 6-4. … Without the Odekirk and Sharpley RBIs, Yucaipa might have won 4-3. … Yucaipa did a good job. It got nine hits off Sandoval and “only” six strikeouts—with only two after the third inning. Sandoval also walked two. … Talk about making adjustments, Odekirk’s game-winning RBI came after he struck out looking in his two previous at-bats. That’s stepping up. …

Laguna Beach, that of the monster league winning streak, had no problem transitioning into the playoffs. The Breakers beat Colton, 20-0 in Division 4. … You know the joke is coming: They missed an extra point. … An 11-run second inning will sure make like easy for you. … What goes around, comes around: Colton beat Century, 17-4, in a wild-card game. … You know the joke is coming: The Yellowjackets had two touchdowns and a field goal in that one. … This was pretty one-sided. The Breakers had 20 hits and gave up only two. … They’re going to play at Apple Valley Granite Hills in the next round. GH beat Ridgecrest Burroughs 11-3. … That’s going to be a road trip. … Calvary Chapel, which finished second to Laguna Beach in the Orange Coast League, won at Fontana Kaiser, 1-0, in a game that featured only three hits. Calvary had two of them, and it was enough to get them into the second round against top-seeded California of Whittier. … California needed 13 innings to beat Jurupa Valley. … Calvary will get to host that game. Will the Eagles have another upset in them, especially after Cal used all that pitching? …

Some of the North Orange County teams had a great day. Perhaps none better than Sunny Hills. … The Lancers, the third-place entry from the Freeway League, dropped third-seeded Chino Don Lugo, 3-2. … Aaron Paek drove in the first run and Garrett Molnar drove in two more in a clutch three-run fifth inning. … Molnar pitched the final three innings—he allowed two hits and four strikeouts—to get the save. He and Christian Cano combined on a six-hitter. … Don Lugo scored its two runs on a home run in the first inning. … Even more impressive, Sunny Hills won this game on the road. … Who would have thought Garrett Molnar would still be playing and Kyle Molnar would not? This game is wonderful and crazy. … Sunny Hills will be the home team against Grand Terrace in the second round. …

The Freeway League went 3-0. … In addition to Sunny Hills’ victory, Troy also won on the road. The Warriors beat Montebello, 6-2. … Trailing 2-0, they scored one in the fifth, four in the sixth and one in the seventh for good measure. … That must have just crushed the home team, which was the Almont League champion. … The Freeway League champ, Sonora, made it a trifecta with a 2-1 victory over Alhambra. … The Raiders scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth and won despite getting only three hits. Alhambra had seven. … You know you’re living a clean life when you win with only three hits. Either that, or you’re really lucky. …

Both Orange League teams won on Friday. … Katella’s 2-0 road victory over Alta Loma sets up the Knights to play host to Sonora on Tuesday. … Alex Penaloza pitched a one-hitter against the second-place entry from the Mt. Baldy League. … I’m betting Alta Loma never saw that coming. … He walked two and struck out five. … Andrew Ruiz had an RBI. … Anaheim had a nice season and was even included in the Southern Section rankings at one point. … The Colonists got a for-hit shutout from Fernando Rojas in a 2-0 victory. He struck out seven and walked two. … Ryan Aguirre had an RBI and scored a run. … This qualifies as a pretty epic showing for this league. Good for them. …

Down in Division 6, the top two teams took care of business. … Top-seeded Sage Hill beat Villanova Prep, 6-2… Sage Hill scored twice in the first and second innings and, leading 4-2, once in the fifth and sixth. … Villanova Prep made five errors. That’s not usually going to get you anywhere against the No. 1 team in the division. … Sage will have to be sharper going forward, though. The Lightning made three errors, and was outhit 5-4. … Junior Conner Bock had two RBIs and sophomore Jack Pelc had the other. … Sophomore Brett Super struck out 12 in six innings. … Super has 97 strikeouts in 65 innings. He’s 9-0. … While Sage was in a bit of a scrap, second-seeded Crean Lutheran cruised to an 18-0 victory. … You know the joke is coming: They kicked six field goals. …

St. Margaret’s traveled out past Palm Springs, where the Tartans were beaten by Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian, 6-5. … This was a weird one. … St. Margaret’s scored three runs and chased starter Chris Palmer after two innings. But after Bermuda Dunes came back from a 4-2 deficit to take the lead, 6-4, Palmer came back in to pitch in the sixth inning with runners at second and third. He gave up an RBI double to Evan Clary to make it 6-5. … A pitch got away from the catcher but the runner trying to score from third was thrown out at the plate for the first out. Then Palmer retired the next five batters to get the save. … Timing is everything. … St. Maggie’s had the chance to win. Two runs scored against the Tartans when a bases loaded fly ball was dropped. … That had to be a long bus ride home. …

The fourth-place team from the Academy League (behind Sage, Crean and Margaret’s), Oxford Academy also won. It went on the road and beat Wildomar California Lutheran, the first-place team from the Arrowhead League. … The score was 17-2. … You know the joke is coming: It would have been a shutout if not for the safety. …

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