Los Angeles Preps: Josh Lienhard

City Section D1: El Camino Real 5, Chatsworth 4 (9 innings)

June, 2, 2012
El Camino Real HS celebrating its City title.Tim Haddock/For ESPNLA.comEl Camino Real players celebrate their dramatic 5-4, 9-inning win in the Division I City title game.

LOS ANGELES -- Pressure is privilege. That is the slogan for the El Camino Real baseball team.

JJ Crane could not have been in a more pressure-packed situation. With his team down a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, runners on second and third with two outs, full count, he hit a seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield that found the fringe of the outfield.

It scored the tying run and was hit just deep enough to allow the winning run to score. El Camino Real won the CIF City Section Division I championship game, 5-4, in extra innings at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.

It was just another day at the office for Crane. He said after the game he didn’t feel any pressure in his last at-bat.

“I wasn’t really nervous because I was in that situation before,” Crane said. “It couldn’t have been a better game. I’ve dreamed about that since I started baseball when I was 3 years old.”

But this was certainly no ordinary day.

Crane, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, came up with one of the biggest hits in the history of El Camino Real baseball. He had to prove to his coaches that he was worthy to be in that situation.

Coach Josh Lienhard benched Crane midway through the season because his production was lacking and made him work his way back into the lineup. Crane responded and Lienhard was rewarded by putting him back in the starting lineup.

“He’s been a huge catalyst for us down the stretch,” Lienhard said. “He’s done a great job there.”

El Camino Real (22-12) was rolling early in the game. The Conquistadores took a 3-0 lead in the second inning and starter Owen Perry was putting up zeros. He tossed five shut-out innings before running into trouble in the sixth inning.

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El Camino Real eliminates San Pedro

May, 30, 2012

LOS ANGELES -- El Camino Real's Luke Laurita pitched his team into the championship game of the CIF City Section Division I baseball playoffs with a complete-game six-hitter against San Pedro.

El Camino Real didn't provide Laurita with much offense, but came up with enough for a 2-1 win at USC on Wednesday night.

Laurita struck out four and walked two. The only trouble he ran into was in the fourth inning. Richard Samudio smacked an RBI triple off the right field wall to score San Pedro's only run.

"That triple fueled my fire," Laurita said. "It made me angry a little bit."

Aside from that, El Camino Real's defense came up with some great plays and Laurita kept the San Pedro bats at bay.

"He pitched fantastic," El Camino Real coach Josh Lienhard said. "He pitched out of some jams. He did his job and that's the type of pitchers defenses like."

El Camino took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Hayden Rappoport drove in pinch runner Brian Kewin with a two-out RBI single.

The Conquistadores increased their lead to 2-0 in the third inning on an RBI single from Mason Novak.

That would be all the offense Laurita needed.

Top-seeded El Camino Real will play second-seeded Chatsworth in the championship game at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.

The two teams played twice already. They each won game apiece.