With the championship game coming up, it’s probably a good idea to spend some time thinking about the opposing pitcher, especially when that pitcher is Rio Mesa High School’s Craig Good. But the Lompoc baseball team, especially Coach Dan Bodary, had other things to worry about Thursday.
Such as its own pitcher.
Bodary, Lompoc’s 18-year coach, said he won’t be able to select his starter until a few hours before today’s 3-A title game at 5 p.m. in Anaheim Stadium. He would like to go with Ron Osborne (8-3) but instead may be forced into a cut-and-paste rotation, using three pitchers to get through the seven-inning game.
Bodary’s counterpart at Rio Mesa, Patrick Machado, will have no such problems. Good, as has been the case all season, is the Spartans’ No. 1 pitcher, entering the game with an 11-1 record, 78 strikeouts and only 31 walks in 73 innings pitched. The UCLA-bound senior was clocked consistently in one game at 87 m.p.h. by pro scouts. He also has a .398 batting average.
The Lompoc coaches have no doubts about Osborne’s ability, so he would normally be the starting pitcher for the Braves (23-5). But Osborne was hit with such a bad case of the flu a couple of weeks ago that he had to be hospitalized because of dehydration. Bodary said Osborne still is not at full strength.
Paul Bommersbach (4-0), who has two wins in the playoffs, and Benny Gonzales are Bodary’s other pitchers. He may use either as a starter, or both in relief of Osborne, if Osborne is able to start.
“He’s a great competitor,” Bodary said of Osborne. “If anyone saw him pitch last year, they saw how tough he gets when the situation gets tough. Ronny is the type of guy who, when there is a tough spot, he wants to be in the middle of it.”
Besides counting on Good’s pitching, Rio Mesa (26-3) has relied on some good hitters and a cozy home park. It’s 310 feet down the lines and 340 to center, and Rio Mesa batters have hit 39 home runs this season. Good has seven, and senior right fielder Javier Alcaraz is batting .435 with five homers and a team-leading 35 runs batted in.
The 4-A title game, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. in Anaheim Stadium, has a similar situation with pitching. Like Rio Mesa’s Good, Bob Sharpnack (10-3) of Fountain Valley (20-9-1) is a hard-throwing right-hander who has attracted the attention of professional and major-college scouts. One of the best strikeout pitchers in Orange County, he will start for Tom DeKraai’s Barons against 22-7 Camarillo.
But Camarillo, which won the Coastal Conference football title and lost to eventual 4-A champion Glendale in the second round of the basketball playoffs, will have its best pitcher, Charlie Fiacco, starting at third base. Fiacco (9-0) has already thrown two complete games in the playoffs and 6 innings in another game, so he will be limited to an inning or two of relief work tonight if needed.
Senior Joe Salomon (4-2, with five saves) will get the start, with junior left-hander Mike Chase becoming the No. 2 pitcher.
A tripleheader to determine the champion in the 2-A (Diamond Bar and Mission Viejo), 1-A (San Dimas and Baldwin Park) and Small Schools (Santa Monica Crossroads and Riverside Woodcrest Christian) will be played Saturday at Blair Field in Long Beach.