The World Series that begins Tuesday in Cleveland will include a rarity — beyond the Chicago Cubs taking part in it.
Each team has a pitcher who played on Newhall Hart High's 2008 team.
Trevor Bauer of the Indians and Mike Montgomery of the Cubs will have something of a reunion. And to think Hart didn't win a baseball championship that year.
"Aaron Hicks beat us," Hart Coach Jim Ozella recalled Saturday night as the Cubs were finishing off the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
Hicks pitched Long Beach Wilson past Montgomery and Hart, 4-2, in a Southern Section quarterfinal. Hicks would go on to become a first-round draft pick and a starting center fielder for the Minnesota Twins.
It has been quite a year for former Hart players. Six appeared in the major leagues this season, each of whom was coached by Ozella.
Ozella, who grew up in Illinois, is more a Cardinals fan than Cubs fan, but he is thrilled for his former players to be on World Series teams.
"It's an unbelievable opportunity," he said.
Hart's 2008 team went 23-7. It produced a third major leaguer, catcher Trevor Brown of the San Francisco Giants. It won a CIF academic award for highest team grade-point average.
"A great group of guys," Ozella said.
Montgomery is a reliever for the Cubs, and he earned the win with two scoreless innings in NLCS Game 5 against the Dodgers.
Bauer started Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, but lasted only four batters when blood started streaming fromm the pinkie on his right (pitching) hand.
Bauer said he cut the finger repairing a drone.
Toles at the top
On the flight to Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts pondered ways to jump-start his offense. The lineup had averaged 3.4 runs through the first five games, but Roberts wanted all the run support he could muster.
He settled on an unexpected switch. He moved rookie outfielder Andrew Toles into the leadoff spot and pushed veteran second baseman Chase Utley to the No. 8 hole.
The swap stemmed from the quality of Toles' at-bats and Utley's willingness to take a demotion without complaint, Roberts said before the game.
Utley entered the game without a hit in the series and batting .115 in nine postseason games. He went 0 for 2 Saturday.
Toles, who started the game hitting .368 in the postseason, hit the first pitch of the game for a single. The Dodgers didn't get another hit until there was one out in the eighth inning.
In the wings
The Cubs' offense could receive a boost in the World Series.
Slugger Kyle Schwarber, expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery in April, started at designated hitter in an Arizona Fall League game Saturday night. Manager Joe Maddon said "there's a chance" the left-handed-hitting Schwarber could DH in Cleveland.
"That was really a surprise to me and all of us, so we're going to explore that," Maddon said before Saturday's NLCS game.
Schwarber, 23, hasn't played since suffering torn medial collateral and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee in a collision with center fielder Dexter Fowler in Chicago's third game of the season, at Arizona on April 7.
But after traveling to Dallas last Monday for a six-month checkup with Dr. Daniel Cooper, who performed the surgery, Schwarber, who hit five homers in the 2015 postseason, was cleared to hit and run the bases.
Schwarber, who had an .842 on-base-plus-slugging percentage with 16 homers in 69 games as a rookie last season, took live batting practice and tracked hundreds of fly balls in Arizona on Thursday and Friday leading up to Saturday's AFL game.
"We basically got the news at six months that we hoped to get at seven months," Cubs President Theo Epstein said. "We got the best possible report. It exceeded any reasonable expectations we had."
It's doubtful Schwarber, who will wear a knee brace, could play the outfield in the World Series, but the Middletown, Ohio, native could provide additional power from the left side in Cleveland, where teams can use a DH.
Money (doesn't) play
The Cubs' highest-paid player was on the bench at the start of the team's biggest game of the season Saturday night.
With Clayton Kershaw, a left-hander, pitching for the Dodgers, Albert Almora Jr., a 22-year-old rookie, started in right field over Jason Heyward, who signed an eight-year, $184-million contract with Chicago last winter.
"I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and with Albert, I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said.