Tolman leads Lake Forest El Toro to Southern Section Division 1 championship game against Corona

El Toro junior Erik Tolman throws two-hit shutout vs. Mater Dei.

There’s no denying how “masterful” junior left-hander Erik Tolman of Lake Forest El Toro High was in a Southern Section Division 1 semifinal playoff game Tuesday.

Tolman gave up two hits in a 3-0 victory over host Santa Ana Mater Dei to earn the Chargers a trip to Dodger Stadium to play for the Division 1 championship against Corona.

“I felt really good,” said Tolman, a Cal Poly commit who didn’t pitch a single inning last season. “My plan was to throw strikes. I threw a lot of offspeed pitches.”

He struck out six, walked one and came up with strikeouts whenever the Monarchs threatened, which was rare.

“His performance was a gem,” coach Mike Gonzales said. “It was masterful. He was able to throw all three pitches for strikes.”


And it wasn’t just any team Tolman shut down. Mater Dei’s hitters had come alive in three playoff victories. But he kept them off balance and swinging late by changing speed and location.

El Toro scored a run in the first inning on a single from Tyler Lasch. The Chargers added a run in the second inning on a single from Kenny Oyama. Then Josh Zamora hit the hardest ball of the day, slugging a home run to left in the sixth inning.

El Toro (26-7-1) is the school that produced Colorado Rockies All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was on the school’s last championship team in 2008. The Chargers will face Corona on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Dodger Stadium with ace Jake Jackson (11-1) ready to go and Tolman available to pitch in a closing role.

Like El Toro, Corona is loaded with quality pitchers and came away with a 5-2 semifinal win over Placentia El Dorado in eight innings. The Panthers tied the score 2-2 in the top of the seventh, then put together four consecutive hits in the top of the eighth, with Andy Czerwinski getting the big hit, a two-run single.

The 4 p.m. Division 2 final will feature Etiwanda against Palm Desert.

Palm Desert needed a three-run home run from Jeremiah Estrada in the top of the sixth inning to overcome Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley 4-3. Estrada, a UCLA signee, hit a three-run home run in the quarterfinal to defeat Huntington Beach Edison 3-2. He also earned the save Tuesday.

Etiwanda’s Marcus Johnson threw five scoreless innings in his team’s 5-2 win over No. 1-seed Bellflower St. John Bosco. He finished with three three strikeouts and zero walks in a complete game.

Tyler Freeman and Brad Massaro each hit home runs. Freeman’s brother, Cody, contributed two hits.

In Division 3, hard-throwing Matthew Sauer, expected to be a first-round draft pick, struck out 10 as Santa Maria Righetti defeated Lancaster Paraclete 1-0. Righetti will face Walnut, a 3-2 winner over Paso Robles.

In Division 1 softball, Norco (33-0) defeated Grand Terrace 11-7 and will face Los Alamitos in the championship game.

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