Banning rallies to win Open Division baseball playoff opener 4-2 over Venice

Banning All-City pitcher Anthony Joya was brought in from the dugout in the first inning.
Banning All-City pitcher Anthony Joya was brought in from the dugout in the first inning on Wednesday in playoff game against Venice.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

There was lots of drama on Wednesday on the first full day for the City Section Open Division baseball playoffs. Early on, the underdogs were looking good. Banning coach John Gonzalez, whose team was seeded No. 5, had the idea of not starting All-City pitcher Anthony Joya against No. 12 Venice.

That experiment ended quickly when Venice loaded the bases in the first inning and opened a 1-0 lead with one out. Joya was brought in and struck out the next two batters. Gonzalez wasn’t breathing a sigh of relief until the fourth inning when the Pilots finally overcame a 2-0 deficit, taking the lead on a bases clearing three-run double by Ryan Ortega. Banning won 4-2 and advances to play at No. 4-seeded San Pedro on Saturday.

Joya pitched 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven while allowing two hits.

Three-time defending champion Birmingham fell behind 4-0 to Narbonne, tied the game 4-4 and won it in the bottom of the seventh on a wild pitch. Gavin Taylor hit a three-run home run to key the Patriots’ rally. They will face top-seeded Granada Hills on Friday.


No. 10-seeded Chatsworth defeated No. 7 Palisades 1-0 in eight innings and advances to play at No. 2-seeded Cleveland on Friday. Billy Rusen had the game-winning RBI. Nate Flores, Jose Ruedas and Josh Pollack combined to shut out the Dolphins. The other game has No. 11 El Camino Real at No. 3 Roosevelt.

In Division I, Sun Valley Poly defeated LACES 12-2 in six innings. Victor Melendez struck out nine. Ismael Munoz had three RBIs. Lestat Jimenez hit a three-run home run in the 10th inning to give Marshall a 7-4 win over Bell.

Jacob Posner threw a four-hit shutout in Hamilton’s 7-0 win over Roybal. He struck out 13. Matthew Pardo had three hits and four RBIs. Taft defeated San Fernando 3-0 behind Matthew Leiterman, who struck out nine.

Santa Monica Crossroads High barely made the boys’ soccer playoffs, but once in, the Roadrunners got hot and won two championships.

June 9, 2021