Los Angeles Preps: Riverside Woodcrest Christian

Baseball D5: Woodcrest Christian 6, Paraclete 1

June, 2, 2012

RIVERSIDE -- Chalk up another one for adrenaline.

Despite having nine stitches in the palm of his throwing hand, senior pitcher John Davis tossed a complete game to lead Woodcrest Christian to a 6-1 win against Paraclete in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 baseball championship Saturday afternoon at UC Riverside. Davis struck out seven in a gutsy effort that he could only attribute to his competitive juices.

"I felt the pressure of the game," Davis said. "I had to buckle down and make pitches."

And nothing else mattered, not even the gash he suffered earlier in the week while diving back to first base. Davis baffled Paraclete's batters with a mixture of high fastballs and harsh breaking balls. It was more than enough for Woodcrest Christian, which made a short 15-minute drive here to win its second title in three years.

"This was one of the studliest efforts I've had a kid pull off in a long time," Woodcrest Christian coach Glenn Prater said. "He called me this morning and said he could pitch. I didn't know if he'd throw six pitches or six innings."

Davis surrendered only three hits after the first inning, making luxury of the 5-1 lead he was given after two frames. Parker Strebel's two-run double in the second was the backbreaker.

After the final out was recorded, Davis' only concern was that wounded right hand. He wrapped his arms around catcher Mickey Chupek and held on for protection as the Royals piled up near the mound. Some photographs will show Davis raising his right arm in an effort to avoid contact with his teammates' metal spikes.

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Inland Empire: Key first-round baseball games

May, 18, 2011

Division 1

Corona Santiago at No. 1 Huntington Beach Edison, Friday, 3:15 p.m.

Santiago has scored one-sided victories this season against second-seeded Mater Dei and third-seeded Vista Murrieta, but the Sharks weren’t facing the type of fastball they’ll see against Edison lefty Henry Owens, a consensus first-round pick in the upcoming major league draft. The game will also feature two of the Southland’s premier senior shortstops in Christian Lopes of Edison and Brandon Martin of Santiago. Lopes has committed to USC and Martin to Oregon State, but both are expected to go high in the draft as well.

Simi Valley Royal at No. 3 Vista Murrieta, Friday, 3:15 p.m.

Royal won its 12th consecutive game Tuesday, a 4-2 victory at Villa Park, earning an even longer bus ride to Southwestern Riverside County. The Highlanders finished fifth in the exceptionally deep Marmonte League and have four starters back from last season’s Division 1 semifinalists. The Broncos will ask sophomore right-hander Tyler Russell (8-1, 1.03) to defend their home turf.

Temecula Great Oak at No. 4 San Juan Capistrano JSerra, Friday, 3:15 p.m.

Another I.E. team that hopes to represent well against an O.C. powerhouse is Great Oak, which played Vista Murrieta tough in their three Southwestern League games. Great Oak shortstop Austin Bailey, who signed with San Diego, hit three home runs last week in the regular-season finale against Murrieta Mesa, giving him six on thes season. The most watched player will be JSerra catcher Austin Hedges, considered the best defensive prospect in the nation, high school or college.

Division 2

Yucaipa at West Torrance, Thursday, 3:15 p.m.

When it comes to pitching, the Thunderbirds have the type of 1-2 punch that can carry them back to the finals for the second straight year. Justin Lewis (8-1) threw a two-hitter Tuesday in a 3-0 wild-card victory against visiting Rancho Cucamonga. Now it’s Kevin Davidson's turn. The senior right-hander is 7-1 with a 2.10 ERA and helps himself out at the plate with a .511 batting average. West Torrance won the Bay League.

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Inland Empire: Quick look at the baseball playoffs

May, 16, 2011

Seeded I.E. teams:

Div. 1: No. 3 Vista Murrieta.

Div. 2: No. 2 Redlands.

Div. 3: None.

Div. 4: No. 1 Palm Desert.

Div. 5: No. 1 Riverside Woodcrest Christian.

Div. 6: None.

Div. 7: No. 4 Riverside Christian.

Best wild-card games Tuesday:

Div. 1: Temecula Chaparral at Corona Santiago. Chaparral swept won both games against Murrieta Valley last week to take the final playoff spot from the Southwestern League. The Sharks probably had the most talent in the Big VIII League this season but didn’t get the job done when it counted and finished third. Chaparral will likely start sophomore right-hander Jake Trybulski (4-2, 1.74), who has allowed two earned runs or less in seven of eight starts this season.

Div. 2: Rancho Cucamonga at Yucaipa. These teams met in the season opener March 4 and Yucaipa won, 4-2, behind a combined six-hitter from Kevin Davidson and Justin Lewis. Both pitchers are now 7-1 on the season, and the Thunderbirds have the experience of reaching the title game a year ago. The Cougars will need a big game from junior second baseman Taylor Grace and senior outfielder James Zamarippa.

Div. 3: San Bernardino Cajon at Romoland Heritage. Cajon finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak to earn fourth place and an automatic playoff berth out of the eight-team San Andreas League. Ruben Rios is the top hitter and pitcher for Cajon. If the senior right-hander can get some run support, he might be too much for the Sunbelt League runner up.

Div. 4: Palm Springs at Chino. If there’s one player Palm Springs needs to know about it’s Chino outfielder/first baseman Jacob Anderson, who is expected to be a high draft pick this June.

Div. 5: Twentynine Palms at Phelan Serrano. Twentynine Palms is led by junior Justin Tuttle, who is batting a team-high .423 with 22 RBIs. Serrano is led by junior third baseman Jose Bueno, who is hitting .440 and junior first baseman Chad Heying (.380, four home runs).

Div. 6: Yermo Silver Valley at Bloomington Christian. The Ravens have won six straight and eight of nine to finish third in the Victory League. Silver Valley’s only victories in its last nine games came as a result of three forfeits.

Div. 7: Riverside Bethel Christian at Granada Hills Hillcrest Christian. Bethel Christian finished second to Temecula Prep in the Majestic League.

Check back Wednesday for a preview of the top first-round games.