Los Angeles Preps: Brooks Kriske

Baseball D4: Palm Desert 4, Temple City 0

June, 2, 2012
6/02/12
9:56
PM PT


RIVERSIDE -- The glove was the first thing to go. After that, Brooks Kriske didn't remember much.

The USC-bound pitcher tossed a complete game four-hit shutout, leading Palm Desert to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 baseball championship with a 4-0 victory against Temple City at UC Riverside on Saturday night.

Kriske struck out the final batter, his 10th of the night, and everything that followed was a blur.

"It's what I was dreaming of, it's how I wanted to end it," Kriske said. "That was the big bang."

Top-seeded Palm Desert scored all of its runs in the first inning, providing the cushion that allowed Kriske to attack hitters. He peppered the strike zone with his fastball. No need to get fancy.

"My off-speed wasn't really there," said Kriske, who improved to 10-3 on the season. "In the first inning, to score four runs, you go in there and pump strikes."

Palm Desert, making its third consecutive title-game appearance, avenged last year's heartbreak. The Aztecs fell to Bishop Amat, 7-0, in the championship last season at Dodger Stadium. In 2010 they beat Torrance, 9-0. Palm Desert (26-8) closed the season on a 13-game win streak.

"This means a lot to the guys that have been here," Palm Desert head coach Darol Salazar said.

Temple City (24-4-1) rallied in the sixth by getting its first two batters on base but couldn't muster any runs. Senior pitcher Calvin Copping suffered his first loss of the season.

Kriske got the final out on a heater, high and away. He turned around, viciously swung his fist and hurled his glove into the air before being tackled by his teammates.

"We had a little practice two years ago," Kriske said. "We're used to it."

I.E.: Baseball season preview

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
6:30
PM PT
The meat of the high school baseball season is upon us, with several teams beginning league play this week. Here’s a look at the programs who’ve established themselves as the best in the Inland Empire so far, led my J.W. North, the defending Southern Section Division 1 champion. A list of the top players from the region follows, one for those playing high school baseball and another for the handful who have opted to train with ABD Academy in San Bernardino, and the dates for the start of league play are listed at the bottom.

Top 10 teams

1. J.W. North – The Huskies have picked up where they left off, winning their first six games, including a 3-0 victory against Temescal Canyon in the final of the Redlands Invitational.

2. Indio – The Rajahs are off to an 8-0 start and they're not piling up wins against cream puffs. They’ve beaten Granite Hills, Temecula Valley, Norco, Palm Springs and meet Chino on Tuesday in the championship game of the Chino tournament.

3. Redlands East Valley – The Wildcats only blemish is a 4-2 loss against J.W. North. They might have the talent to make a run at the top of this list, but still need to gain some quality victories.

4. Granite Hills – Hailing from Apple Valley, the Cougars aren’t much of a household name. They soon could be, however, posting early-season wins against Chino Hills, Valley View, Oak Hills and Canyon Springs and holding their own in three-run losses to J.W. North and Indio.

5. Temescal Canyon – The Titans are another team whose only setback came against J.W. North. They came into the season ranked fifth in the Southern Section Division 3 preseason coaches’ poll and have shown they belong.

(Read full post)

Bishop Amat takes down Palm Desert for Div. 4 baseball title, 7-0

June, 3, 2011
6/03/11
8:42
PM PT


LOS ANGELES — Rio Ruiz felt a rush of emotions as he trotted around the bases Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

The La Puente Bishop Amat junior third-baseman had just slugged a two-run homer into the right-field seats to give the Lancers their first runs in a 7-0 victory against Palm Desert in the Southern Section Division 4 championship game.

His excitement bubbled over as he touched third base and headed for home, but he was also still absorbing the loss of a close friend earlier in the day, Austin Lacy, who succumbed to an undisclosed illness while undergoing treatment in Maryland.

“I was like, ‘That’s for you, man. I know you’re watching down on me and my team and I know you’re going to help us get through this game,’ " Ruiz said.

Lacy played football with Ruiz during the 2009 season before suffering a heart ailment in March of last year and then transferring to Pasadena at the start of this school year. Ruiz and several teammates had remained close despite Lacy’s departure.

They received the news of his death shortly before the game.

“We all wanted to win it for him,” Ruiz said.

The second-seeded Lancers escaped two scoring opportunities by top-seeded Palm Desert in the first two innings, throwing out Palm Desert center-fielder Ryan Garvey at the plate to end the first and getting a bases-loaded double play to end the second.

(Read full post)

LA North and Inland Empire: Garvey's making the trip to Dodger Stadium

May, 31, 2011
5/31/11
7:51
PM PT


PALM DESERT — Steve Garvey was part of numerous clutch victories in his 19-year Major League Baseball career but he couldn't recall feeling this emotional after a win.

The legendary Dodgers first baseman was briefly at a loss for words Tuesday after watching the Palm Desert High School baseball team score twice with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Westlake Village Oaks Christian, 2-1, in a Southern Section Division 4 semifinal at College of the Desert.

Garvey’s son, Ryan Garvey, is a senior center fielder for the top-seeded Aztecs, who advanced to the championship game Friday afternoon at Garvey’s place of employment for 14 years, Dodger Stadium. Palm Desert will meet the winner of tonight’s semifinal between La Puente Bishop Amat and Torrance.

“It has been destiny, just to get back to Dodger Stadium,” Steve Garvey said with a shaky voice and glistening eyes. “This is what champions do, champions never give up.”

Then he dropped a little secret on what to look for in the championship game, something the casual observer might not notice but would be an especially proud moment for the 1974 National League MVP.

“You might see Ryan at first base for an inning,” Garvey said before hurrying off to congratulate the team and photograph the on-field celebration.

In the other dugout, the son of another Los Angeles sports luminary, Oaks Christian first baseman Trevor Gretzky, tried to make sense of his team’s collapse.

“They had a good last inning,” Gretzky said of the Aztecs. “Hats off to them.”

Gretzky, the son of Hall of Fame hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, drove in the only run for Oaks Christian with a one-out double over Garvey’s head in the first inning. He later used his 6-foot-4 frame to reach over the fence to snare a foul pop fly off the bat of Garvey, leaving the Lions just three outs from the championship game.

(Read full post)

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