San Fernando wins City baseball title
In a vintage baseball staredown on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, the best pitcher in the City Section, left-hander Jack Hartman of Reseda Cleveland, stood on the mound and faced off three times against the best hitter, Roberto Ramos of San Fernando.
Hartman refused to back off from the challenge. On each at-bat, he got two strikes against the left-handed-hitting Ramos. And each time, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Ramos delivered a hard-hit single, the last coming in the bottom of the sixth inning to drive in the tie-breaking run and lift San Fernando past Cleveland, 2-1, in the Division I championship game.
“I don’t understand that,” San Fernando Coach Armando Gomez said when asked why Cleveland continued to pitch to Ramos, who has 43 runs batted in and 11 home runs this season. “We took advantage.”
Ramos had an RBI single to right field in the first inning, another single to right field in the fourth and his third single in the sixth was sent to left field. His hits came with a wood bat, something he has been using since he was 7.
“I was just trying to do the best I could, and thank God I came through,” said Ramos, who lost 30 pounds in the past year and is hoping to be taken in next week’s amateur draft. “This is what I like to do — play baseball.”
San Fernando (33-3) won its second title in the last three years with the help of unsung No. 2 pitcher Armando Esparza, who overcame some early jitters to strike out eight, walk two and give up only four hits in a complete-game performance. After giving up singles to Andrew Devian, Matt Del Mundo and Reno Rankin to start the game, he gave up one hit the rest of the way.
“I was real nervous the first inning,” Esparza said. “After I got through three outs, I thought about it in the dugout, and I regrouped.”
In the Division II championship game, Van Nuys defeated Chavez, 5-4, on a walk-off walk by Eduardo Negrete with one out in the eighth inning. Ruben Pineda had tied the score in the eighth with his third hit of the game, an RBI single. It was the first title for Van Nuys (17-9) since 1959.
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