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Eric Sondheimer has been covering high school sports for the Los Angeles Times since 1997 and in Southern California since 1976. Get his latest from the field and follow all our prep sports coverage and analysis here.


A chance to play at Dodger Stadium is at stake in Southern Section Division 1, 2 semifinals

Jake Jackson has been a major contributor for El Toro this season. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
Jake Jackson has been a major contributor for El Toro this season. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

If you want to know what "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" looks like, head out to one of the four Southern Section Division 1 and 2 semifinal games set for 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday. There's an added incentive this season to reach the championship games, which will be held on Friday at Dodger Stadium.

That raises the stakes for everyone involved, because to play at Dodger Stadium is an experience that no one wants to miss.  It's nail-biting time.

Division 1

El Toro at Santa Ana Mater Dei: El Toro is the last seeded team to survive the Division 1 playoffs. The Chargers, at No. 2, will likely send out the consistent Erik Tolman on the mound. He and Jake Jackson (11-1) have been stellar over the final month of the season.

Mater Dei's hitting attack can be very good at times. Emilio Rosas (.412) and Blake Hunt (.398) are the top hitters. The key for the Monarchs will be getting solid pitching from Michael Thomas.

Corona at El Dorado: Corona has been all about pitching this season behind Michael Hobbs, Jeremiah Priddy and Brendan Beck. Beck is the player who comes in as the closer, and if Corona gets a lead, beware. El Dorado knocked off No. 1 Huntington Beach and has its own impressive duo of Austin Spinney and Kyle Luckham. Every run will be precious in this game.

Division 2

St. John Bosco at Etiwanda. This could be the most interesting game and will test the belief that good pitching beats good hitting. St. John Bosco, the No. 1 seed, has relied on its pitching excellence all season. Etiwanda has put up some incredible hitting numbers, led by the trio of Chris Jimenez, Steven Rivera and Tyler Freeman. Something has to give.

Palm Desert at Capistrano Valley. When will standout pitcher Jeremiah Estrada, a UCLA signee, make an appearance for Palm Desert? Capistrano Valley, at 19-15, is a young team that got hot in the playoffs. The Cougars are playing loose and mistake-free under veteran coach Robert Zamora.

With so much at stake, expect four close, competitive games on Tuesday. The Division 2 winners will play on Friday at 4 p.m. at Dodger Stadium, with the Division 1 winners at 7:30 p.m.

Here's the link to the complete schedule of semifinal games on Tuesday.


Maranatha summer tournament is loaded with top teams

The Maranatha summer basketball tournament has finalized its teams. Action begins on June 19, and concludes with the championship game on June 24.

Corona Centennial is seeded No. 1 in its bracket that includes an opening game on June 20 matching St. Francis and Rolling HIlls Prep at 7:20 p.m.

Harvard-Westlake, Damien, La Canada, Fairfax and Dominguez are in another bracket.

Then there's the bracket with Long Beach Poly, Viewpoint and Alemany.

And another bracket has St. John Bosco, Loyola, Los Altos, Brentwood and Pasadena. The Los Altos-Brentwood opener on June 19 at 3:20 p.m. might be the best opener of the tournament.


Get Eric Sondheimer's latest updates from the field


Jordan Wild is new basketball coach at Oaks Christian

Oaks Christian has hired Jordan Wild to be its basketball coach.

The Lions' coaching position has been a bit unstable, but the school hopes that Wild, who coached and played in Australia, can provide a fresh new enthusiasm.

He's known for his skills development and played at Fresno Pacific University. He coached for three seasons in Australia.

He was working in Santa Barbara and has been involved in the sports ministry Athletes in Action. He's 6 feet 8, so you won't be able to miss him walking around campus.


Loyola avenges defeat to Corona del Mar to win Division I regional in boys' volleyball

There's no doubt Loyola and coach Michael Boehle were disappointed last week in being swept by Corona del Mar in the Southern Section Division 1 boys' volleyball championship match.

That made the Cubs' performance Saturday in the Southern California Division I Regional Championship very satisfying, because Loyola got its revenge with a 25-23, 25-20, 25-19 sweep of Corona del Mar at Edison High.

J.P. Reilly recorded 14 kills. Brady Wedbush had 11 kills, and Ian Parish added seven kills.

It was Loyola's fourth regional championship under Boehle.

"Glad we were able to redeem our two losses of the year," he said. "Our guys deserved this."

