Sunday, May 29, 2011
Inland Empire: Garvey vs. Gretzky in Division 4 showdown in the desert
By Dan Arritt
CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION BASEBALL SEMIFINALS
Palm Desert vs. Westlake Village Oaks Christian at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.
Even if this Division 4 semifinal didn’t feature two of the most recognized last names in Los Angeles sports history, it still stands as a pretty good match up. But the selling point, no doubt, will be Palm Desert outfielder Ryan Garvey, the son of legendary Dodgers first basemen Steve Garvey, trying to lead the Aztecs over visiting Westlake Village Oaks Christian and first baseman Trevor Gretzky, the son of—you guessed it—all-time great hockey player Wayne Gretzky, who spent 7 ˝ seasons with the Kings. Garvey, who signed with USC and should go high in next month’s MLB draft, is hitting .374 with a team-high nine home runs and 44 RBIs. Garvey would like nothing more than to win this game and return to his father’s former place of business, Dodger Stadium, for the championship game Friday at 4:30 p.m. Gretzky, who signed with San Diego State, is hitting .394 with 31 runs scored and 26 RBIs. He had two doubles and two runs scored in a 6-3 quarterfinal victory Friday against fourth-seeded Laguna Beach.
Riverside North vs. Lakewood at Blair Field in Long Beach, Tuesday, 4 p.m.
The dream season continues for North. A year after finishing last in the Big VIII League and two years removed from a 4-24 season, the Huskies won their first league title in 14 years earlier this month. They haven't let up either, advancing to the Division 1 semifinals, their first trip past the quarters since winning the Division 2 title 1994. That season they were led by the division’s player of the year and future Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy. North has been leaning on its pitching during this postseason run, and the Huskies will have junior left-hander Jack Johnson rested and ready for Lakewood. Johnson (6-2) threw a one-hitter in a 3-0 second-round victory against fourth-seeded JSerra and was the winning pitcher in the league-clinching victory two weeks ago against Riverside King. Lakewood has history on its side and a pretty good familiarly with the wind and spaciousness of Blair Field. The Lancers have won five section titles, most recently in 2006, and are coming off a 3-1 victory Friday against one of the best prep southpaws in the nation, Henry Owens of Huntington Beach Edison.
Etiwanda at Arcadia, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.
Etiwanda started in the wild-card round of Division 2, then buzzed through three straight league champions to reach the semifinals for the first time in the program’s history. The Eagles have had their backs to the wall almost the entire postseason, winning their first-round game in 10 innings at Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills and surviving a nine-inning quarterfinal game Friday at third-seeded Redlands. Look for KJ Edson (12-1) to take the mound for the Apaches, who are playing in their first semifinal since 1987.
Hesperia Oak Hills at Gardena Serra, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.
In just its second season of existence, Oak Hills advanced to the semifinals in Division 5 with a 7-4 victory Friday against visiting Sierra Madre Maranatha. Senior right-hander Adolfo Espinoza (10-1) will try for his third playoff victory and 11th straight for the Bulldogs. Serra does not have any seniors on its roster but the Cavaliers are feeling confident after knocking off top-seeded Riverside Woodcrest Christian, 10-5, in the second round.