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Friday, June 1, 2012
Baseball D3: Bonita 5, Alhambra 1

By Tim Haddock

Bonita HS baseball celebrating thier CIF-SS Division 3 title.
Bonita players celebrate winning the CIF-SS Division 3 title after a 5-1 win over Alhambra.

LOS ANGELES -- Thomas Castro provided the big hits. Justin Garza came up with the big pitches. The two combined to lead Bonita to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 baseball championship at Dodger Stadium on Friday.

Garza gave up one run and three hits in his team’s 5-1 win over Alhambra. He struck out seven, walked two and didn’t give up a hit after the second inning.

“It was just our year,” Garza said. “We knew it was going to happen. We had a good vibe and we finally did it.”

Castro was 2-for-2, scored a run in Bonita’s four-run third inning and reached base all three times he came to the plate. He drove in a run in the first inning with a one-out single and walked in the fifth inning.

“To play out here and win a championship is a dream come true,” Castro said.

Castro was on the Bonita team that lost to Ocean View, 2-1, in the Division 3 championship game in 2010. He was the only player on the 2012 Bonita roster who started on the 2010 team.

“I still think about that game and how we let it slip away,” Castro said. “Going out my senior year, winning a championship, it’s amazing. It’s a great feeling.”

Bonita (32-2) won its second CIF baseball championship in school history. The Bearcats have played in five CIF championship games in the 109-year history of the school.

“All these guys have great composure, a good mindset,” Castro said. “They didn’t make this game too big. It was just another game out there.”

Bonita took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Alhambra tied the score in the top of the second inning. Marco Briones knocked in Alhambra’s only run with a two-out single. It was the last hit Garza gave up.

“He handled himself great,” Castro said. “He’s been doing it all year. It’s not something we expect, but it’s something that we know what we’re going to get from him. He pitched a great game."

Bonita sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs in the fourth inning. Garza successfully executed a squeeze play to score one run.  Tyler Heslop knocked in another run with an RBI single. With a four-run lead, Garza cruised the rest of the way.

“It’s kind of hard not to feel strong in this atmosphere,” Garza said. “I felt good.”

Alhambra (24-4) was making its first appearance in a CIF championship baseball game in 86 years. The Moors lost to Fullerton, 9-0, in the championship game of the CIF playoffs in 1927.