By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
For those who believe the Bishop Amat High School baseball team should be competing in a much tougher division, the Lancers’ 13-2 victory over visiting Fontana Kaiser in Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinal just fuels the debate. The second-seed Lancers (27-4) are ranked sixth in the state by Maxpreps, and march on to Tuesday’s semifinals against Torrance, which is Amat’s home game, but with Amat’s softball team at home against South Hills the same day, Amat’s baseball game might get moved to an alternate site. (To continue click thread).
Bonita Notes: Bonita’s Justin Garza improved to 13-0, allowing just two hits in six innings in a 7-0 shutout over San Gorgonio. The Cats are a win away from advancing to their second straight title game. Garza is a win away from matching Edgewood great Mike Pill’s undefeated 14-0 mark, which he did twice in 1977 and ’78 in leading Edgewood to back-to-back championships. Pill’s 14-0 campaigns are the SGV record for most wins in a perfect season.
Friday’s quarterfinal results
Mission Viejo 12, Damien 2
Bonita 7, San Gorgonio 0
Bishop Amat 13, Kaiser 2
Through three rounds of the playoffs, Amat has outscored its opponents 26-3, so you can imagine the frustration for Cats coach Mike Spinuzzi, whose team also committed four errors — a recipe for disaster against the high-powered Lancers, who have sluggers like Wallace Gonzalez and Jay Anderson batting near the end of their lineup.
“We didn’t play good defense and that’s what happens,” said Spinuzzi, whose team hadn’t allowed a run in the playoffs before facing Amat.
The Sunkist League champion Cats finished 17-12.
“You can’t give a team like that extra outs,” Spinuzzi continued. “It’s a simple as that. They’re everything they’re advertised to be.”
Amat sophomore outfielder Adam Alcantara had a big afternoon, going 4-for-5 with six RBIs.
All of Alcantara’s RBIs came on clutch two-out hits. He drove in two runs in the second, third and fourth on two-out singles, helping the Lancers build an 11-2 lead.
“We had opportunities to chip away and our offense is built to score a run an inning,” Amat coach Andy Nieto said. “We had opportunities to trade an out for a run and we weren’t able to do it. When that happens, someone needs to clutch up with two-out hitting and that’s what (Alcantara) gave us today, and others got big hits with two outs. That’s the sign of a championship team.
“By no means do we think this is over, but good teams have to pick each other up offensively when things don’t go well in the inning, that’s what you saw today.”
Anderson had two triples and drove in three runs with a bases-loaded triple in the fourth.
Bernardo Zavala belted a two-run homer in the fifth and also had a double and scored twice.
Amat pitcher Daniel Zamora started and picked up the victory, going 4 2/3 innings before giving way to David Berg, who struck out four of the five batters he faced before handing off to Rio Ruiz to close the seventh. Ruiz struck out the first two, and ended it with a ground out.
“We hit the ball hard today, and that’s what’s important,” Nieto said. “Our goal is to not be a soft out, to take a firm at bat and make their defense have to make a play.”
The ending was tough on Kaiser senior pitcher Chance Fuglistahler, who pitched 5 1/3 innings and trailed 13-2 when Spinuzzi finally took him out. Christopher Mathewson came in and finished the game.
“We left the kid (Fuglistahler) out there for the simple reason he’s won 30 games in four years,” Spinuzzi said. “We asked if he wanted to come out and he’s done so much for this program, he’s going to get what he wants. He wanted to sit out there and battle until I couldn’t take it anymore. You got to give it to him for that.”