By Fred J. Robledo There’s usually no greater pressure than heading into the CIF-Southern Section playoffs as a divisional top seed.Except in San Dimas’ case, where the bullseye will take on an entirely different meaning when the Division 3 high school baseball pairings are announced on Monday. It’s not just championship or bust, it’s history or bust. It’s trying to do something no Southern Section team has done in more than two decades or bust. Finish undefeated.
The Saints wrapped up a perfect regular season on Wednesday, beating Wilson 3-2 in dramatic fashion to improve to 28-0, which set a San Gabriel Valley record for consecutive victories, eclipsing Bishop Amat’s 1993 record of 27 consecutive wins.
It didn’t come easy.
Wilson’s Vincent Santana hit a two-out, two-run homer to left in the fourth inning to stun Saints ace Peter Lambert to take a 2-0 lead. But the Saints rallied back with power of their own.
With runners on the corners in the fifth, Tommy Acuna belted a three-run homer to left — his first of the season — to give the Saints a 3-2 lead that sent them on their way to victory.
When Acuna walked to the plate, teammate Jacob Castillo whispered something in his ear.
“He (Castillo) said stay calm and do what you do best,” Acuna said. “We’ve come back from bigger deficits before, two runs is nothing for us.”
Other than giving up the homer, the UCLA-bound Lambert was dominant again, allowing two hits while striking out 15 to outduel Wilson’s Matthew Rodriguez, who dropped to 6-3.
But it was Acuna that saved the unbeaten season for the Saints.
USA TODAY NO. 1: San Dimas baseball’s historic season has it ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today’s Top 25 National rankings that was updated May 6. San Dimas is 26-0 following a 9-0 win over Rowland on Thursday, leaving it one game shy of matching Bishop Amat’s 1993 San Gabriel Valley record for consecutive baseball victories with 27. Bishop Amat didn’t win the championship that year, but its 27 straight wins is eighth all-time in the CIF record books. Lompoc owns the CIF record for consecutive wins with 36 set in the 1970-71 season.
Assuming San Dimas can win its next two games, which includes a pair next week against Wilson with a chance to close out the Valle Vista League undefeated, San Dimas would head to the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs with a perfect record and not just a chance to win a D-3 crown, but an opportunity to win a USA Today National title.
Girls softball Bishop Amat vs. St. Paul for Del Rey Leauge title at York Field in Whittier on Monday, May 11, 2015. St. Paul wins 6-4. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ Whittier Daily News)
By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
WHITTIER >> The Del Rey League softball championship will remain at St. Paul High School.
Myranda Bueno had three hits and four RBIs and the Swordsmen clinched a share of the league title Monday with a 6-4 victory over rival Bishop Amat at York Field.
Gabby Walker was steady in the circle and had a RBI single for the go-ahead run in the fifth for St. Paul, which improved to 19-6 overall and 10-1 in league play. The Swordsmen won the Del Rey League en route to the CIF-Southern Section Division III title last season.
Alyssa Barrera hit a two-run home run in the seventh and Miranda Larios had four hits and a RBI for the Lancers, who slipped to 16-7 and 9-2.
“This means a lot,” Bueno said. “We knew people were talking about us this year, about how we lost all our seniors from last year. But we’re back in it.”
St. Paul, after giving up the lead in the top of the fifth, regained it in the bottom of the inning. Sydney Kriemann was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning before Niko Walker walked. Gabby Walker, with runners on second and third and two outs, then lined a RBI single to right field for the 3-2 lead.
Jacilyn Candelas then walked with the bases loaded to make it 4-2 before Bueno singled to right-center for two runs and a 6-2 lead.
“I faced Samaria (Diaz) in practice on my travel ball team,” Bueno said. “I was just doing what I usually do.”
Bishop Amat tried to rally in the seventh. Rayne Barragan led off with a single and Barrera homered to right field to cut it to 6-4. Larios then singled with one out before Madeline Ramirez reached on a fielding error.
Gabby Walker then ended it by inducing Julia Menrad to pop out to short.
“It’s all about timely hitting,” Bishop Amat coach Kristen Dedmon said. (St. Paul) came up with runners on base and they were able to put the ball in play.
“We started to rally back in the last inning, but we needed to do that earlier in the game.”
Bishop Amat took the early lead, going up 1-0 in the second on a walk to Menrad, a single by Julia Valenzuela and RBI ground out by Sabrina Gonzalez.
St. Paul countered with two runs on a pop double by Bueno for a 2-1 lead. The Swordsmen then put it away with its four-run fifth.
BLUE-RED-GAME: Coaches in the East San Gabriel Valley need to contact Nogales baseball coach and all-star game organizer Don Montanez to nominate players for the San Gabriel Valley Blue-Red underclassman and senior games. The Underclassman game will be held at Moor Field in Alhambra on June, at 2 p.m. and the Senior game will be held at East Los Angeles Community College in Monterey Park on June 8, at 7 p.m. Danny Roddy of Northview and Danny Meza of Rosemead will coach the Underclassman Game. Paul Acosta of Walnut and Houston Hernandez of Schurr will coach the Senior Game.
MORE ALL-STAR GAMES: In addition to the Blue-Red game, this year there will be a San Gabriel Valley Tribune Area all-star underclassmen and senior baseball game at Mt. San Antonio College on Saturday, June 13. South Hills coach Darren Murphy is the tournament organizer along with help from other area coaches. Tribune area coaches interested in the game should contact Murphy at South Hills.
Bonita High teammates congratulate each other after a 3-1 win vs Sonora High at Sonora’s La Habra, Calif. campus field March 31, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)
When the Palomares league was created, it was baseball that caught everyone’s attention. Throwing area heavyweights Bonita, Glendora and South Hills in the same league with Ayala, Claremont and Diamond Bar was sure to create some excitement, and it has, with three-teams tied for first and Bonita only a game back with four to play. It will all be settled by next week, but some good teams won’t make the playoffs. The biggest home-and-home series is Bonita and Ayala, with the Bearcats hosting today at 3:15 p.m. A Bearcats sweep could put them in title contention, however if they get swept they likely get knocked out of the playoffs completely. Today’s schedule
Ayala at Bonita, 3:30 p.m.
Diamond Bar at Glendora, 3:30 p.m.
South Hills at Claremont, 3:30 p.m.