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Giddy. That’s the best word to describe Verdugo Hills coach Angel Espindola after his team earned a spot in Saturday’s 10 a.m. City Section Division I championship game at Dodger Stadium with a 4-1 semifinal victory over Taft on Thursday at USC.

Ten years ago, when Espindola took over as coach, he looked through the school record book and didn’t see any Dodger Stadium appearances.

“I’m so excited,” Espindola said while hugging one supporter after another.

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In 1997, Fairfax won a City Section quarterfinal basketball playoff game against Manual Arts. After the game, Manual Arts alleged the Lions had used a player who participated in a church league during the season, making him ineligible.

Fairfax had to forfeit the game and was replaced by Manual Arts. It was an example of a school waiting until it saw whether its team won or lost before reporting a violation, and the fact that the information came out during the playoffs made the impact even more powerful.

The City Section eventually changed to a new rule saying that if an ineligible player were discovered during the playoffs, the individual would be removed and the team would be restricted from participating in the playoffs the next season. That way, a school would not be rewarded for waiting until the playoffs began to inform the athletics office of a violation.

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The City Section announced Thursday that Rancho Dominguez will not participate in Friday’s City Section Division III championship baseball game because of an ineligible player.

Harbor Teacher Prep, which lost to Rancho Dominguez 4-3 in the semifinals, will replace Rancho Dominguez in Friday’s 3 p.m. final against Vaughn at USC.

Information was given to the City Section on Wednesday alleging that Rancho Dominguez had an ineligible player, according to City Section Commissioner John Aguirre. After Rancho Dominguez investigated and confirmed the allegation, the team had to forfeit because of a City Section rule that was revised in 2017 and states that if an ineligible player is discovered during the playoffs “the individual and team will not advance.”

Pitchers Cole Winn and Max Rajcic of Orange Lutheran has been selected as co-most valuable players of the Trinity League. Winn is a senior; Rajcic is a sophomore. Both also hit this season.

The pitcher of the year was senior Jake Reed of JSerra and senior Christian Ciuffetelli of Servite. The rookie of the year was junior Caden Connor of Orange Lutheran. The golden glove award went to senior catcher Kameron Guangorena of St. John Bosco.

Other first-team all-league selections:

  • Baseball

Isaac Coffey of Dos Pueblos has been selected the MVP of the Channel League in baseball.

First team all-league:

Evan Kling, Dos Pueblos, Sr.; Mason Boelter, Dos Pueblos, Jr.; Chris Abbott, Dos Pueblos, Sr.; Dylan Kelley, Dos Pueblos, Sr.; Charlie Cuykendall, Dos Pueblos, Sr.; Frank Gamberdella, Santa Barbara, Jr.; Derek Tru, Santa Barbara, Jr.; Bryce Warrecker, Santa Barbara, So.; Nick Oakley, Santa Barbara, So.; Anthony Firestone, Santa Barbara, So.; Jacob Martinez, Buena, Sr.; Erik Larson, San Marcos, Jr.

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  • Softball

Ruby Salzman of Chatsworth has been named the City Section Open Division softball player of the year.

She helped Chatsworth win the Open Division championship.

The pitcher of the year was Ashley Wies of Carson.

There’s been much discussion through the years about which high schools produce the most professional athletes, and now there could be an answer.

CreditLoan.com analyzed the records of more than 25,000 pro athletes to find which states and high schools produced the most players.

Among the findings:

  • Baseball
Albert Garcia throws seven shutout innings of relief

Sophomore pitcher Albert Garcia thrust himself permanently into Birmingham baseball lore on Wednesday night by throwing seven shutout innings of relief to enable the Patriots to rally for a 3-2 victory over Chatsworth in the City Section Open Division semifinals at USC.

Birmingham was facing disaster in the first inning. Starting pitcher Armando Yanez was pulled after 16 pitches. The Chancellors got a walk and two singles. In came Garcia with few warmup tosses. He got a force out on a dropped pop up that scored a run to give Chatsworth a 2-0 lead. The Chancellors’ bats went silent the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, the Patriots got a run in the third inning off Gabe Achucarro on a bunt by Garcia to score Johnny Tincher, who had a triple. They scored another run to tie the score in the fourth on an RBI single by Daniel Gamboa. And then Erik Rivas, who has five hits in two playoff games, delivered an RBI single in the fifth.

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BASEBALL

CITY

OPEN DIVISION

SOFTBALL

SOUTHERN SECTION

DIVISION 1