Los Angeles Times

Baseball: Chargers advance to quarterfinals

There will be a new baseball champion in CIF Southern Section Division 1. Edison High saw to that Tuesday.

Playing their third playoff game in seven days, the Chargers took down visiting Studio City Harvard-Westlake, the reigning Division 1 champion, 3-1, to advance to the division quarterfinals Friday. A team that had start its postseason journey in the wild-card round, is now in the Elite Eight.

Unseeded Edison moves on to play host to the division's top seed, JSerra, which on Tuesday rallied in extra innings to pull out a 6-5 victory over visiting Valencia/Valencia.

Two other local teams, Sunset League co-champions Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach, had their respective seasons come to an end in second-round losses Tuesday.

Fountain Valley was eliminated for the second straight year by Santa Margarita, which edged the third-seeded and visiting Barons, 8-7. Fifth-ranked Huntington was shut down at home, 1-0, by Foothill.

Edison (21-9) overcame a 1-0 first-inning deficit against Harvard-Westlake. The Chargers, the third-place team from the Sunset League, scored two runs in the bottom of the third and one in the sixth to gain some breathing room on the seventh-ranked Wolverines.

Harvard-Westlake, which last year defeated Marina in the Division 1 title game at Dodger Stadium, loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh. Edison junior relief pitcher Michael Mahony struck out the first batter he faced, then ended the scoring threat, and game, by getting Jack Flaherty, last year's CIF Southern Section Division 1 Player of the Year, Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year, and MaxPreps National Player of the Year, to ground out to the mound for the save.

Edison starter Noah Kronfly (9-1) put the Chargers in position to win. The junior gave up seven hits but limited the Mission League runner-up Wolverines to a single run before giving way to Mahony.

"They are really an aggressive team and to limit them to one run, is a credit to Noah Kronfly," Edison Coach Cameron Chinn said. "Noah Kronfly is just the ultimate competitor. He stayed composed and stayed within himself."

"We thought Michael Mahony and his breaking ball would be a good fit to close the game."

Edison went into the lead for good in the bottom of the third. Junior Nick Mailman delivered a one-out, RBI single to right field to tie the score. Senior Brian Schales followed with a line-out to left field but senior Philip Knapp, who had singled earlier, tagged and scored from third.

In the Edison half of the sixth, Adam Moses dropped a lead-off double into left field and later scored on an infield throwing error by the Wolverines.

"There are no secrets," Chinn said of his team's run to the quarterfinals. "We've been playing the way we've been playing since the fall. We scrap away on offense and different players have stepped up."

Edison's postseason success started May 21 with a 4-3 wild-card win over Tesoro and continued with a 4-1 win Friday at Moore League champion Long Beach Millikan, before Tuesday's triumph.

Chinn said that there's a "good chance" that sophomore right-hander Kaz Akamatsu will start Friday against JSerra.

Chinn said that Akamatsu and the Chargers gave an "outstanding, complete performance," in Friday's win at Millikan.

The winner of the JSerra-Edison quarterfinal advances to play in one of two Division 1 semifinal games scheduled for 4 and 7 p.m. Tuesday at Blair Field in Long Beach. The winner will face the winner of another Friday quarterfinal round game between Foothill (Century League No. 1) and Agoura (Marmonte League No. 1).

The Division 1 final is at 8 p.m. June 6 at Dodger Stadium.

Huntington's season started and ended against Foothill. The Oilers defeated the Knights, 7-2, at the Newport Elks Tournament, and were shut out (1-0) for only the second time this year Tuesday.

Foothill advanced to face fourth-ranked Agoura in Friday's quarterfinals.

The Oilers, wearing all-orange uniforms for the second time in postseason play, had two hits from senior Jake Brodt and one each from senior Jesse Kuet, juniors Cooper Moore and Tyler Murray, and sophomore Logan Pouelsen.

