With his fastball hitting its mark, left-hander Patrick Sandoval of Mission Viejo was going to be tough to beat, and when his teammates broke a tie with two runs in the sixth, it was all but over.
Sandoval finished with a two-hitter as Mission Viejo defeated Chino Hills, 3-1, to win the Southern Section Division 2 championship on Saturday at San Manuel Stadium.
"I just did not want to lose," said the USC-bound Sandoval, who struck out seven and received a brilliant double play from his infield to end the game. "I hate losing more than anything. I wanted to come out here and win a CIF championship for the coach."
Mission Viejo Coach Chris Ashbach has called his 2015 team "the best group of kids" he has been around in 18 years.
Matt Ryhlick made major contributions on Saturday, getting an RBI single and picking up an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Sandoval needed to be at his best, because Chino Hills' Bailey Falter struck out five in the first two innings and had a 1-0 lead going into the fourth after a sacrifice fly by Elijah Greene.
The key to this championship run for the Diablos (26-10) might have been their semifinal victory over Crescenta Valley and UCLA-bound Brian Gadsby. It was sophomore Tanner Bibee throwing a complete game that allowed Sandoval to come in fresh.
"He was huge," Ashbach said of Bibee.
It was the second Southern Section title this school year for Sandoval, who was a receiver for the championship football team.
"Winning a CIF championship in football is special, but doing it with these guys . . . nothing beats it," Sandoval said.