Los Angeles Preps: Andrew Saucedo

I.E.: Five notes from last week

April, 30, 2012
1. Kyree King of Colony ran the state’s fastest time of the season in the boys’ 100 meters Saturday at the Sacramento Meet of Champions at American River College. King, a senior, finished in a wind-legal 10.54 seconds, which equals the time Khalfani Muhammad of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame produced earlier this month at the Maurice Green Invitational at Oaks Christian. King came back to lose a photo finish to Andre McBride of San Leandro in the 200, but both were credited with a time of 21.21, which also represents the top time in the state this season. The state meets is six weeks away.

2. The Inland Empire has a new single-season home run record in softball after Sierra Romero of Vista Murrieta clubbed three more Saturday at the Corona Santiago Spring Fling tournament. Romero, a senior who has signed with Michigan, hit her 15th round tripper of the season in a 7-5 victory against Carson to tie the record held by former teammate Taylor Edwards and Lauren Sweet of Santiago. She hit two more later that day in a 9-7 loss to Saugus. Her 42 career home runs are also an I.E. record.

3. The J.W. North baseball team improved to 10-0 in Big VIII League play Friday with an 11-4 victory against Riverside Poly. The Huskies, ranked fifth in the state by CalHiSports and seeking their second consecutive Division 1 title, were led by catcher Andrew Saucedo, who went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Gabe Franca, Justin Gheorghe, Jack Johnson and Robert Ortega contributed two hits each. J.W. North can clinch the title outright this week with victories Wednesday against visiting Roosevelt and Friday at Corona Santiago.

4. The Baseline League baseball race is wide open again after Glendora lost its third straight game last week to fall into second place, a game behind Alta Loma. Upland, one of the preseason favorites to win league, bounced back from a 1-4 start to beat Glendora twice last week to move into fourth, three games back of Alta Loma (15-5, 8-3). The Highlanders close out the season next week with two games against the Braves. Also in the mix is third-place Los Osos at 6-5 in league. The Grizzlies play Upland twice this week.

5. The Yucaipa baseball team swept two games from Redlands last week to move into first place in the Citrus Belt League. The second win was a 1-0 victory Friday at Redlands. Tyler Sapp went the distance, allowing four hits and striking out seven with one intentional walk. The Thunderbirds gave Sapp (6-2) all the runs he would need in the first inning on a lead-off double by Greg Espinosa, followed by an RBI-single by Alec Morabito. Yucaipa (15-8, 9-2) sits a half game ahead of Redlands East Valley (15-6, 8-2), which the Thunderbirds play two times next week in the final stretch of the regular season.

Inland Empire: North baseball team clinches first league title since '97

May, 12, 2011

RIVERSIDE — This wasn’t just any post-game dog pile.

The Riverside North baseball team had waited 14 years to celebrate another league championship, and almost let their opportunity slip away Thursday, allowing three runs in the top of the seventh inning against visiting Riverside King before holding on for a 5-4 victory in the Big VIII League finale.

North starting pitcher Jack Johnson talked his way into coming out for the seventh, despite throwing 90 pitches to that point. He allowed a home run to Brandon Camp on the first pitch of the inning and the junior left-hander immediately gave way to senior right-hander Mario Morales.

Following a one-out error and a walk, Shane Mardirosian singled to right field to drive in a run and the remaining runners advanced to second and third on an ill-advised throw home. Morales then balked while preparing to pitch from the wind up, scoring another run and moving the tying run to third base.

However, Morales got cleanup hitter Pat Debonis to hit a hard grounder to the left of third baseman Evan Perez, who made a nice play to field the ball, held Mardirosian at third and then threw out Debonis at first for the second out of the inning. Andrew Alvarez then popped out to first to end the game and trigger North’s long-anticipated celebration.

“Two years ago, we started seven freshmen on varsity,” North coach Steve Madril said shortly after dodging a bucket of ice. “We knew two years from then we’d have a pretty good team. Luckily, this was the year we were waiting for.”

Two years ago, the Huskies finished 4-24, losing their final 14 games. Last season, they finished last out of eight teams in the Big VIII League.

“We took our bruises,” said Johnson, who improved to 8-1.

The Wolves also finished 10-4 in league play and will share the league championship with North. However, the Huskies will be the league’s No. 1 representative for the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs beginning next week because they won both meetings against King this season.

North gave Johnson a cushion by scoring two runs in the first inning. With one out and runners on second and third, Perez hit a high fly to shallow center. Alvarez, playing shortstop, appeared to have trouble with the sun and the ball fell for a single, scoring the first run. Andrew Saucedo then singled up the middle for the second.

The Huskies added two more runs in the fourth on a throwing error by King starting pitcher Eric Geiger, who rushed a throw to first after fielding a bunt and the ball skipped into foul territory, allowing pinch-runner Isias Avalos to score from second. A sacrifice fly brought home the fourth run of the game.

North stretched its lead to 5-0 on an RBI double by Steven Pena in the fifth inning, a run that turned out to be the difference maker.