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Prep baseball championships preview

06/02/2016, 8:40pm PDT
By John Maffei

San Diego Section finals

Vista sophomore Ivan Luna is a double threat for the No. 2-seeded Panthers. At the plate, he’s hitting .380 with 19 RBIs. On the mound, he’s 7-2 with a 1.63 ERA.

Admission: $11 adults, $7 students


(4) Eastlake (29-4) vs. (3) Cathedral Catholic (24-9)

Where: USD’s Fowler Park

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Preview: Eastlake moves up to the Open Division after losing the Division I championship game to Poway last season. The Titans have four Little League World Series players in Micha Pietila-Wiggs, Ben Ramirez, Grant Holman and Nick Mora. Add Casey Schmitt and Julian Escobedo and this is a good offensive team with strong pitching. Cathedral Catholic, the Division III champ in 2011 and 2012, is led by Jordan Chang (.358, 18 RBIs), Jacob Allred (.343, 14 RBIs) and Cole Mueller (.352, 12 RBIs). Neither ace — Connor Lunn (9-1, 0.84 ERA) nor Preston Price (6-3, 2.30 ERA) — has pitched this week.


(2) Vista (27-6) vs. (1) Granite Hills (22-12)

Where: USD’s Fowler Park

When: Friday. 7 p.m.

Preview: Vista, which has won 14 straight, is back in the title game for the first time since beating Rancho Buena Vista 1-0 in 2012. The Panthers are paced by rocket-arm catcher Korey Lee (.407, 21 RBIs), Chaylen Nyenhuis (5 HR, 29 RBIs) and Ivan Luna (.380, 19 RBIs). Michael Rishebarger (9-1, 1.32 ERA), Andrew Geisler (6-0, 2.84 ERA) and Luna (7-2, 1.63 ERA) are all available to pitch. Granite Hills, which won the Open Division championship in 2014, is led offensively by Dillan Shrum, Sean Ross, Josh Verdon and Andrew Brown. The Eagles used up their pitching aces in winning two games this week, but Brown and Shrum could pick up some innings.


(4) San Marcos (22-7-1) vs. (2) Scripps Ranch (20-11)

Where: USD’s Fowler Park

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Preview: San Marcos, which has won nine in a row, last played in a final in 1986, losing the Division II title to Mission Bay. The Knights are led by Andrew Crane, Zack Prajzner and Dominick Buso. The pitching staff is rested and ready. Scripps Ranch has never played for a championship. The Falcons are led by Matt Rudick (481, 5 HR, 28 RBIs), Nick Gallardo (.357, 19 RBIs) and Jake Sim (.286, 5 HR, 19 RBIs). Staff ace Matt Meyer (7-1, 0.81 ERA) figures to get the start with Sean Beaver (4-0, 2.92 ERA) and Ryan Isaacson (4-3, 3.61) available.


(7) Del Norte (18-16) vs. (1) Coronado (29-6)

Where: USD’s Fowler Park

When: Friday, 3:30 p.m.

Preview: Del Norte is playing its sixth playoff game, having to win an elimination Wednesday to get here. The Nighthawks, who lost 5-4 to Christian in last year’s final, are led by Grayson Rollins and Marco Young, who both have 14 RBIs. Having played two games this week, pitching is a concern. Michael Hoving (7-2, 2.17 ERA) is the staff ace, followed by Scott Roberts (5-5, 2.38 ERA). Coronado raced through the playoffs in three games, outscoring its opponents 21-3. The Islanders have won 10 of their last 11 games. Coronado’s last trip to the finals was a 5-4 Division IV win over Madison in 2010.


(4) Sweetwater (22-13) vs. (2) Sage Creek (15-17)

Where: UC San Diego

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Preview: Sweetwater, which is playing in its first title game, is led by Isaac Piche (.351, 10 RBIs) and Abraham Gonzalez (.326). Guillermo Espinoza and Ryan Galuz are the aces of a pitching staff that had to work twice this week. Sage Creek, which is making its first appearance in the finals, is led by Sam Wezniak (.354, 5 HR, 23 RBIs) and Bryce Buscher (.361, 22 RBIs). The Bobcats have 59 steals, 11 each by Wezniak and Buscher. Harrison Humberstone (4-7, 2.85 ERA) is the workhorse of the pitching staff, followed by Dave Rudolph (4-0, 2.52 ERA) and John Molina (2-5, 2.49 ERA).


(2) San Diego Jewish (21-5) vs. (1) Hoover (23-7)

Where: UC San Diego

When: Friday, 3:30 p.m.

Preview: The Jewish Academy, which has won nine games in a row, is playing in its first final. The Lions figure to start Brennan Rubin, who is 8-0 with a 0.23 ERA. He’s also hitting .475 with 33 RBIs. Casey Brown has 18 RBIs and Sebastian Mayer 17. Hoover, which last won a championship in 1983, is hitting .370 as a team and has eight batters hitting over .300, led by Lewis Butler (.592, 23 RBIs) and Miguel Carillo (.491, 38 RBIs). Victor Echevarria (6-1, 2.37 ERA), Carillo (8-1, 1.01 ERA) and Oscar Avila (3-1, 1.11 ERA) are all available to pitch.

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