It's been more than a decade since a South Bay team has won the El Segundo baseball tournament, but this spring Coach John Stevenson has the host club in the championship game.
Using clutch hitting and a flawless defensive performance in support of Brett Newell's complete game, El Segundo whipped Arcadia, 11-8, Saturday morning at Recreation Park. The Eagles (4-0) will face Gahr, a 6-5 semifinal winner over Simi Valley, in the final at Recreation Park. The date of the game has yet to be determined because of rains last week that delayed the tournament.
Three times Arcadia (3-1) held the advantage only to see El Segundo come back to tie or take the lead. The Eagles went ahead for good with a five-run fifth inning.
"It's always great when you can come from behind, especially early in the year," Stevenson said. "You can't do that every time. But if you know you can, you play with less panic and pay attention to what you have to do."
Arcadia tapped Newell for 14 hits and held leads of 2-0, 5-2 and 6-5. The right-hander struck out six and benefited from a defense that did not commit an error.
The Eagles collected nine hits, led by Newell, who went 2 for 3 with a run batted in. Shortstop Jim Zambarelli scored four runs, Benji Anderson was 2 for 2 and first baseman Tracy McAndrews doubled home two runs to put El Segundo ahead to stay.
Each team scored twice in the first inning. Brad Miller's two-run homer put Arcadia in front, but the Eagles tied the score on a fielder's choice and Jeff Poor's sacrifice fly.
The Indians wasted no time reclaiming the advantage, taking a 5-2 second-inning lead on Allan Lewis' single and two-run double from Kevin Schramm.
El Segundo answered with three runs in the bottom half of the second. T.D. Mayer and Anderson had RBI hits, and an error led to the third score.
Arcadia went ahead, 6-5, in the fourth on Schramm's sacrifice fly. But the Eagles batted around in their half and came away with five runs.
Newell drove in a run with a single and McAndrews doubled home two more. The other runs resulted from an error and a fielder's choice.
Arcadia added two runs in the seventh on Mike Parisi's double.