On the surface, it may seem surprising that Baldwin Park High, the third-place team in the Montview League, has reached the CIF 1-A Division baseball championship.
It is not that surprising, though.
After all, the Braves have as much tradition as any team in the San Gabriel Valley. Baldwin Park won the 1-A title in 1982 under former Coach Ron Humpert and the success has not fallen off since Ron Mead took over as coach in 1983.
Under Mead, Baldwin Park lost to Montview League rival Azusa in the title game in 1983 and reached the quarterfinals before losing to La Canada in 1984.
So it is not a shock that Baldwin Park will face Montview League rival San Dimas in the 1-A title game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Blair Field in Long Beach. San Dimas, the league champion and No. 4 seed in 1-A at the start of the playoffs, is 21-5 overall and unseeded Baldwin Park is 19-10.
Besides tradition, Baldwin Park will have revenge on its side against San Dimas. The Braves lost both league games to San Dimas by close scores, falling 3-2 and 9-7 in April.
Mead was not optimistic about Baldwin Park's chances after it got off to a 5-5 start, but the Braves have looked strong since the start of the playoffs.
Baldwin Park's pitching is led by junior left-hander Paul Potvin, who had a 9-2 record during the regular season and pitched a five-hitter in his team's 6-3 victory over Orange Lutheran in the semifinals Tuesday.
Baldwin Park, which also defeated Webb, Mary Star and San Marino to reach the finals, has been led on offense by center fielder Mike Woods, who batted .447 in league play, second baseman Armando Murillo and first baseman Randy Knorr.
San Dimas, which crushed San Jacinto (14-0), Fillmore (16-1) and Elsinore (23-6) in its first three playoff games and came from behind to defeat top-seeded Whittier Christian (5-3) in the semifinals, is led by the pitching and hitting of Dennis Watson.
The senior, who also starred at quarterback for the football team, allowed only four hits in the Saints' victory over Whittier Christian. San Dimas rallied for three runs in the seventh and final inning for the victory.
The only other valley baseball team to reach the finals is Hacienda League champion Diamond Bar, which outscored Norte Vista, 9-8, in its semifinal game Tuesday. Diamond Bar (26-2) faces Mission Viejo (20-7), a 6-5 semifinal winner over Mountain View, for the 2-A title at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Blair Field.