By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
When Baldwin Park’s Dominic Hilo watched Century centerfielder Chris Santana stop running, he knew it was time to get his trot on.
Hilo’s grand slam in the third inning combined with pitcher Ben Fonseca’s complete game, 11 strikeout performance was more than enough to lead Baldwin Park to an easy 8-2 victory over Century in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 baseball playoffs on Friday.
Baldwin Park (21-5) will face La Serna, a 4-1 winner over La Habra, in the second round on Tuesday. Home field will be determined by a coin flip on Saturday.
“We’ve worked hard to get to this point,” Hilo said. “We’re trying to make a run at this thing, we’ve got four games to go.” To continue reading, click thread
San Dimas 7, Torrance 1: It wasn’t just gloomy weather that cast a shadow over Friday’s CIF Division 4 first-round baseball game between San Dimas and Torrance. The game was played with the Saints’ 2009 CIF championship banner, won against the Tartars, in the backdrop and draped over the wall in center field at San Dimas High. All of the players have departed from four years ago, but the result was the same as No. 4-seeded San Dimas (23-6) knocked Torrance (15-13) out of the playoffs with a 7-1 win. It was the Saints’ first postseason victory since beating the Tartars at Angel Stadium four years ago.
South Hills 2, Rio Mesa 1: South Hills’ baseball team got a two-hit pitching performance from senior Adrian DeHorta and defeated Rio Mesa 2-1 in a CIF-Southern Section Division 2 first-round playoff game on Friday. The Huskies will face the winner of the San Clemente-Mayfair matchup in a second-round game on Tuesday at a site to be determined.
CIF-SS BASEBALL PLAYOFFS
Friday’s First Round Results
South Hills 2, Rio Mesa 1
La Mirada 7, Damien 4
Aliso Niguel 7, Claremont 1
Northview 7, Ramona 4
San Dimas 7, Torrance 1
Baldwin Park 8, Century 2
Kaiser 3, Nogales 0
Tuesday’s Second Round Updated
South Hills at San Clemente, 3:15 p.m.
Bishop Amat at Palm Desert, 3:15 p.m.
Diamond Bar at St. Paul, 3:15 p.m.
South Torrance at Northview, 3:15 p.m.
San Dimas at Santa Ana Calvary Chapel, 3:15 p.m.
La Serna at Baldwin Park 3:15 p.m.
Village Christian at El Monte, 3:15 p.m.
Oak Hills at Sierra Vista, 3:15 p.m.
Baldwin Park had just taken a 2-1 lead in the third after Century pitcher Daniel Garcia plunked Timothy Wells with the bases loaded to force in a run.
Hilo then followed with a grand slam to center for a 6-1 lead.
“The coaches told me with two strikes to stay short and when I do that in practice, I still have a lot of power,” Hilo said. “As soon as I saw him (Santana) slow down, I put my hand up, I knew it was gone.”
Baldwin Park coach Jake Barendregt said the five-run cushion relieved some of the anxiety.
“It takes a lot of pressure off your pitcher,” Barendregt said. “He doesn’t have to worry about one or two runs costing you the game, he can pitch with a little more comfort.”
It wasn’t all smooth for Fonseca, but when he needed to make big pitches, he did.
Trailing 6-1, Century loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the fourth on an error and back-to-back singles.
Fonseca hit the next batter to force in a run to make it 6-2, but then got back-to-back strikeouts and a ground out to get out of the inning with a four-run lead.
“I came out and threw strikes and usually by the middle innings I cruise, but they bounced a couple hits off me,” Fonseca said. “So, I just came back and threw stirikes again.
“The (back-to-back) strikeouts were the biggest of the game. We had to stop the rally right there.”
Baldwin Park’s Jordan Palacio singled home two runs in the fifth to extend the Braves’ lead to 8-2.
Baldwin Park finished second in the Valle Vista, which boasted four teams with 20 or more victories.
In addition to Fonseca, the Braves also have power lefty Bernardo Flores, giving them a dynamic one-two punch — a recipe for playoff success.
“I don’t think anyone in the playoffs have two aces like us,” Hilo said. “That gives us a big advantage over a lot of teams. If we can put three or four runs for our guys, that’s usually enough.”
Making History: CIF spokesperson Thom Simmons sent this note: “Yesterday marked the first time in 26 years that 3 No. 1 seeds in baseball (Mater Dei, Bonita and Paraclete) lost in the first-round. Last time it happened in the first round was May 22, 1987… Redondo Union lost to South Hills, 6-5 in Division 3A; Saugus lost to El Rancho, 2-1 in Division 2A; Norte Vista lost to Temple City, 11-5 in Division 1A.”
Robledo’s pregame: What happened yesterday is what makes baseball so special and unpredictable. Mater Dei, arguably the best team in the country, goes down in the Division 1 first round to Huntington Beach, 2-1. Bonita, the defending Division 3 champion and top seed with a pitching staff built to go the distance, falls to wild card Cathedral 3-1. And Paraclete, No. 1 in Division 5, falls to Sun Valley Christian, 4-3. So, then what happens today? Mike the Cousin @sgvtrib_Mike is going make a special trip to South Hills to tweet updates of the Huskies’ D-2 first-rounder vs. Rio Mesa, no easy task at all. I’ve got South Hills winning, but I’ve got the other two Sierra League teams, Damien and Claremont, going down. Tyler Drohan @SGVtylerd will cover and tweet updates of San Dimas’ home game vs. Torrance, and along with San Dimas winning, I like the Valle Vista leagues chances of going 3-1. I’m covering Baldwin Park at home vs. Century and will tweet updates @sgvnsports, and have the Braves winning. I’ve got Northview winning at Ramona, but Nogales falling to second-seed Kaiser. But after yesterday, predictions don’t mean anything, right? Good luck all, and tweet updates to me as quick as you can.