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For the McLain brothers of Beckman High, it's a second chance for a baseball title

For the McLain brothers of Beckman High, it's a second chance for a baseball title
Beckman High baseball player Sean McLain is comforted after breaking his ankle sliding into home in the playoffs last season. (Jerry Soifer)

The moment of agony and disappointment is captured in a photo. Sean McLain of Irvine Beckman is lying on the dirt near home plate. There’s a dazed look on his face. He’s being comforted by three adults after breaking his right ankle sliding into home plate during a first-round playoff game last season at Etiwanda.

The game was delayed 40 minutes. Paramedics arrived to transport him to a local hospital. His older brother, Matt, the starting shortstop, gave him a hug as he was carted off. His younger brother, Nick, came out of the stands to give him a fist bump.

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“At first, the adrenaline was pumping so I didn’t feel anything,” Sean said.

In the emergency room, his mother and father were receiving updates on the game. Etiwanda won on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh and went on to win the Southern Section Division 2 baseball championship.

He spent the summer in a cast and the fall in a boot . Now he’s back with his two brothers on the same team with a second chance to win a championship. Beckman will play Yucaipa at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Cal State Fullerton for the Division 2 title.

This could be the last time the three McLain brothers are on the same field together.

“It’s extremely important and very exciting,” Sean said.

Second chances are as much a part of sports lore as hot dogs and championship parades. It makes for compelling drama.

His parents told him, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

“Nothing was going to stop me from getting to the championship,” the junior outfielder said.

This final weekend of high school championships in baseball, softball and track and field has plenty to offer fans.

On Saturday at Dodger Stadium, the City Section Open Division championship game at 1 p.m. features El Camino Real, seeking a record 10th title, against Birmingham, which won the first championship game played at Dodger Stadium in 1969.

At Fullerton, the Southern Section Division 1 final at 7:30 p.m. matches Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley against Santa Ana Foothill.

Capistrano Valley coach Bob Zamora is in his 41st season. He’s won six titles. Foothill coach Vince Brown has been coaching for 35 years in football and baseball. He’s never won a title. Brown used to teach Zamora’s son. They’ve faced off numerous times. Foothill has eliminated the defending Division 1 and 2 champions in the playoffs. Its two pitchers, Sean Higgins and Ryan Taurek, have been unbeatable the last three weeks.

There are three Pasadena-based teams — Maranatha, La Salle and Poly — playing for baseball titles. Each is a private school, which makes you wonder just how much talent there is in Pasadena. Junior pitcher Dawson Netz of Maranatha, who committed to Arizona, is 12-0 with an 0.27 ERA.

On Friday and Saturday at Bill Barber Memorial Park in Irvine, the Southern Section will hold its softball championships. It runs the same time as the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, where most of the teams are loaded with California players. It means there’s lots of talent to be seen at the high school level.

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The Division 1 final at 6:30 p.m. Saturday has Norco taking on Cerritos Gahr. Norco sophomore pitcher Sarah Willis hit two home runs in the semifinals. Gahr junior pitcher Vanessa Foreman defeated Norco in early April.

The 100th CIF state track and field championship meet will be held Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High School in Clovis. State records could fall in the 100 meters and pole vault.

If there are a few tears after victory or defeat this weekend, understand that everyone involved has worked very hard for this moment.

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