Boys' volleyball: Southern California Regional Championship results



Championships, Saturday

•Div. I: Loyola d. Corona del Mar, 25-23, 25-20, 25-19

•Div. II: Clovis d. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 25-17, 25-19, 22-25, 26-24

•Div. III: Carlsbad Sage Creek d. La Palma Kennedy, 25-16, 26-24, 25-23

Baseball: City semifinal results and championship schedule



Division I

Championship, Jun. 3, 1 p.m. at Dodger Stadium

•#1 Chatsworth vs. #7 Birmingham



Division II

Semifinals, Saturday

•Los Angeles CES 12, Roybal 0

•Arleta 2, Locke 1


Championship, Jun. 3, 10 a.m. at Dodger Stadium

•#4 Los Angeles CES vs. #14 Arleta

Boys' tennis: Southern California Regional Championship result



Championship, Saturday

•San Diego Torrey Pines 5, Harvard-Westlake 2







LACES advances to City Section Division II championship game

Hans Seo of LACES had three hits on Saturday. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
Hans Seo of LACES had three hits on Saturday. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

His name is Hans Seo, but he hit like Han Solo on Saturday in the City Section Division II semifinal game at USC.

Seo, a junior shortstop for LACES who came in with 39 hits and a .464 batting average, contributed three hits to support the pitching of Finn Starzyk and lift LACES past No. 1-seeded Roybal, 12-0.

LACES (16-10), the No. 4 seed, will play Arleta for the Division II  championship at 10 a.m. at Dodger Stadium next Saturday.

A four-run second inning propelled LACES to victory. LACES relied on stellar defense from its infielders, led by Seo. Roybal committed five errors, including three by its pitchers on errant throws. There also were multiple wild pitches.

Starzyk threw shutout ball for 6 1/3 innings.


Griffin Canning fulfills his potential at UCLA

It was three years ago that Griffin Canning graduated from Santa Margarita as the best baseball player in Southern California after pitching the Eagles to the Southern Section Division 1 championship.

Off he went to UCLA, hoping to build a resume that would one day make him a first-round draft pick.

It has all worked out and more.

In his junior year, Canning is 7-3 with a 2.34 ERA. He has 134 strikeouts in 111 1/3 innings. He's going to be a first-round draft pick next month.

All signs point to him being the next top UCLA pitcher to one day make it to the major leagues.

Arleta earns trip to Dodger Stadium to play in City Section Division II final

 (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Arleta coach Victor Zamora took a moment to visit the mound to talk to pitcher Manny Cardenas in the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday with the team one out away from advancing to Dodger Stadium to play for the City Section Division II championship.

The Mustangs held a 2-1 lead over Locke with two outs and a runner on first.

"He told me to believe in myself," Cardenas said.

Cardenas did just that. In a dramatic end at USC, Adrian Pacheco of Locke beat out an infield ground ball for a single, but at the end of the play, Cardenas, covering first, threw the ball to shortstop Geovanni Garcia to tag out the Locke pinch runner for the game's final out. Arleta players ran onto the field to celebrate.

Cardenas struck out three, walked four and gave up four hits in a complete-game performance.

All the runs were scored in the first inning. Arleta got an RBI single from Eric Munoz and an RBI double from Bailey Magana. Locke scored its run on a wild pitch.

Locke's Anthony Ramirez didn't give up any hits after the first inning. He finished with a two-hitter. Arleta's strong defense and ability to field bunts enabled the team to upset the Saints, who came in as the No. 2 seed. Arleta was the No. 14 seed.

Arleta will play LACES in next Saturday's 10 a.m. final.

For Cardenas, it will be a reward for four years of patience. He's had four different head coaches in four years at Arleta.

"It's a weird feeling," he said. "You have to learn a new system once he leaves."

But Cardenas learned to "trust" his coaches and "trust" himself, and the Mustangs now get to play at Dodger Stadium.

"It's going to be overwhelming," he said.

Tiny Anaheim Discovery Christian School is playing for state golf champonship

Anaheim Discovery Christian School golf team has qualified for Wednesday's CIF state championships. (Victor Chayasirisobhon)
Anaheim Discovery Christian School golf team has qualified for Wednesday's CIF state championships. (Victor Chayasirisobhon)

The 2016-17 high school sports season is about to conclude, and this past week produced one remarkable outcome.

