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El Camino Real (18-9) Probable Starters

Kurt Birkins / Pitcher

Bats/throws: L/L

6-2, Sr.

* Gave up grand slam in City 4-A title game last year but has fared much better this season with 10-2 record and 3.24 earned-run average. Both of his losses this season have come against Chatsworth. Batting .338 with four home runs.

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Mike Leduc / Catcher

Bats/throws: R/R

5-7, So.

* One of three sophomore starters for Conquistadores. Has done solid job replacing brother Ray, a three-year starter who hit home run against Banning in 4-A championship game last year. Batting .301 with nine doubles and 15 RBIs.

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Brian Somoza / First base

Bats/throws: R/R

6-2, Jr.

* Has become dependable first baseman after beginning season at shortstop. Possesses excellent power. Hit home run against Birmingham that struck El Camino Real scoreboard in center field. Batting .317 but has struggled in playoffs.

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Brandon Kahan / Second base

Bats/throws: R/R

5-10, Sr.

* Earned starting spot in championship game because of his solid defense. Adds senior leadership to team of mostly underclassmen. Played flawless defense and contributed two hits in semifinal victory over Sylmar. Has only 20 at-bats this season.

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Conor Jackson / Third base

Bats/throws: R/R

6-2, So.

* The Conquistadores’ hottest hitter, Jackson had four hits in semifinal victory over Sylmar. Ranks second among El Camino Real starters with .407 batting average, including four triples. Was kicker on 3-A Division champion football team.

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Jared Maiden / Shortstop

Bats/throws: L/R

5-9, Sr.

* Three-sport standout has already won City titles in football, wrestling and baseball. Shifted from second base after missing first seven games because of injury. Older brother Joey played on 1993 and ’94 4-A championship baseball teams.

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Matt Schwartz / Left field

Bats/throws: R/R

5-7, Jr.

* Leadoff hitter has played well during second half of season. Batting .379 with nine doubles. Played catcher before moving to outfield. Made pinch-running appearance in 4-A championship game last season against Banning.

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Woody Cliffords / Center field

Bats/throws: L/R

6-2, Sr.

* One of region’s most feared hitters. Had three-run home run--his ninth homer of season--to give Conquistadores 9-8 quarterfinal victory over third-seeded Carson. Pepperdine recruit moved from first base to center field.

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Jesse Dechter / Right field

Bats/throws: R/R

5-7, Jr.

* Doubled and scored run in first meeting this season between El Camino Real and Chatsworth, but will probably be replaced by designated hitter in City Section 4-A Division championship game tonight at Dodger Stadium.

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Sean McElroy / Designated hitter

Bats/throws: L/L

6-0, So.

* McElroy replaced sophomore Mike Grossman, who has been sidelined since first game of City Section 4-A Division playoffs because of knee injury. Sophomore designated hitter is batting .333 with 14 RBIs in only 42 at-bats.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

El Camino Real Statistics *--*

Player AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Avg. Woody Cliffords 74 48 39 7 3 9 32 24 .527 Conor Jackson 86 24 35 10 4 2 36 7 .407 Mike Grossman 33 11 13 3 0 2 13 12 .394 Matt Schwartz 58 15 22 9 0 2 9 8 .379 Brandon Kahan 20 7 7 2 1 1 7 4 .350 Kurt Birkins 77 24 26 5 4 4 29 13 .338 Sean McElroy 42 9 14 5 0 2 14 3 .333 Brian Somoza 63 13 20 5 0 4 23 5 .317 Jared Maiden 58 22 18 5 0 3 9 16 .310 Mike Leduc 73 19 22 9 0 2 15 10 .301 Carlos Gallo 37 3 10 3 0 0 7 2 .270 Ryan Gunches 17 6 4 0 2 0 5 3 .235 Jesse Dechter 27 8 6 1 0 0 2 3 .222 Jesus Gallo 23 8 5 0 1 0 1 5 .217

*--*

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Pitcher G CG IP H SO BB ER R W-L ERA Ryan Gunches 5 1 29 30 15 15 12 18 3-2 2.90 Kurt Birkins 15 7 71 1/3 59 80 52 33 41 10-2 3.24 Johnny Koegel 9 0 26 31 14 10 14 21 1-2 3.77 Adam Sperling 12 0 25 1/3 29 19 15 14 22 1-0 3.87

*--*

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