We will have reporters at every game today. I’ll make the drive to Orange County and cover Arcadia at Pacifica of Garden Grove. As soon as I land at the nearest Starbucks I’ll post results along with final scores of the other games. Our Clay Fowler at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin will cover Maranatha at Oak Hills of Hesperia and our Nathan Cambridge will cover Capo Valley Christian at Pasadena Poly.
ALL GAMES 3:15 P.M.
Arcadia at Pacifca/GG
Maranatha at Oak Hills
Capistrano Valley Christian at Pasadena Poly
By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
The last and only time the Arcadia High School baseball team won a CIF-Southern Section championship was in 1965 under Lani Exton in Division IV-A, then the highest division.
The Apaches also reached the finals the year before. But after consecutive finals appearances, Arcadia went 13 years before making its next finals in 1978 and needed another nine years before reeling off another deep run to the semifinals in 1987.
Since then, success in the playoffs has eluded the Apaches. Mike Parisi never got past the second round in four years at the helm, and Sean McCorry didn’t either following Parisi in three years as coach.
Four painful postseasons saw coach Nick Lemas and Arcadia bounced in the first round.
His fifth season has proven to be more fortunate as the Apaches make their deepest playoff run in 24 years when they visit Pacifica of Garden Grove today at 3:15 p.m. in Division 2 quarterfinal action.
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The success of the second-seeded Apaches (25-3) stems from standout performances on the mound from KJ Edson, who is 12-1 and has started both playoff games.
But there are other consistent performances of note.
Drew Klein has emerged as a reliable third baseman and the junior has made a heavy impression on Lemas.
“He’s anchored down at third with solid defense,” Lemas said. “He’s been able to move runners around and really been coming alive in the last few games.”
Sophomore second baseman David Dominguez has more than earned a spot in the lineup because of a defensive prowess that can’t be overlooked.
“He doesn’t hit as well but he’s absolutely gold at second base,” Lemas said. “The reason why he plays is because of his role defensively. A lot of those guys don’t get recognition because they don’t hit, but he knows the game really well and makes all the plays. He has a solid backhand, goes to his left very, very well and turns double plays as good as anybody.
“Just knowing that when the ball is hit to the right side he’ll gobble it up and be on top of the play.”
Junior catcher Brendan Campbell transferred from Gabrielino and is leading the Apaches with a .375 batting average to go with 16 RBIs.
“He’s a good leader and is a huge addition to our program,” Lemas said of Campbell. “We definitely wouldn’t be where we are without him.”
It’s said that in softball you can go with the same pitcher all season. It’s not the same in baseball, but when it comes to the playoffs, perspectives change.
It’s why Edson could start again today against Pacifica. Edson didn’t throw at all Wednesday, giving him two full days of rest heading into the quarterfinal. He can be available for 4 2/3 innings. Whether he starts or enters later is a decision Lemas will make depending on how Edson feels.
If it was up to Lemas, Edson would get the nod, assuming he feels OK.
“My whole philosophy has been if I’m going to lose the game I’m going to lose with my guy on the mound, unless he’s not able to throw,” Lemas said. “If he’s not able to throw, then he’s not throwing. If I have a guy that’s available to throw and he’s not hurt or sore then we’ll go with him.
“We’re fortunate that our best pitcher doesn’t get sore. Edson’s consistently doing things to prevent his arm from being sore. Granted, he throws in a manner that allows him to be a little more durable than most, but even when we had (Bryce) Rutherford he was able to go on a short day’s rest.”
Edson (0.56 ERA, 66 strikeouts) started against Alemany in the second round and Jeff Kim came in relief in the fifth inning to close the game for his second save of the season.
As competitive as Edson is, he’ll likely ask for the ball.
“We’re not out here to hurt the kid,” Lemas said. “This is just baseball and there are other things more important. We know he wants to go out there and if he can, then he will. If there’s any sign he’s tired or hurting he’s going to be out of the game or he won’t play in the game. That hasn’t been the case, knock on wood.”
Another trek for Minutemen
Maranatha (15-14), for the second time in these playoffs, will take a long eastward trip when they face Oak Hills (22-3) of Hesperia in a Division 5 quarterfinal today. In the first round, the Minutemen visited Citrus Hills of Redlands.
But long trips don’t faze Maranatha.
“All these kids were on this team when we went to Bishop for that five-hour drive,” Maranatha coach Brian DeHaan said. “That was a journey.”
Home cooking for Poly
Pasadena Poly (22-2-1) hosts Capistrano Valley Christian in a Division 6 quarterfinal game today.