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El Camino thrives with ‘extra player’ on team

05/25/2013, 11:29pm PDT
By Bill Dickens, Special to the U-T

Wildcats set school record with third win in baseball playoffs.

El Camino is enjoying one of its best baseball seasons in decades. Fact is, the Wildcats are two wins away from playing for the San Diego Section Division II championship this week.

More than winning, though, this is a special year for El Camino (17-15), which has dedicated the season to former teammate Forrest Leland Garrett, who died suddenly last year of complications from abdominal surgery. The team wears Garrett’s initials on their shirt sleeves and hangs his No. 17 jersey in their dugout wherever they play.

The No. 5-seeded Wildcats posted a school-record third playoff victory in Saturday’s elimination round, blanking top-seeded La Jolla Country Day 5-0. It marked only the second time this season the host Torreys (24-7) have been shut out.

Pitchers Mynor Barrientos and Dominique Murray combined to limit the Torreys to four hits and allowed only two runners to advance as far as second base.

Wildcats leadoff man Ryan Garcia hit the first pitch from LJCD starter Jackson Volle over the center-field fence.

“Yeah, that kinda set the tone for the game,” Garcia said. “That first pitch was a hanging change-up.”

It was the fourth time this season Garcia has led off a game with a home run. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior, who has eight homers this season, later tripled and scored.

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