By Steve Ramirez
AMAT GAME STORY: The big question mark for the Bishop Amat High School baseball team entering the CIF-Southern Section playoffs was if the Lancers’ no-name pitching staff would be good enough to support their productive offense. The answer came loud and clear Tuesday.
Ryan Serrato and David Berg combined on a two-hit shutout and Andrew Gutierrez had a two-run triple in the sixth to lead No. 2 seed Bishop Amat to a 3-0 victory over St. Bonaventure in a Division 4 second round game at Ventura College. (To continue click thread).
CIF-Southern Section Playoffs
Today’s second round results
Damien 7, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 5
Etiwanda 4, Chino Hills 2
Bonita 5, Northwood 1
Bishop Amat 3, St. Bonaventure 0
Oak Hills 11, La Puente 9
Montclair Prep 6, Sierra Vista 1
Chino Hills sent home: - Senior pitchers Andy Cerroni and Jason Broussard combined on a three-hitter and allowed just one earned run as Etiwanda High School defeated visiting Chino Hills, 4-2, in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 2 second-round game.
Aram Tolegian’s baseball roundup
Bonita 5, Northwood 1: Bonita High School pitcher Adam McCreery is all the way back, and that’s bad news for the rest of CIF-Southern Section Division 3. McCreery, who missed much of the season with an elbow injury and slowly was being worked back into the fold, threw a one-hitter Tuesday in leading No. 1-seeded Bonita to a 5-1 victory at Northwood. “We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow, but he hasn’t complained about his arm yet,” Bonita coach John Knott said of McCreery. “I don’t ever ask him how he’s feeling. He’s fine now and I’m tired of asking him.” McCreery, a 6-foot-8 prospect who’s headed to Arizona State next season if the majors don’t get a hold of him first, allowed just one hit and struck out eight. His return to full strength makes Bonita even scarier, considering ace Justin Garza is 12-0 and remains at Knott’s disposal. Bonita scored twice in the first inning to give McCreery a cushion. The Bearcats’ Matt Gelalich stole four bases and scored two runs. Bonita improved to 26-4 and will host San Gorgonio in Friday’s quarterfinals. “The key was to try and score first and put the pressure on the opponent.,” Knott said. “Their crowd was pretty quiet the whole game until the last inning when they tried to get into it. It was nice to score first and not feel the pressure of being a one seed and playing at somebody else’s house. “McCreery looked great. He had a lot of confidence and was throwing the ball hard. He’s
just tough to hit.”
Damien 7, Notre Dame 5 – Chad Hockin’s big day at the plate kept the Spartans’ playoff roll going. Hockin hit two- and three-run home runs to help the Spartans improve to 17-12. Damien made the postseason as a wild-card team but has beaten Glendora and Notre Dame to reach Friday’s quarterfinals.
Oak Hills 11, La Puente 9 – The Warriors almost dug out of a six-run hole, but their rally fell short. La Puente, which once trailed 7-1, closed to within 11-9 in the sixth and had the bases loaded with two outs, but couldn’t come up with a hit. Jimmy Jacobo led the Warriors by going 3 for 4 with three RBIs. La Puente finished 17-8.
The Lancers, who won back-to-back titles in 2007 and ’08 and came up short the past two seasons, improved to 26-4 and will host Kaiser, a 1-0 winner over Calvary Chapel of Santa Ana, in Friday’s quarterfinals. St. Bonaventure finished 15-14.
“Who these guys are, are a pitching staff,” Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto said. “It’s a cumulative sum of guys who are a brotherhood. In the past years we’ve been fortunate to have (Paul) Paez, (Brady) Zuniga and (Brandon) McNitt and you knew who was pitching on Tuesday and who was pitching on Friday.
“Now, it’s Johnny — Johnny The Whole Staff. That’s who we are. If good things are going to happen — and we’ve been fortunate to play a tough schedule and play well – it’s the cumulative sum of the whole staff.”
They lived up to the billing Tuesday, especially Serrato, who gave up just two hits and allowed only five base runners in five innings, while striking out 12.
St. Bonaventure, which upset Rio Hondo League champion Temple City in the first round, didn’t get a runner to second base during the first five innings and managed just singles by Raul Camacho and Jeremy Sanchez.
The Seraphs finally made some noise in the sixth, working Serrato for two walks. But Berg easily put out the fire. He got Cody Kurz to groudout before ending the threat by striking out Justin Strayer.
Amat, which had a runner thrown out at third with out out in the first and wasted one-out triples by Adam Alcantara and Jay Anderson in the third and fourth innings, finally broke through in the sixth.
Rio Ruiz led off with a walk and Seby Zavala, after a fielder’s choice, reached on a fielding error to put runners on first and second. A hunch by Nieto to pinch-hit Gutierrez for shortstop Dominique Davis, then paid off big time.
“Last game, it was the same situation and Andrew, with the bases-loaded, had a base hit,” Niteo said. “Sometimes, you play a hunch. When things work out, you look like a genius. But it’s not about the hit. He’s done a fantastic job coming off the bench and
hitting the ball hard.”
The senior lived up to that trust, hitting Josh Grajeda’s second pitch in the gap in left-center field for a triple and a 2-0 lead. Wallace Gonzalez followed with an infield single to make it 3-0.
“I was excited when (Nieto) called me up,” Gutierrez said. “I knew I could do that job.”
Berg, who struck out two, then retired St. Bonaventure in order in the seventh, getting D.J. Romero on a ground out to shortstop to end the game.
Also: What an afternoon for Bonita’s lefty Adam McCreery, who got the nod and threw a complete game one-hitter on the road in a 5-1 win over Northwood. That took guts on the part of Bonita coach John Knott, who could have gone with undefeated Justin Garza (12-0) on four days rest, or regular No. 2 Brandon Murfett, who is 5-0 and had taken over while McCreery battled back from an injury. It was nervous time for Amat for a while, locked in a 0-0 game through five innings before scoring all three of its runs in the sixth. And finally just confirmed that Damien did it again, beating Notre Dame 7-5 to advance to the quarters. Not bad for a wild-card and the lone team left from the Sierra after Chino Hills’ loss. And how about sophomore Chad Hockin, the grandson of the great Harmon Killebrew. If you remember, Hockin hit a home run on the day Killebrew passed last week. Today, he hit a three-run and two-run homer in Damien’s win. Talk about inspired.