I don’t know if Freddie Robledo and his boys are just sandbagging, but there seems to be little belief on the westside that Monrovia can defend its title and take down Amat. It will be ace against ace on Saturday night when Eddie McKiernan and Maverick Olivares oppose each other in a game that will probably take only an hour to complete. Below you’ll find the musings of those who have either covered or coached against both teams in Saturday’s finals. I’d imagine Saturday’s crowd is going to be huge as everyone in the Valley will head east for the showdown. I know, I know, it sucks to go all the way to Riverside to play a game that very easily could’ve been played locally with a lot less money spent on gas. But, just look at Saturday’s game as the only good reason anyone could ever have to set foot in Riverside. Now, on to those predictions … Aram Tolegian: “Amat scores only twice and Monrovia once. McKiernan is dominant, but so is Olivares. Both teams flash leather and do the little things, but Amat does them slightly better. I’ve said it all along, Amat is just top-to-bottom better than anybody in the SGV. That doesn’t mean they can’t be beat, but I’ve seen a lot of teams who have one or two great players, three good ones and the rest average. Amat is just good up and down – batting order, starters and bullpen. Plus, when you watch this team, you can tell Coach Andy Nieto has taught them well. They’re fundamentally sound.” Yes, I just quoted myself. Brian Baiotto: “I definitely think Bishop Amat is going to win because they’ve kind of been cruising through the playoffs. They’re just too sound of a team. I just don’t think McKiernan can beat them alone, as great as he is.” If anybody should know, it’s Northview coach Darren Murphy. He’s played them both. Murphy: “That’s a tough matchup. I like Bishop Amat’s overall depth. They’re better than people assume. When you see Amat, you know you can play with them, but you hope your kids aren’t blown away with the Amat mystique. I like pitching in the playoffs, and Monrovia will be in it with McKiernan. The fact McKiernan has won a championship, and Amat hasn’t, that’s makes it a great game. Overall, though, I’d have to go with Amat’s overall depth. You think they’re beatable, but they find a way to pull out wins.”
Here’s the what the boys from the ‘Dena think:
Fred J. Robledo: Will Monrovia start McKiernan and bring someone else in the seventh inning, or start Eddie in the second inning, and let him finish. I hope the latter is true. In any case, I’ve seen Monrovia and McKiernan enough to know that if Monrovia plays defense behind Eddie, they’re going to win. I watched Monrovia commit three errors in McKiernan’s only loss, a 4-3 setback earlier in the season against Northview. I watched the Cats self-destruct with six errors on Tuesday, but McKiernan came in the fourth inning and settled everything down, then threw shutout innings in the fourth, fifth and sixth to allow the Cat’s to rally and pull out a miracle, 15-14 over Woodcrest Christian in the semis. I’ll set the over/under at 2. If the Cats commit 2 errors or less, they win. Anything more than 2, and the Lancers walk away with the title.
Andrew Campa, Star-News correspondent “Bishop Amat,” Campa said. “Amat is a division one team playing in division five. They’ve been the most consistent team in this division, and they breezed through a relatively tough Del Rey League. You like Monrovia’s heart, but it can only take you so far.”
Scott Galetti, Star-News staff writer: “Bishop Amat,” Galetti said. “Eddie’s only available for six innings, and once they get past him, I’m not sure if the rest of Monrovia’s staff can hold Amat down. I witnessed a game where Amat scored ten runs after La Salle’s starter went out earlier in the season. After seeing what happened without Eddie against Woodcrest Christian, I’d have to go with Amat.”