You can watch a live stream of the game here and I will be tweeting updates @sgvnsports
By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
Bishop Amat High School will likely be the underdog when it faces top seed Palm Desert for the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 baseball title Friday at Dodger Stadium.
But the Lancers, seeking the school’s ninth CIF-SS title, don’t care.
It’s a role they have become accustom to in recent weeks, and will wear with a badge of honor when they face the Aztecs at 2 p.m.
“We know we’re in for a challenge and we know we’re in for a dog fight,” said Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto, who is seeking his fourth CIF-SS title with Amat. “But when it’s all said and done, it’s about us. It’s about playing against the game of baseball.
“We know our opponent is tough, but it’s no different than the schedule we’ve played. Every opponent we’ve played has been a quality opponent. This group is battle-tested and they are hungry. They deserve what’s happened to them, and they’ve earned it.”
Bishop Amat (20-11), which started 0-4 and looked in danger of missing the playoffs after losing three consecutive games during late April, has looked like a team of destiny in recent weeks, rallying late to win its last three games, including a 3-1 victory over Redondo in the semifinals on Tuesday.
The Lancers feature infielder/catcher Michael Palos, who is hitting .316 with 25 RBIs, and outfielder/pitcher Scott Hurst, who is hitting .434 with 24 RBIs. But lately its been the bottom of the order that has come through, including designated hitter Nick Valdez, who had the tying double in a 5-2 win over Quartz Hill in the quarterfinals, and a key double in the rally over Redondo.
Bishop Amat is also pitching rich and will likely look to senior Alex Garcia on Friday. He is 8-3 with a 1.79 ERA. He also has 92 strikeouts in 66 innings. Junior Isaac Archer (7-0, 0.80) and Hurst (1-1, with 5 saves) will also be available.
Palm Desert (26-6), which advanced with a 9-2 victory over Santa Monica on Tuesday, counters with infielder/pitcher Andrew Bash, who is hitting .437 with 34 RBIs, and outfielder/pitcher Gil Sauceda, who is hitting .326 with 29 RBIs. Bash is the likely starter on the mound. He is 9-2 with a 1.01 ERA.
The Aztecs are seeking their third title since 2010.
This is the schools’ fifth meeting against each other since 2011. Bishop Amat beat Palm Springs, 7-0, for the Division 4 title in 2011 and swept the Aztecs twice last season (3-2 and 8-6). Palm Springs scored a 5-1 win in the teams’ season opener in 2011.
“I can’t wait to (get to Dodger Stadium) again, said Hurst, who was a freshman when the Lancers beat the Aztecs for the Division 4 title in 2011. “It’s an unbelievable experience to play in that great field.
“We’re playing another great opponent in Palm Desert, so we’re going to have to battle to the end. It’s going to be a great game.”