Sylmar Takes Walk Into Semifinals


Edson Gonzales' bat had been quiet all game.

Sylmar High's senior right fielder hit into two fielder's choices and had one sacrifice bunt in three plate appearances.

But in his final at-bat, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Gonzales prompted the loudest noise of the day from the home crowd without even making contact.

His walk with two out and the bases loaded forced in the winning run for Sylmar in a 4-3 victory over Banning in a City Section 4-A quarterfinal Tuesday at Sylmar.

"I was only nervous when the count started," said Gonzales, who bats ninth in the lineup. "I was looking for a fastball, trying to put the ball in play. Whatever works."

Gonzales walked on a 3-1 fastball from reliever Michael Cockrell, scoring Eddie Camacho and sending the Spartans (22-6) into a semifinal against El Camino Real (17-8) on Thursday at a neutral site.

El Camino Real, the defending 4-A champion, advanced with a 9-8 victory over Carson.

The Spartans nearly let Banning off the hook in the seventh.

Ivan Hernandez led off the inning against reliever Frank Perez and reached second base when Cockrell, playing shortstop, booted a grounder and then overthrew first baseman Michael Limosnero for a double error, the fourth and fifth for the Pilots.

After Cockrell (1-1) intentionally walked Camacho, Ricardo Zamora singled to left field to load the bases with nobody out. Jordan Plasencia grounded into a double play from Cockrell to catcher Vince Velazquez to Limosnero. Cockrell then walked designated hitter Victor Anguiano, loading the bases for Gonzales.

An inning earlier, Cockrell was inches away from being the hero for Banning.

With runners on third and second and two out, Cockrell smacked a line drive to right field off Hernandez (11-2) that fell just foul. He then struck out on a 3-2 curve ball, ending Banning's last threat.

Hernandez, a junior right-hander, replaced starter Mario Pacheco with one out, runners at the corners and the Spartans ahead, 2-1. Raymond Grajeda moved to second on a wild pitch and Hernandez struck out Marco Barrera on a high fastball for the second out.

But pinch-hitter Steve Donini followed with a high chopper through the hole at shortstop, scoring both runners and giving the Pilots a 3-2 lead.

Sylmar tied the score, 3-3, when Pacheco led off the fifth inning with a home run.

Hernandez, who threw 68 pitches in a complete-game, 3-2 victory over Palisades on Friday, allowed three hits, struck out six and walked one in 3 2/3 innings. Pacheco gave up five hits, struck out four and walked one in 3 1/3 innings.

Zamora had three hits for Sylmar and teammate Sam Ponce had two.

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