By Steve Ramirez
SAN DIMAS – The general concept says that the degree of difficulty is supposed to increase the further a team advances in the CIF-Southern Section baseball playoffs.
San Dimas High School might be the exception.
Ricky Ramirez had four hits and three RBIs and Josh Avila had four RBIs to lead a 22-hit attack as the Saints cruised to the semifinals with a 19-5 victory over visiting Sonora in a Division 4 quarterfinal game.
San Dimas, also getting three hits and three RBIs from Logan Murratalla and three hits and two RBIs from Andrew Espinoza, improved to 26-6 and will travel to top seed Oaks Christian, which eliminated Northview, 15-4, in Tuesday’s semifinals.
AJ Oviedo and Brandon Chandler had three hits each for Sonora, which finished 23-7.
“It did shock us,” said Ramirez, who had a double and single to highlight a 12-run third inning which put the game away. “We were expecting a battle. We had the opportunity to score a lot of runs and it made it a lot easier for us. It just made every thing go smooth.”
Early on, it looked like it would be a tight contest. But the Saints, who have showed the ability to get hits in bunches, put on a hitting display in the third, scoring 12 runs on 13 hits to push it to 14-2.
Ramirez, Murratalla and Daniel Vasquez had two hits each in the uprising as the Saints first five batters reached base safely, including RBI singles by Murratalla and Vasquez for a 4-2 lead.
Avila had a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2 before Ramirez followed with an RBI double and Aaron Torres with a bunt single for a run. Elias Orona and Murratella broke it open with a pair of two-run singles.
“We were very offensive today,” San Dimas coach Mike Regan said. “Our guys hit the ball very, very well. They stuck to the plan and did a tremendous job.
“This is one of our best offensive performances of the season. It felt really good.”
Sonora, which won the Freeway League title, didn’t go away quietly. The Raiders, getting RBI singles from Chandler and Gavin Blodgett, rallied to cut it to 14-5 in the fifth before San Dimas starting pitcher got out of a bases-loaded jam by inducing Josh Choice to line out.
San Dimas, getting a two-run double from Espinoza, then scored five runs in the fifth to put it away at 19-5.
“At the beginning, it was toe-to-toe,” Regan said. “It was nice to open it up. In the last game (won by San Dimas, 1-0, over Santa Ana Calvary Chapel), it felt like the ball wouldn’t go anywhere and we couldn’t score a run. Our guys battled through it.
“In the playoffs, I expect every game to be a battle. I think our guys stuck to our approach at the plate. They got some fastballs to hammer and they did a really good job.”
By Steve Ramirez