By John Sherrard
Recently hired baseball coach Darren Murphy of South Hills has only been on the job for two months and already he has helped guide the Huskies to a championship.
It may only be a fall baseball championship, but to win the 6th Annual Cory Lidle Memorial Tournament is special to the program, as Lidle was a graduate of South Hills.
South Hills, 5-1 in the tournament, won both a semifinal game (7-0 over Cathedral of Los Angeles) and the tournament final over Chaparral (3-2) of Temecula, 2-1, Saturday afternoon at South Hills high.
“It (win) takes a special angle of course because Cory is a graduate of South Hills so it’s a little extra significance,” Murphy said. “And also, us as a coaching staff, this is our first tournament with these kids, so it’s nice to win and change is good sometimes.”
In the championship game, pinch hitter Jake Johnson came off the bench and singled to left, scoring catcher Corey Cadek in the eighth inning for the win. Cadek opened the inning with a walk and was sacrificed to second
This is the second tournament title for the Huskies.
In the semifinal game, pitcher Gavin Velasquez went the distance, striking out ten batters and allowed only a first inning single.
Velasquez, a junior who has committed to Cal State Fullerton, was given a $1,000 scholarship for college by the Lidle Foundation for his performance in the tournament. It was presented by Cory’s sister-in-law Brandie Peters.
Velasquez was 2-0 in the tournament.
“It’s an honor to be even mentioned next to his name, who did a lot for the community,” Velasquez said.
With South Hills holding a slim, 2-0 lead in the semifinal game, the Huskies blew the game open with a grand slam in the sixth inning by pinch hitter Brennan Piceino to give South Hills a 6-0 lead.
The tournament featured 191 total teams, 24 of which were in the high school division.