PREP BASEBALL / UPPER DECK TOURNAMENT : Germantown Trips Up Mater Dei for Title

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Germantown High came here from Tennessee hoping to get a little sun, play a little baseball and have a lot of fun. It left the Upper Deck Tournament with more than that.

The undefeated Red Devils beat Mater Dei, 6-4, Thursday in the championship game at Cal State Fullerton, becoming the first non-California team since Cherry Hill (N.J.) West in 1992 to win the tournament title.

Sophomore Jonathan Winterrowd, making his third varsity start, was staked to a 6-1 lead after three innings and--with relief help from Tom Hilderbrand who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh--hung on for the victory.


The victory concluded an impressive sweep for Germantown (19-0), which defeated four California teams, including Orange County’s top three--El Dorado on Monday, Fountain Valley on Wednesday and Mater Dei.

“I had a lot of thoughts going through my head this week--but (winning the tournament) wasn’t one of them,” Germantown Coach Phil Clark said.

“We had to win every game with the tying or winning run on base. And that’s hard to do against quality teams like the ones here. Some of our kids really grew up in this tournament. I’m awful proud of them; this is icing for a great week in California.”

Mater Dei (13-3) had hoped for an emotional lift from the return of Brad Ticehurst, idled much of the season because of off-season back surgery. And starting pitcher Mike Hessman, who has been playing most of the time at designated hitter because of a sore right shoulder, returned to the mound for the first time since March 9.

But Hessman, despite four strikeouts, struggled with his control and was lifted after two innings.

“He really wasn’t ready--and that’s my mistake,” Mater Dei Coach Bob Ickes said.

“I felt all right,” Hessman said. “But I had trouble controlling my pitches. And they are a real good team.”


Hessman provided himself and Mater Dei a brief lead in the first with a two-out double to center to drive in Ed Marquez, who reached base on a fielder’s choice and stole second.

But Germantown responded with two runs of its own, getting RBI hits from Matt Hale and Brian Kincheloe.

Hessman got himself into deeper trouble in the second, when the Red Devils loaded the bases on two hit batters and an error. As it did most of the tournament, Germantown capitalized; a ground-rule double by Chris Winsett drove in two, and after Jay Hood--the tournament most valuable player--grounded out, Winsett got into a rundown. Chris Lotterhos, on third, broke for the plate and scored after knocking the ball out of catcher Josh Townsend’s glove.

Germantown added another run in the third and Winterrowd was cruising with a two-hitter.

Mater Dei wasn’t finished, however. In the sixth pinch-hitter Dave Sanchez hit two-run triple which cut the Germantown lead to three. The Monarchs squeezed out one more run in the seventh before Hilderbrand got the final out.

In the third-place game:

Fountain Valley 9, Edison (N.J.) 3--Jon Fujii hit a three-run home run, capping an eight-run first inning for Fountain Valley (14-2-1). Matt Fox went three for three with two RBIs and one run scored for the Barons.

In other tournament games:

El Dorado 15, San Jose Bellarmine Prep 3--Brandon Downing had two singles and a triple and two RBIs for El Dorado (14-3) in the consolation championship game.


Esperanza 5, Horizon (Ariz.) 2--Esperanza (8-8-1) turned six double plays in the eighth-place game.