Entering Tuesday’s CIF Southern Section Division 3 second-round playoff game, Ocean View High starting pitcher Sheldon Knowles didn’t know anything about visiting Fontana Jurupa Hills.
By the baseball game’s final out, it looked like he knew the Spartans better than the halls of his high school.
The senior right-hander was one out away from throwing a no-hitter.
Behind Knowles’ one-hitter, the Seahawks defeated No. 3-seeded Jurupa Hills 3-0 to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010.
The Seahawks (23-10) move on to play at La Cañada (20-7) on Friday at 3:15 p.m. Rio Hondo League champion La Cañada edged Downey Warren 2-1 in the second round.
Knowles dominated Jurupa Hills (25-3), striking out nine batters, walking four and allowing only a single. For Knowles, the disappointment of coming so close to a no-hitter was dwarfed by the excitement of getting the Golden West League champion Seahawks to the next round.
“I was thinking about it since the fourth inning,” he said of the no-hitter. “I was like, ‘God, please help me.’ Unfortunately, I lost it with two outs, but I think I pitched well and I’m just glad I got the win.”
At the plate, Matt Starr had the Seahawks’ only run batted in.
Spartans starter Marcos Contreras allowed five hits but walked four batters and hit two more over four innings pitched. He also committed a balk.
Angel Aguilar finished the game for the Spartans, the San Andreas League champions. He went two innings, allowing a hit, a walk and hitting a batter while striking out two. John Chavez had the Spartans’ only hit.
Spartans coach Leon Baham complimented Knowles.
“Their guy on the mound just cut us up,” he said of Knowles, who threw 95 pitches, 61 for strikes. “He got his curveball going, and he was tough to hit. Our kids battled, we made some mistakes, walked a couple of guys. All three of their runs resulted from walks.”
The Ocean View defense made Knowles’ job much easier early on.
Contreras drew a walk off Knowles to start the second inning but was caught trying to advance on a wild pitch by Seahawks catcher Matt Maloney. He quickly found the ball and threw a strike to second base to get Contreras.
“We have one of the best catchers in Orange County,” Ocean View coach Tanner VanMaanen said. “It just sets the tempo super early that that guy can throw guys out. I can probably count on one hand how many guys have stolen off our catcher all year.”
The Seahawks scored in the bottom of the third inning.
Jordan Ku led off the inning with a walk. Caleb Hohman followed him by showing bunt but then lining a single to right-center field to advance Ku to third. Then Starr executed a perfect bunt single up the first-base line to score Ku.
The Seahawks tacked on insurance runs in the fourth third inning. With one out and the bases loaded, Ku hit a routine grounder to Spartans second baseman Javier Pedroza. He threw to shortstop Diego Armas to record the first out, but Armas threw the ball over first base and out of play to allow Michael Fernandez and Daniel Mayorga to score.
Baham asked the umpires to discuss the play, charging that Maloney interfered with Armas on his slide into second, but the umpires upheld the play.
“I thought he slid late,” Baham said. “Anytime our shortstop has to jump, that means he’s late. I talked to the umpire, but they came back and said no they didn’t think he interfered.”
VanMaanen says his team won’t change its mindset heading into the next round. Ocean View will be on the road for the first time this postseason.
“We need to continue to do what we do best,” VanMaanen said. “Not worry about all the things surrounding it.”
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