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Eastlake nips Barons in nine, draws CIF Clash of Titans final vs. Poway
Phillip Brents | Wed, Jun 03 2015 10:52 PM
Are you ready for the Clash of the Titans, baseball-style? It’s set Friday, June 5, starting at 7 p.m. at the University of San Diego. The winner will emerge with this year’s San Diego Section Division I championship title. The top-seeded Eastlake Titans punched their ticket to the game by defeating the visiting Bonita Vista Barons, 6-5, in a thrilling nine-inning game encounter Tuesday afternoon. The sixth-seeded Poway Titans took a more indirect route after upsetting second-seeded La Jolla Country Day in a pair of one-run nail-biters Tuesday and Wednesday to remain standing in the double-elimination tournament. Poway edged LJCD, 8-7, on Wednesday to finally secure the remaining berth in Friday’s division final. Poway forced a second semifinal game by slipping past LJCD, 6-5, on Tuesday. Eastlake enters Friday’s grand finale 26-6 while Poway is 22-13 on the season. Eastlake avoided a second semifinal game against the fifth-seeded Barons (25-9) by overcoming a 5-1 deficit against the reigning Metro-Mesa League co-champions. Tuesday’s win was the Titans’ seventh consecutive and kept the team undefeated at 3-0 in playoff competition. “The kids turned the switch on,” EHS coach David Gallegos explained. “They believe they can win against anybody. They believe they can come back at any time.” The same seemed to apply for the Barons as well after Bonita Vista rallied from an initial 1-0 deficit to take a 4-1 lead on the strength of four runs in the top of the fourth inning, and then add another run in the next frame. Eastlake, needing only one more win to advance to the division championship game, scored in the bottom of the third inning as Jason Peabody drew a walk and eventually scored on a RBI groundout by teammate Dean Nevarez. However, the floodgates opened in the very next at-bat for the visitors. Ricardo Sanchez drew a walk, Daniel Schneemann reached base on an error and then Andres Velasco reached base on another error to load the bases. Chris Manookian drove in two runs with a single and then Chris O’Neill drove in two more with another single. In the top of the fifth inning, Ricky Reynoso reached base after being hit by a pitch and eventually came around after another walk and an error. Manookian received credit for the RBI to give him three for the game. Ahead 5-1 on the scoreboard, it appeared the Barons had what they needed, which was a key win to force a double-elimination game between the teams on Wednesday. Bonita Vista entered Tuesday’s game needing two wins to advance to the division championship game. But the hosts never gave in to those plans. Eastlake chipped away at the BV lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the bottom of the sixth innings to tie the game. Isaac Vargas drew a walk and motored to third on a double by Peabody. Angel Estrada flew out but Bailey Castro followed with a double to score two runs. 5-3 Barons. Casey Schmitt opened the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run. Julian Escobedo was hit by a pitch and then moved to second on a sacrifice. Peabody followed with a double to tie the game at five runs apiece. The teams played two scoreless innings before the hosts ended the game just an hour-and-a-half before the school’s graduation ceremony was scheduled to start at Sleep Train Amphitheatre. Nevarez struck out to open the bottom of the ninth inning but Jack Sandberg reached base on an error. Schmitt followed with a single to place runners and first and second bases. The ball then got away from the Barons on the next play, a fielder’s choice, when Sandberg scored on a throwing error at third base. “Little things happen,” Gallegos said. “It was one of those games where we got lucky. They threw the ball away. They’re a good team. It came down to mistakes. The pitching was excellent on both sides.” The host Titans used three pitchers in the game. Vargas went the opening three innings, yielding four runs but none of them earned. Schmitt then pitched five-and-two-thirds innings, allowing one run. Escobedo pitched the ninth inning and eventually ended up with the win to improve to 4-3 on the season. Bonita Vista started Kevin McCann on the mound, with relief help from John Freeman, Reynoso and Schneemann, who pitched the final two frames and was tagged with the loss. Eastlake will be making its third trip to the CIF finals after previously defeating University of San Diego High School for the 1999 Division II championship and Oceanside, 5-1, in an eight-inning contest for the 2002 Division II title. The Titans opened the playoffs with a 5-1 victory against eighth-seeded Carlsbad on May 27 and then clobbered fourth-seeded Madison, 11-1, last Friday to advance to Tuesday’s semifinal contest. Estrada and Nevarez delivered the big blows with a pair of three-run home runs in last Friday’s blowout win over the Warhawks (19-12). Bonita Vista edged 12th-seeded Ramona, 5-4, in a play-in game on May 26, then absorbed an 8-0 setback at Madison in the opening round of double-elimination play the following day. The Barons remained alive by eliminating Carlsbad, 12-2, in a challenger bracket game on May 29 and then enacted a bit of revenge by eliminating Madison, 5-2, in a road match-up on May 30. Chris Luna, Sanchez, Velasco and Reynoso each collected two RBI in the blowout win over Carlsbad as the Barons racked up 10 hits. Freeman and Schneemann combined to scatter seven hits on the hill. Manookian had two RBI in the elimination win over Madison while Sanchez and O’Neill also were credited with an RBI. McCann, Freeman and Reynoso combined to strike out nine Warhawks and scatter four hits. Schneemann and Reynoso picked up the wins over Carlsbad and Madison, respectively. Reynoso led the BV pitching staff in 2015 with a 10-2 record and 0.78 earned-run average. Schneemann finished 6-3 with three saves and a 2.06 ERA. Reynoso tallied 89 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched while Schneeman had 61 strikeouts in 47 innings of work.
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Eastlake hitters back junior left-hander with 11 runs in playoff win over Madison
Chula Vista — Eastlake junior left-hander Julian Escobedo has found lack of run support to be a bigger challenge this baseball season than anything offered up by opponents.
That changed big time in Friday’s second round of the San Diego Section Division I playoffs.
The top-seeded Titans pounded out nine hits, including three-run homers by Angel Estrada and Dean Nevarez, en route to an 11-1 romp over visiting Madison.
“I’m used to pitching under pressure because the coach gives me the ball in all the big games,” said Escobedo. “Those are the only games I want to pitch — to face the best.”
Escobedo surrendered only two hits and struck out seven in six innings for Eastlake (25-6). The run for Madison (19-11) was unearned.
Escobedo retired the first nine batters he faced. He received an early offensive lift from Estrada, who gave the Titans a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Estrada, the Titans’ leadoff hitter who is batting just under .500, was 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
“It’s a nice feeling to be pitching with a lead, especially when it comes early in the game,” said Escobedo (3-3). “I really don’t think about what the score is. It’s a straight tunnel for me — to the catcher. I don’t hear all the chirping and hollering from the other team. I stay nothing but positive.”