Baseball: Chargers come up short against JSerra

Edison High's run in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 baseball playoffs came to a halt Friday, but not by much.

The Chargers took top-seeded JSerra to the final out of their quarterfinal showdown but ended up with a season-ending, 2-0 loss to the Lions.

The game's scoring took place in the top of the fifth, but the Lions' two-run lead was nearly wiped away by one swing with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

With a runner, Nick Mailman, stationed at first, Edison standout shortstop Brian Schales took his first pitch offered by JSerra pitcher Quentin Longrie deep to center field. The senior's shot looked as though it may had cleared the fence, but it was caught at the wall by center fielder Brady Shockey, who had to go way back to make the catch.

Longrie, who went the distance, then ended the game on a strikeout, and the Lions advanced to Tuesday's semifinals at Blair Field in Long Beach.

But for a few yards, Edison (22-10) may have sent the game to extra innings.

"Five feet away," is what Edison Coach Cameron Chinn said of Schales' hit that, had it gone out, would have tied the score. "This game is fickle. I think we out-hit them and had more runners on base, but we have nothing to show for it.

"I'm really, really proud of this group. They competed hard all 21 outs and made JSerra work to win this game today. These guys have so much to be proud of. They left it all on the field."

Edison, the third-place team from the Sunset League, did out-hit the Lions (7-5) and put 10 runners on base. The Chargers loaded the bases in the bottom of the third, put runners at second and third with two out in the fourth, had a runner at second in the fifth, and had the tying runs at first and second in the sixth, but couldn't score. Longrie registered strikeouts to get out of jams in the fourth and sixth innings to stay unharmed.

Trinity League champion JSerra (22-7), which had loaded the bases in the top of the second, broke through in the fifth.

A double to left field by Shockey with one out brought in Christian Molfetta. Shockey would later score when Jake Pries' infield grounder was mishandled at third base and rolled into shallow left field.

Edison starter Kaz Akamatsu gave a strong performance. The sophomore worked the first 6 1/3 innings before Chinn pulled him in favor of closer Nate Madden. Akamatsu spread out five hits, walked three and struck out seven which included striking out the side in the fourth.

Madden retired all five batters he faced, striking out three.

"I thought Kaz was outstanding," Chinn said. "I could see he started to tire going into the sixth. He wanted to stay in, but I thought it was time to take him out."

Mailman and catcher Kevin Ando each had two hits to pace the Edison offense. Schales, Parker Quenneville and Michael Mahony all singled.

Until Friday, Edison had developed a late-season habit of beating No. 1 teams. Two weeks ago, the Chargers took out rival Fountain Valley to knock the Barons from sole possession of first place in the Sunset League. Last week, they went to Long Beach and dropped Moore League champion Millikan from the playoffs by virtue of a 4-1 win. On May 27, they eliminated last year's No. 1 team in Division 1, Harvard-Westlake, 3-1, in a second-round game.

The Chargers had to win a wild-card game against Tesoro, which they did, 4-3, to reach the field of 32.

Chinn said his first season as head coach at Edison was satisfying.

"Just pride," is what he said he felt of the year. "I'm just proud to be a part of this group of players, and this coaching staff which is outstanding. We have a very supportive administration, and all of this has made this a pretty special year."

Foothill, Santa Margarita meet for title

Foothill, which ended Huntington Beach's season, and Santa Margarita, which put a halt to Fountain Valley's year, both the second-round of the playoffs May 27, will play for the CIF-SS Division 1 championship at 8 p.m. Friday at Dodger Stadium. Both teams won their semifinal games at Blair Field in Long Beach Tuesday: Century League champ Foothill upended Trinity League champ and top-seeded JSerra, 4-1, and Santa Margarita, the No. 2 team from the Trinity League, defeated the third-place team from the South Coast League, Trabuco Hills, 3-0.

Neither Foothill or Santa Margarita were ranked in the final CIF Southern Section Division 1 top 10 poll of the regular season .

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