The City Section Open Division playoffs have been all about parity, and Thursday’s semifinals at USC showed how evenly matched the top teams are.
Palisades defeated El Camino Real 1-0 behind pitchers Lucas Braun and Wyatt Loncar. Birmingham defeated Sun Valley Poly 1-0 despite Parrots ace Elias Galaviz holding the two-time defending City champs to an infield single while striking out six. Junior pitcher Gavin Rosales was the surprise star on the mound for Birmingham.
Palisades will play Birmingham for the Open Division title on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Dodger Stadium. Of the 10 Open Division playoff games, eight were decided by a single run.
Birmingham’s only run came in the fifth inning when Johnny Tincher walked with the bases loaded on a 3-and-2 count. The Patriots had two walks, an error and a hit batter in the inning.
Tincher, BIrmingham’s All-City catcher, was the standout defensively. He threw out two runners trying to steal second and picked off another at first base.
“They don’t know about me,” Tincher said.
As for Rosales, he got the game’s final out on a strikeout, his sixth of the game. Poly had the tying run on second after an error.
“What a great pitching performance,” Birmingham coach Matt Mowry said. “Talk about guts and performing on a big stage. And that was one heck of a pitching performance by the Poly pitcher.”