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High School Sports

No. 2 pitchers take spotlight in second round of Southern Section Division 1 baseball playoffs

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Carter Kessinger (left) will take the mound for Sherman Oaks Notre Dame on Tuesday in the second round of the Southern Section playoffs.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Tuesday brings forth the second round of the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs, and most of the 16 remaining teams will be using their No. 2 pitchers to start games even though the first round was last Thursday and No. 1 pitchers would have had four days rest.

Those who don’t use their No. 2 probably don’t have confidence in their No. 2 to win. Either way, if you get past Tuesday’s games, Friday’s quarterfinals would require the best of the best in pitching.

So No. 2 pitchers will be in the spotlight. And there’s some good ones.

Christian Rodriguez of Orange Lutheran is a Cal State Fullerton commit. He’s expected to start against Etiwanda and Matt Bardowell. Jared Karros of Mira Costa is a UCLA signee. He’s scheduled to face Yale commit Carter Kessinger of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

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Brett Wozniak of Cypress takes on Capistrano Valley. Aliso Niguel has Evan Hoopingarner and closer Quinn Mathews ready for El Toro. La Mirada has Michael DeHaro (5-0) among several options to face Palm Desert.

As good as teams might be with their ace pitchers on the mound, it was already proven last week that more than one pitcher is needed. JSerra held Mira Costa scoreless and hitless when its No. 1 pitcher was nearing his pitch limit and was pulled. The Lions lost. Simi Valley and St. Bonaventure were scoreless through seven innings in a battle of No. 1 pitchers when both went to the dugout because of pitch counts. St. Bonaventure won.

It’s a tricky balancing act for coaches choosing when to use No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers. What’s clear is Tuesday is the opportunity for No. 2 pitchers to shine. And maybe No. 1 pitchers to pitch in relief.

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