Southern Section Baseball Playoffs : 3-A Roundup : Kortman, Sheff Lead 2-0 Victory : Laguna Hills Tops Saddleback on 1-Hitter, Pair of Home Runs


Ron Kortman pitched a one-hitter and Chris Sheff hit two home runs to lead Laguna Hills High School to a 2-0 victory over Saddleback in a first-round Southern Section 3-A playoff game Friday at Laguna Hills.

Sheff, who singled in the first inning, gave Laguna Hills (23-4) a 1-0 lead in the third when he lined a fastball off Mike Arroyos (6-5) over the center-field fence. He hit his second homer in the fifth when he slammed another Arroyos pitch over the left-field fence.

Kortman (11-1), who gave up his only hit in the third on Ronnie Ramirez’s bunt single, had his scariest moment in the seventh. With two outs and Jeff Blanco on first after a walk, Saddleback’s Harvey Perez smashed a line drive that caromed off Kortman’s right foot to shortstop Darren Rogers, who threw too late to second trying to get pinch-runner Robert Reyes.


Dave Camacho then hit a ground ball that was booted by third baseman Joe Bennett to load the bases. Kortman, however, retired George Canham on an infield grounder to end the game.

“I thought Ron pitched an exceptional game,” said Laguna Hills Coach Jack Hodges, whose team will play Elsinore on Tuesday. “They were hitting a lot of first pitches. Ron never has been an overpowering pitcher, but he moves the ball in and out well and throws the curve for strikes.”

Said Saddleback Coach Bob Mangram: “Take Sheff out and Arroyos did a helluva job for us. He threw the ball well for us all day long, but he got the fastball in the wrong place on Sheff’s first homer and he got his splitter up on Sheff’s second homer. We got a good pitching performance and a good defensive performance, but we couldn’t get any offense going.”

Saddleback finished the season 13-13.

Arroyos, who allowed six hits and struck out six, survived two more scoring threats after Sheff’s homers. Bennett, who walked with one out in the fourth, beat the throw to second after Arroyos fielded Bill Schellenberg’s sacrifice bunt attempt.

Bennett, who advanced to third on Mark Wells’ infield out, was stranded there, however, when Arroyos retired Kortman on a line drive to center.

With one out in the sixth, Schellenberg doubled to left to begin another Laguna Hills scoring threat. Wells singled to move Schellenberg to third, but Schellenberg was thrown out trying to score on a strong throw by right fielder Ramirez to Harvey Perez, who applied the tag as he was blocking the plate.


Arroyos then ended the inning by inducing Kortman to hit into a force play.

In other 3-A games:

Estancia 5, Pacifica 4--Bill Gomez hit two solo home runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the sixth, for Estancia (20-6). Greg Brannis pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings in relief for the victory.

Glenn 7, Trabuco Hills 0--Glenn (15-10) broke a scoreless tie with a four-run fourth inning at Trabuco Hills. The Eagles scored three runs in the seventh. Trabuco Hills (14-8) had nine hits.

Kennedy 6, Bonita 2--Greg Hansell (11-1) pitched a four-hitter, striking out six, for the Fighting Irish (22-5) at Kennedy. Hansell also had a two-run single with two outs in the first to give Kennedy a 2-0 lead. Scott Ethington and Scott Wood each drove in a run for Kennedy. Diego Galvez had two hits and an RBI for Bonita (16-9).

Ontario 8, La Quinta 7--Ontario (15-9) scored in the bottom of the seventh for the victory. La Quinta (21-6-2) trailed, 7-3, after four innings but scored three in the fifth and one in the seventh to tie the score.