Local high school baseball fans expected to see a big battle in the Redondo Tournament championship game between South Bay power Torrance and nationally-ranked Bishop Amat High from La Puente last Saturday.
A large overflow crowd filled the Redondo stands, that seats around 500, and saw a roller coaster contest that saw the Tartars surge out to a 9-5 lead in the top of the fifth inning, only to see the Lancers rally for two runs in the bottom of the fifth, and one each in the sixth and seventh to tie the game at nine and sending it into extra innings.
That woke up Torrance, which scored four times in the top of the eighth and relief pitcher Jake Renze held Bishop Amat scoreless in the bottom of the inning to preserve the Tartars’ 13-9 title win.
It was Torrance’s second Redondo Tournament crown in the past three seasons, as the Lancers won the title last season.
Also for the Tartars, it was their second straight win over Bishop Amat. In the quarterfinals of last season’s CIF-Southern Section Division IV playoffs, Torrance stunned the top-seeded Lancers, 4-2, and advanced to the championship game where it lost to Palm Desert, 9-0, on June 5 in Lake Elsinore.
Going into last week, the Lancers were rated as high as third in the nation but they fell to 18th, according to Maxpreps, due to back-to-back losses to Bonita and Torrance.
After Bishop Amat (21-4 overall and 6-0 in the Del Rey League) scored the tying run on a hit by pitch to Bernardo Zavala with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, the Tartars were able to get the last out of the inning when Jay Anderson grounded out to second.
In the top of the eighth, an inspired Torrance team got its offense to work. The Tartars took the lead on a run-scoring double by Trent Gilbert. That was followed by back-to-back RBI (run batted in) singles from Michael Encinas and Rafael Ramirez that gave the Tartars a 12-9 lead. Torrance upped its lead to four runs when Eric Petruccelli hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Encinas.
Renze, then, got the Lancers out in order in the bottom of the inning.
“This was a good win,” Torrance head coach Ollie Turner said. “We hit the ball really well. We played hard and we wanted to win for each other.”
Tyrone Tayler and Gilbert each had a great game. Taylor went 5-for-5, including a three-run over Redondo’s 30-foot-high net and onto Propect Avenue that got the Tartars started in the top of the first. He scored three runs. Gilbert was 2-for-4, including a homer, a double, four RBI’s and two runs. Encinas was 3-for-5, drove in a run and scored twice. Second baseman Max Ishikawa was 2-for-5 with two runs, but made an outstanding defensive play that to throw out Anderson at first as he stretched out to field the ball that appeared to be well away from him that prevented the Lancers from pulling out the contest. David Ike was 2-for-3 with one run scored.
Renze was the winning pitcher. Torrance started Ramirez, who went four innings, allowing three earned runs and seven hits. He struck out four batters and walked none. Anthony Koners came in relief of Ramirez, allowng three earned runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings.
With the win, the Tartars increased their overall record to 20-5 and are currently ranked third in Division IV behind No. 1 Palm Desert and second rated Bishop Amat.
Torrance will host lowly Lawndale (0-6 in the Pioneer League) in a league game Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. and visit the Cardinals on Friday at the same time. The Tartars have two games with a surprising North Torrance team, which did not do that well in non-league play but are 5-1 after a surprising 3-2 win over a very good South Torrance team last Friday at North. The Saxons are currently in second place.
The Tartars already swept other key contenders, South Torrance and El Segundo, in Pioneer play.
West sweeps Redondo by 4-3 scores: Under first year head coach Jeff Baumbach, Redondo Union High’s baseball team was hoping to turn things around after going through a two-year coaching scandal with three changes in consecutive years, after 20-year head mentor Tim Ammentorp stepped down after the 2008 season.
Baumbach seems to be getting the Sea Hawks together but it appears that they are going through transition and have some work to do, especially on defense.
Redondo committed three errors, apiece, in the two games that enabled the Warriors to score a total of five unearned runs in the two games for 4-3 wins to sweep the Sea Hawks on April 27 and 29 at Redondo and West, in order.
“Our confidence is down,” Baumbach, who was an assistant at Southern California power Long Beach Wilson over the past several seasons, said. “We’re capable of making the plays. The errors are contageous andit’s not an answer for us. Things are not going our way. We have to keep grinding it out. (Drew) Kozain pitched wellenough tou win. Our offense was enemic and defensively, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.”
West is 5-1 in Bay action and tied with Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula for the league lead. The Warriors are 13-10-1 overall.
In last Friday’s contest, Juan Correa sparked the mostly senior studded Warriors by going 2-for-3 with two RBI’s. He had an RBI double and run-scoring single. Joey Notch was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and Collin Nelson went 2-for-3 and drove in a run.
The Sea Hawks were led by promising junior Dylan Hatch who went 2-for-3. Also going 2-for-3 for Redondo (3-3 in league and 13-13 overall after rolling over Palisades, 16-6, for third place in the Redondo Tournament last Saturday) was losing pitcher Drew Kozain.
For West, pitchers Nelson and Ryan Grudnis combined for a seven-hitter. Kozain pitched six innings allowing 10 hits and two earned runs for Redondo.
“Redondo was competitive,” West head coach Juan Cuevas said. “I am really proud of our seniors. This was a tough Bay League win.”
The Warriors have a key series against Palos Verdes, which swept lowly Leuzinger last week. West hosts the Sea Kings on Wednesday and visit P.V. Friday in 3:15 p.m. Bay games.
In a must-win situation for hopes of only its second playoff spot in nine seasons (Redondo made the Division II playoffs in 2008 losing in the first round to top ranked Redlands East Valley, 4-0.), the Sea Hawks visit Mira Costa Wednesday at 3:15 p.m., then host the rival Mustangs Friday at 7 p.m.
In another Bay series last week, Peninsula swept Mira Costa, winning 3-1 on April 27 at Peninsula and 6-0 last Friday at Mira Costa.