The opening games of the Southern Section Division 1 baseball playoffs Thursday lived up to expectations. There were two extra-inning games; two walk-off victories and some great pitching, including a no-hitter.
Michael Hobbs, Mr. No-Hitter when it comes to the opening round, threw a no-hitter for Corona to defeat Orange Lutheran 7-0. Last season, he also threw a no-hitter in the opening round against Huntington Beach Marina.
“He’s a first-round no-no guy,” coach Andy Wise said of Hobbs, who has signed with St. Mary’s. “I wish he’d do it all year. I think he gets really focused and turns it down. He really wanted this.”
Another top pitching performance was turned in by Hans Crouse of Dana Hills. He struck out eight and threw 99 pitches in six-plus innings as the Dolphins defeated Studio City Harvard-Westlake 3-1. Jack Sterner got the save in the seventh. Dana Hills scored a run in the fifth and two in the sixth to overcome a 1-0 deficit.
The wildest game was Foothill’s 9-8 victory over JSerra. After JSerra fell behind 9-2, the Lions had the bases loaded and one out in the the bottom of the seventh, down 9-8. But Sean Higgins got a popout and groundout to end the game. Ryan Padayao and Camden Cougnet hit home runs.
Dawson Gilbert delivered the game-winning RBI single in the top of the ninth inning in Servite's 4-3 win over Cypress. Tanner Smith hit a two-run home run.
Vista Murrieta scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Hart 6-5. Brandon Luna had the game-winning two-run single. Jake Moberg went three for four.
Brandon Dieter threw a two-hit shutout in South Hills' 4-0 win over Damien. Freshman Lucas Gordon gave up three hits and struck out eight in Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's 3-1 win over San Clemente. Grant Berman went three for three.
Bishop Amat scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to tie and added the winning run in the eighth on an RBI double by Richard Castro to defeat Chaminade 2-1.
Kyle Luckham struck out seven in lifting El Dorado past West Ranch 3-1. Dos Pueblos got a home run from Dylan Kelley in a 5-2 win over Valencia.
No. 2-seeded El Toro hung on for a 5-4 win over Tesoro. Josh Zamora had three hits.
No. 1 Huntington Beach rolled to an 11-1 win over Redondo Beach. Nick Lopez hit a three-run home run and Hagen Danner contributed three RBIs.
Jonathan Schiffer threw a complete game and Mater Dei took advantage of errors to defeat Long Beach Millikan 6-4.
North defeated Mission Viejo 2-1. Gahr defeated Los Alamitos 5-1.
Tuesday's second-round matchups: #1 Huntington Beach at Servite; El Dorado at Dana Hills; Vista Murrieta at Corona; #4 South Hills at Riverside North; #3 Sherman Oaks Notre Dame at Redlands East Valley; Dos Pueblos at Mater DeiGahr at Foothill; #2 El Toro at Bishop Amat.