Anaheim Discovery Christian School, open since 1997 but in its first year of having a Southern Section golf team, has qualified for the state championships at Poppy Hills Golf Course by having five golfers shoot in the 70s at the CIF/SCGA SoCal Championships to finish in third place.

Even more stunning, the team Anaheim Discovery beat out was Anaheim Servite, the school that went unbeaten during the regular season and was seemingly everyone’s pick to win a state title.

“It’s crazy. We can’t believe it,” said Victor Chayasirisobhon, the school’s chief administrator.

Let’s just say there’s a Thai influence to this team.

Chayasirisobhon’s parents are from Thailand and 25% of the faculty are from Thailand. There’s also several golfers on the team from Thailand.

But Chayasirisobhon, also a pastor, said the players certainly didn’t come to the school for golf. The school's student body is 287 students.

“We don’t love them because they play golf,” he said. “We love them because Jesus loves them.”

Many of the golfers are experienced in junior tournaments. Sam Choi shot a 1-under 71 at Brookside Golf Club to lead the team. There's also a talented girl on the team, Kornkamol "Stang" Sukaree. She shot 76 from the boys' tees. There's also Puwit Anupansuebsai (72), Surapat Chokprajakchat (77) and Wooyoung "Roy" Choi (79).

“We’re proud of all of our athletes,” Chayasirisobhon said. “It’s cool seeing them put on the school jersey.”

They'll be going for a state title on Wednesday.

Baseball: City championship result



Division III

Championship, Friday

•Valley Arts/Sciences 4, Sherman Oaks CES 3

Baseball: Southern Section quarterfinal results and semifinal pairings




Quarterfinals, Friday

•El Dorado 4, Huntington Beach 1

•Corona 6, Riverside North 2

•Mater Dei 8, Redlands East Valley 4

•El Toro 2, Foothill 1


Semifinals, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

•Corona at El Dorado

•#2 El Toro at Mater Dei




Quarterfinals, Friday

•St. John Bosco 3, Glendora 2

•Etiwanda 16, Laguna Beach 7

•Capistrano Valley 1, Mira Costa 0

•Palm Desert 3, Edison 2


Semifinals, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

•#1 St. John Bosco at Etiwanda

•Palm Desert at Capistrano Valley




Quarterfinals, Friday

•Paso Robles 4, Quartz Hill 1

•Walnut 3, El Segundo 1

•Paraclete 4, Don Lugo 3

•Righetti 7, Peninsula 4


Semifinals, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

•Paso Robles at #4 Walnut

•#2 Righetti at Paraclete




Quarterfinals, Friday

•Tahquitz 3, Hacienda Heights Wilson 2

•Nogales 3, Capistrano Valley Christian 1

•Grace Brethren 8, Fullerton 4

•Victor Valley 5, Maranatha 1


Semifinals, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

•#1 Tahquitz at Nogales

•#3 Grace Brethren at Victor Valley




Quarterfinals, Friday

•Oak Hills 7, Oxnard Pacifica 0

•Chaffey 9, Grand Terrace 0

•Katella 5, Heritage 3

•Campbell Hall 2, La Canada 1


Semifinals, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

•#4 Chaffey at #1 Oak Hills

•Campbell Hall at #3 Katella




Quarterfinals, Friday

•Southlands Christian 6, Rancho Christian 4

•Santa Maria 16, Big Bear 3

•Malibu 11, Barstow 1

•Moreno Valley 8, St. Bernard 5


Semifinals, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

•Santa Maria at Southlands Christian

•Malibu at Moreno Valley




Quarterfinals, Friday

•Faith Baptist 7, Apple Valley Christian 3

•Bishop Diego 2, Carnegie 0

•Arrowhead Christian 11, Gladstone 5

•Boron 10, Coast Union 0


Semifinals, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

•Bishop Diego at #1 Faith Baptist

•#3 Arrowhead Christian at #2 Boron


Notes: Championships, June 2 at Dodger Stadium (Division 1-2) and June 3 at TBA (Division 3-7).


