SOUTHERN SECTION BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : 3-A Roundup : Ruscitto Sets Mark as Valencia Is Defeated

Valencia High School's Andy Ruscitto hit a third-inning home run Friday to break the Southern Section career record, but the Tigers lost to Edgewood, 5-4, in a 3-A playoff game at Valencia.

Ruscitto, who holds the Orange County season and career marks, has hit 22 home runs in three years with the Tigers. He tied the Southern Section career record, set by Jay Reid of Lynwood between 1978-80, last week against Anaheim in the Tigers' final Orange League game.

The record-breaking home run came on a 1-1 pitch by Edgewood starter Eric Schumaker. Ruscitto drove an inside curve ball approximately 320 feet over the right-field fence.

The Tigers (13-9) scored two more runs in the third inning. The Trojans (18-7) tied the score, 4-4, on David Crosby's two-out homer in the fourth.

The score remained tied until the top of the eighth inning. Archie Hernandez drove in the winning run with a line drive to right field, but was thrown out at first when Ruscitto made an excellent fielding play and throw.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Tigers threatened by putting runners on first and second, but Schumaker got Robert Navarette to hit into a game-ending double play.

Schumaker (13-2) struck out eight, including Ruscitto three times, to earn the victory, while Valencia starter Dennis Burbank (2-3) took the loss.

In other 3-A action:

Sonora 5, Warren 1--David Bird (13-0) had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning at La Habra but had to settle for a two-hitter as the No. 1-seeded Raiders made it 23 straight victories.

Bird struck out seven to increase his season total to 139. Teammate Mitch Kaylor provided Bird with all the runs he needed in the first inning with a two-run double. Warren (9-10) had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

Kaylor went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs, and Raider shortstop Rob Stuart added two hits for Sonora. Sonora is 25-1.

Fullerton 3, Corona 2--Junior catcher John Mele hit a three-run homer in the third inning for the Indians (17-7) and T.J. Richards preserved the victory by working out of a two-on, no-out jam in the seventh.

Richards relieved Jeff Middlebrooks with runners on first and third. After the runner on first was thrown out attempting to steal, Richards struck out the next hitter. With two outs, the runner on third broke for home, but Jason Young bunted back to Richards for the final out.

Canyon 20, Harvard 0-Senior left-hander Mike Townley pitched a no-hitter for five innings before being replaced in the sixth. He also had three hits and scored three runs. Todd French had three hits and Matt Miller was 2 for 2 with four RBIs for the Comanches (16-8). Steve Lichtenwalter had two hits and scored two runs for Canyon, which plays at Damien Tuesday. Harvard ended its season at 12-8.

Gahr 5, Foothill 2--An infield error by the Knights on a potential double play ball set up a five-run inning for the the Gladiators (21-6). Dave Fox, who was 1 for 3, took the loss for Foothill (15-9). Gahr plays Fullerton Tuesday.

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