Los Angeles Preps: Kiel Alcaraz



RIVERSIDE -- Kiel Alcaraz had been away from baseball for close to seven years. He had strayed from the sport, gravitating instead toward football and track at Desert Christian of Lancaster.

Classmates begged Alcaraz to return to the diamond for one last hurrah. After all, he already had the skill set -- the power of football, the speed of track -- and he'd just need some fine tuning. Alcaraz eventually took head coach Dennis Shyrock up on his offer and, as it turned out, the decision paid off.

Alcaraz scored the winning run in Desert Christian's extra-innings win against Capistrano Valley Christian at UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon, guiding the Knights to their first CIF-Southern Section Division 6 baseball title. Alcaraz led off the eighth inning with a loud liner to the left-center field gap. That was the power of football. Next came the speed of track.

"I turned on the jets," Alcaraz said of his clutch triple.

Chance Gusbeth followed by lining a two-strike pitch to center for the go-ahead run. Fitting, if only because Gusbeth, a fellow running back, had been one of the main advocates in Alcaraz's ears after football season.

"It feels pretty good," Shyrock said. "It's a lot of pain and sweat that comes to even get to this game. It was two years ago that we were sitting outside."

Jared Nunez singled in Gusbeth for the two-run cushion, which reliever Justin Tition preserved in the bottom half of the frame. Capistrano Valley Christian had a chance to win in the seventh inning but stranded the bases loaded to send the game into extras.

Little-used sophomore Chris Bradley earned the victory, tossing 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

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Northeast: Rio Hondo Prep 34, Desert Christian 13

December, 10, 2011
12/10/11
10:08
PM PT


ARCADIA -- Alex Tayco entered Saturday's CIF-Southern Section championship game knowing full well that he was going to receive his share of carries. And when the senior running back started off slowly, he did not appear to be overly concerned the results.

His patience paid off, of course, by the time the final seconds ticked off the clock. Tayco finished with 160 yards in 20 carries and scored to guide Rio Hondo Prep to a 34-13 victory over visiting Lancaster Desert Christian in a Northeast Division title showdown.

“My job was stay focused and run down hill, that's what I did out there tonight,'' Tayco said. “I owe a lot to my offensive line. They did a great job.''

With a three-touchdown lead throughout the fourth quarter, Rio Hondo Prep (13-1) stuck to the game plan and kept the ball on the ground behind Tayco.

“Alex ran the ball hard tonight, but we had a feeling that was going to be the case,'' Kares coach Ken Drain said. “He was fantastic. He has been all year.''

The Knights opened the second half with a sense of urgency as Chance Gusberth scored on a four-yard run to cut the deficit, 28-13, at the 5:06 mark of the third.

K.J. Moore answered for the Kares. He scored on touchdown runs of 23 and 9 yards to give Rio Hondo Prep a 34-13 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

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L.A. North: Five things from the weekend

November, 28, 2011
11/28/11
4:44
PM PT


1. After a shaky first-round playoff game against Redondo, St. Bonaventure left no doubt in the quarterfinals against Canyon. The Seraphs, the third-seeded team in the Southern Section Northern Division playoffs, eliminated Canyon from the playoffs for the second year in a row and will face Oaks Christian, the reigning Northern Division champion, in the semifinals. The last time St. Bonaventure and Oaks Christian met was in the second week of Marmonte League play. Oaks Christian won 36-24, but the game was not without controversy. The lights went out at the Oaks Christian football stadium during a punt in the second half. St. Bonaventure was rallying and was about to take over possession. The lights went out at the stadium while the punt was in the air and the ball was downed on the St. Bonaventure one-yard line. Not only did St. Bonaventure have terrible field position to start its next drive, the game was delayed for nearly 30 minutes to restore the lights. St. Bonaventure’s Montre Lee and Patrick Kenney, who each scored key touchdowns against Canyon, said a rematch with Oaks Christian has been a motivating factor for the team. But St. Bonaventure might not be at 100 percent. Running back Shaun Wick has been limited because of a calf injury in the two playoff games. He was the team’s leading rusher after the first 10 games but has only carried the ball four times in the last two games. He did not have a carry against Redondo and gained 57 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown, in four carries against Canyon. While Wick has been sidelined, freshman Marcus Chambers has emerged as an effective back in the playoffs. He rushed for 47 yards and scored a touchdown against Redondo. He had 41 yards in eight carries against Canyon. He’s also a player that Oaks Christian hasn’t seen, so St. Bonaventure might have a bit of a surprise factor in the rematch.

2. On the other side of the Northern Division playoff bracket is Westlake, the newly dubbed No. 1 team in the ESPN Los Angeles Top 25 rankings, against a depleted Thousand Oaks team. It’s an all-Marmonte League final four. Westlake is undefeated and has outscored its two playoff opponents, Eastside and Hart, 101-26. Thousand Oaks coach Mike Leibin said only 38 players dressed for last week’s playoff game against Moorpark. The Lancers have won three games in a row, but the two playoff games have been challenging. Thousand Oaks traveled to Quartz Hill in the first round and beat the Rebels, 20-7. Against Moorpark, the Lancers needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat the Musketeers, 21-14. If Thousand Oaks is to have any chance of pulling an upset over Westlake, the team will need big games out of Blake Howell and Nathan DeBeikes. Howell caught four passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns against Moorpark. DeBeikes rushed for 106 yards, taking all 26 carries for Thousand Oaks, and scored a touuchdown. Westlake, on the other hand, has a multitude of offensive weapons. The Warriors scored 28 points in the second quarter against Hart en route to a 42-14 win. Running back Dashon Hunt scored three touchdowns against Hart. Receiver Connor Cook caught two touchdown passes. Jarius Bishop scored a touchdown and rushed for 30 yards.

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