Softball: Friday's Southern Section playoff result




Quarterfinal, Friday

•Fullerton 4, Cerritos 2


Semifinals, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

•#4 Murrieta Mesa at Fullerton

•Ayala at Hart

Boys' tennis: Southern California Regional quarterfinal and semifinal results



Quarterfinals, Friday

•Palisades 5, San Marino 2

•San Diego Torrey Pines 6, Irvine University 1

•Peninsula 7, San Diego Canyon Crest Academy 0

•Harvard-Westlake 7, Fresno Clovis North 0


Semifinals, Friday

•San Diego Torrey Pines 5, Palisades 2

•Harvard-Westlake 4, Peninsula 3


Championship, Saturday, 1:30 p.m. at Claremont Club

•#2 Harvard-Westlake vs. #4 San Diego Torrey Pines


El Dorado topples No. 1 Huntington Beach, 4-1

Unranked, underappreciated and under the radar, Placentia El Dorado High’s baseball team sure found a way to earn instant respect on Friday, knocking off No. 1-seeded Huntington Beach, 4-1, in a Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinal playoff game.

Huntington Beach (27-5), considered the No. 1 team in the nation by several publications, could never solve junior pitcher Kyle Luckham, who entered with a 6-0 record and 1.39 ERA. For weeks, word had been spreading about Luckham’s talent and on a big stage, Luckham delivered.

“He did a great job,” Coach Matt Lucas said. “He controlled a pretty potent offense most of the game.”

Lucas said he was not surprised with his team’s victory.

“I know a lot of people are,” he said. “One of the things that helped us was seeing Hans Crouse on Tuesday. It prepared our guys. They weren't nervous or intimidated.”

Luckham limited one of the state’s top hitting teams to six hits while striking out seven. It brought to a stunning end the prolific four-year careers of Hagen Danner and Nick Pratto, both of whom could be first-round draft picks next month.

Danner struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings and took the loss. Pratto hit a home run for his team’s only run. Jesse Lopez homered for El Dorado and finished with three hits. El Dorado (21-8-1) will host Corona in Tuesday’s semifinals. Corona defeated Riverside North, 6-2, behind terrific relief pitching from Brendon Beck.

The other semifinal will have Santa Ana Mater Dei hosting No. 2-seeded Lake Forest El Toro. Michael Peabody went four for five, Blake Hunt hit a two-run home run and had five RBI and Jonathan Schiffer threw a complete game in Mater Dei’s 8-4 win over Redlands East Valley.

Jake Jackson (11-1) pitched El Toro past Santa Ana Foothill, 2-1.

In Division 2, top-seeded Bellflower St. John Bosco got a walk-off RBI single from Tyler Littlefield in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Glendora, 3-2. Glendora had tied the top in the top of the seventh with two runs.

The Braves will be at Etiwanda, which defeated Laguna Beach, 16-7. Chris Jimenez hit two home runs and finished with seven RBI. Steven Rivas hit two home runs and finished with five RBI for Etiwanda.

The other Division 2 semifinal will match Palm Desert at Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley. UCLA signee Jeremiah Estrada hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning and pitched Palm Desert to a 3-2 win over Huntington Beach Edison.

Ryan Daugherty threw a four-hit shutout and Dane Nakatsuka hit a home run in Capistrano Valley’s 1-0 win over Manhattan Beach Mira Costa.

in Division 3, Paso Robles eliminated No. 1-seeded Quartz Hill, 4-1.

In Division 4, Gunner Hellstrom hit two home runs and drove in five runs in Grace Brethren's 8-4 win over Fullerton. Jonathan Guardado improved to 14-0 in leading Nogales past Capistrano Valley Christian, 3-1.

In Division 5, Campbell Hall defeated No. 2 La Canada, 2-1. R.J. Collins threw 6 2/3 innings to eliminate the Spartans.


Chino Hills will not be playing in any summer basketball tournaments

You're going to have to wait until the fall or maybe November to see Chino Hills play basketball again as a team.

First-year coach Dennis Latimore said Friday that the Huskies will not be playing in any summer tournaments as a group.

"We're just going to get better daily with workouts," he said.

He said many of his players are already participating in travel ball.

Fans usually look forward to seeing Chino Hills play in the Fairfax summer tournament at the end of June.

Chino Hills returns guards LaMelo Ball and Phaquan Davis, center Onyeka Okongwu and forward Andre Ball.

By not playing in summer ball, Latimore will also avoid what could be another media circus, since LaMelo's brother, Lonzo, could be drafted by the Lakers next month and LaMelo, who scored 92 points in a game last season, will be much in demand.


Andrea Cline of San Pedro is City Section player of the year in softball

Andrea Cline of San Pedro has been selected the City Section player of the year in softball after leading the Pirates to their 17th City championship.

The pitcher of the year was Analise De La Roca of Port of Los Angeles.

Here's the link to the complete All-City teams.

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