Los Angeles Preps: John Schuknecht
May, 31, 2011
By Dan Arritt | ESPNLosAngeles.com
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.