At Arcadia High
7th Place: Nogales vs. Temple City, 10 a.m.
5th Place: Monrovia vs. Glendora, 1 p.m.
3rd Place: San Dimas vs. West Covina, 4 p.m.
Championship: Bonita at Arcadia, 7 p.m.
By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
ARCADIA – There’s little that any team can do when Arcadia High School sends KJ Edson to the mound.
The returning All-CIF and Star-News All-Area first-team pitcher proved why he’s highly regarded, throwing seven shutout innings and giving up only three hits in Arcadia’s 3-0 victory over Monrovia on Tuesday night in the Apache Invitational.
Arcadia (11-2) will host Bonita (11-3) in the championship game at 7 tonight at Arcadia High. Bonita beat San Dimas, 9-1, to win its pool after Glendora came up short in a 4-3 loss to Temple City.
Edson (5-1) was dominant from start to finish. He struck out eight and allowed no walks, and 60 of his 70 pitches were strikes.
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Bonita 9, San Dimas 1
Temple City 4, Glendora 3
Arcadia 3, Monrovia 0
Glendora 10, Bonita 0
San Dimas 9, Temple City 4
Monrovia 5, Nogales 3
Arcadia 5, West Covina 3
West Covina 9, Monrovia 0
Bonita 8, Temple City 2
San Dimas 6, Glendora 6, 8 innings
Arcadia 2 Nogales 0
“He’s pretty good,” Arcadia coach Nick Lemas said. “When he’s throwing strikes and getting ahead of guys, he’s really tough. The only time he gets in trouble is when he gets behind, but that doesn’t happen often.
“Nights like these, there’s not too many teams that can beat him.”
Monrovia committed three errors, but that didn’t faze Wildcats co-head coach Brad Blackmore, who felt that his team played well enough to at the very least make it a close game.
It came down the senior Edson going against Joe Mata, a sophomore for Monrovia who was making his second career start. Mata pitched 5-plus innings and gave up two earned runs and issued four walks.
“It’s not easy when you have a sophomore pitcher with one start in his life in a varsity game,” Blackmore said. “You’re facing a guy on the mound who is a returning All-CIF pitcher. You’re not going to be the favorite in the game, I don’t care who you are.”
Arcadia relied on aggressive base running to manufacture its runs, also taking advantage of a few Monrovia miscues in the process.
Brandon Benson led off with a base hit to center field. Brendan Campbell moved him to second when he connected on a 3-1 pitch for a base hit to right field. A balk moved the runners up a base before Benson scored on a wild pitch to make it 1-0.
In the fifth inning, Benson reached second on an error and advanced to third on another Mata wild pitch before scoring on a Campbell sacrifice. Brendan Toy pinch ran for George Papavasiliou, who drew a walk. Toy scored on a Drew Klein base hit to left field to make it 3-0. Arcadia stranded eight runners.
“We’re not the most offensive team around, but we have some speed,” Lemas said. “We were able to take advantage, steal bases, so that way we don’t have to bunt.
“We’re not going to get a ton of hits, but we’re going to be able to run the bases and put pressure on the defense and force them to make errors, hopefully.
“If they can play catch, then it’s going to be a close game. If not, we’re going to break it open.”