"[Sebastian] Lopez, their pitcher, did a great job changing speeds and keeping us a little off-balance," Huntington Coach Benji Medure said. "We had many opportunities to score and we could get that clutch hit that we have had all year. We missed two home runs by three feet. It just wasn't meant to be for us."

Huntington, which spent several weeks ranked No. 1 in Division 1, finished its season with a 22-5 record.

"This game doesn't take away from what we accomplished this year," Medure said. "I feel like being co-champs in one of the toughest leagues around is an awesome accomplishment. We are sending 12 of our 16 seniors on to play college baseball, and the other four are going to four-year schools. This group of kids has a lot to be proud of."

Huntington first donned its new uniforms for its opener against Corona Santiago (Big VIII League No. 2) Friday and their new look worked as the Oilers overcame an early, 1-0 deficit, to overpower the Sharks, 10-1. The Oilers went 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth. Clint Jack hit a two-run single, Moore and Dillon Millar each had an RBI single, Marcus Mayorga an RBI walk, and Daniel Amaral an RBI sacrifice fly.

The Oilers' final run came when Jarrett Anton sent a 1-2 pitch off the fence in left field, scoring Kuet from second base.

Right-hander Noah Davis worked the first six innings for Huntington. The junior overcame a shaky start by holding the Sharks to just three hits in running his record to 11-1. Senior Clay Morris threw the seventh.

Fountain Valley had the lead on host Santa Margarita heading into the bottom of the sixth where the Eagles' JJ Carr, hitless in three previous at-bats, hit a three-run double to tie the score. It was part of a five-run inning for the Eagles (17-10-1) who went on to pull out an 8-7 victory and defeat Fountain Valley in the second round of the playoffs for the second straight year.

The Eagles, the second-place team out of the Trinity League, play host to sixth-ranked Norco (Big VIII champion) in a Friday quarterfinal.

Senior Daniel Patzlaff went three for four, senior Junior Aguilar had two hits including a triple, junior Willie Aguilar doubled among two hits, and senior Dillon Persinger doubled to highlight Fountain Valley's 13-hit attack. Senior ace Scott Schultz (14-1) threw the first five innings and suffered his first loss of the season.

"We played well enough to win," Fountain Valley Coach Deric Yanagisawa said.

The Barons, who closed out the year 21-9, started the playoffs Friday with a 9-1 home win over Lakewood (Moore League No. 4) to avenge a regular-season loss to the Lancers. Persinger (solo), senior Brock Lundquist (two-run) and Willie Aguilar (two-run) hit home runs, and junior Hunter Margain went three for four. Schultz registered his 14th win.

"I am extremely proud of what our players have accomplished over the last two years," Yanagisawa said. "This senior group is extra special because it was loaded with guys who were dedicated to turning this program around and had a huge part of returning this program to the top. I have spent the last three years with a lot of these guys and to watch them grow up to be young men, has been an honor."

•In the Division 3 playoffs, Ocean View played a wild-card game May 21 against Garden Grove Santiago (Garden Grove League No. 3), and dropped a 5-4 decision to the visiting Cavaliers. Sophomore Braydon Salzman went three for four and drove in three runs, Jett Volo went two for three, Ben Meyers had an RBI single, and Dustin Fisher and Grant Rockefeller both doubled for the Seahawks.

Ocean View, which tied for second place in the Golden West League, ended the year 17-10.

"I'm very excited about the future of Ocean View baseball," Ocean View Coach Shane Borowski said. "Our last game does not indicate the kind of season we had, and I'm proud of our efforts on the year. We more than doubled our win total from last year and got back into the playoffs which was great.

"I'm hoping we mature over the summer and winter games, expecting to win and expecting to beat the teams we should beat. Our team will get physically stronger and that will help.

"Essentially, we are getting most of the starters back, and the expectations will be different. Our team will have to learn how to deal with higher expectations, and compete at a higher level no matter who we are playing."

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