By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Leave it to Bonita High School junior pitcher Justin Garza to add some intrigue to the final moments of a 10-0 blowout over visiting Bell Gardens in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs on Friday. Garza took a no-hitter into the seventh before giving up a one-out hit to Danny Romero, followed by another hit by the Lancers’ Ryan Arambula. Garza battled out of it to run his undefeated record to 12-0, throwing his seventh complete game and first shutout. (To continue click thread).
Grand Slam buries Los Altos: - The CIF-Southern Section baseball playoffs are about stepping up when it matters most. Enter Rialto High School’s Angel Perez and Angel Mariscal. Perez slugged a grand slam in the sixth inning and Perez hit a three-run home run in the seventh as the Knights rallied for a 7-3 victory over Los Altos on Friday in a Division 3 first-round game.
Sierra Vista’s Novelo shines again: Sierra Vista High School played its first-round, CIF-Southern Section Division 5 baseball playoff game like summer vacation was going to start after the final out. In a game that took 1 hour, 40 minutes, the Dons (20-4) scored without benefit of a hit for a 1-0 victory over West Valley (Hemet) on Friday afternoon.
Today’s CIF-SS Baseball Games
Division 3 first round results
Bonita 10, Bell Gardens 0
Rialto 7, Los Altos 3
Sierra Vista 1, West Valley 0
La Puente 8, Desert Hot Springs 2
Cathedral 6, Duarte 3
Lompoc 4, Arroyo 0
Nipomo 3, Gladstone 1
It’s a season that has been remarkable for Garza, who entered Friday’s playoffs with a 0.60 ERA. He has allowed just six earned runs in 77 innings.
And he’s as humble as they come, knowing exactly what questions were coming his way after allowing just two-hits, his fewest of the season.
“At this point of the year nothing matters but winning and moving on,” Garza said. “The no-hitter would have been nice, but if I gave up ten hits and we got the win that’s all that matters.”
“I’m on a good team,” Garza said with a smile. “You can’t get close to a no-hitter without defense, that doesn’t get talked about enough. Plus, we scored a lot of runs, that always helps.”
Ideally, Bonita coach John Knott would have taken Garza out much sooner, but he wanted to give him the chance to throw the no-hitter.
“Stuff like that happens once in a blue moon so we left him in there,” Knott said.
The top-seed Bearcats (25-4) are trying to reach the divisional finals for the second straight year, advancing to Tuesday’s second round at Northwood (14-11), a 4-2 upset-winner over Lancaster.
“We talked about a couple of things,” Knott said. “We don’t want anyone talking about who’s next. We can talk about (Northwood) now, but you can’t look past anybody.”
Bonita didn’t waste time jumping on Lancers pitcher Albert Flores. Outfielder K.C. Huth doubled home Matt Gelalich and Robert Mier for a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Bonita managed just two hits over the next three innings, then broke out of it with Nolan Henley’s two-out, three-run homer in the fifth, and after tagging on another run, the Bearcats led 7-0.
“I got a 3-1 count and I knew I was going to get something to hit,” Henley said. “When I saw it I reacted and got a hold of it. That was the ceiling point of the game I thought, and with Garza, that’s more than enough.”
Bonita added three more runs in the sixth and finished with 14 hits, a great way to start a first-round game where top seeds sometimes have trouble.
“You saw what happened with (Baseline and defending Division 2 champion) Glendora losing to Damien in the first round (Thursday),” Henley said. “Upsets are kind of going around like that and being the top seed, you know they’re out to get you.”