Los Angeles Preps: Steve Lambright

LAKEWOOD -- Shane Watson was a mess earlier in the year. He smiles about it now because he can. Lakewood baseball coach Spud O'Neil jokes about it because it's true.

There was nothing messy about Watson's complete game performance Friday afternoon, as the ace guided Lakewood to an upset of top-seeded Huntington Beach Edison, 3-1, in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Watson gave up just four hits, out-dueling top major league pitching prospect Henry Owens.

Not bad for a guy who is a few months removed from undergoing surgery to repair a broken shin.

"I wasn't raising my lower half," recalled Watson, who had a metal rod and three screws placed in his leg. "I wasn't getting a lot of strikes. I just kept practicing hard and working hard."

Watson shut down one of the state's top lineups, facing the minimum through three and giving up one hit through five. He improved to 10-2 on the season.

"He's not going to strike out as many guys as Owens," O'Neil said, "but he's got a very good defense behind him. He's been getting better every game. He's really become a leader on this team and you can see by today that he's a winner also."

Lakewood (29-4-1) scored twice in the third on back-to-back RBI doubles from J.P. Yakel and Jonathan Pasillas and, after Edison (25-4) cut the deficit in half, added an insurance run in the sixth on a Jimmy Gosano bunt single.

It was a methodical kind of play -- "small ball," per say -- that eventually doomed Edison, the team everyone expected to hoist the trophy at Dodger Stadium. This group of Chargers, led by Owens and projected draft picks Christian Lopes and Eric Snyder, were three-time league champions and tied the school record for most wins in a season.

"We lost to a team that won 28 ballgames," Edison coach Steve Lambright said. "I'm not bitter. Lakewood did a great job. They outplayed us. I wish them all the luck in the semifinals. ... I'm proud of my team. They have nothing to hang their heads about."

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OC and Inland Empire: Edison's Henry Owens fires no-hitter

May, 20, 2011


The Southern Section Division 1 playoffs opened with a bang for the Huntington Beach Edison baseball team. Henry Owens, a 6-foot-7 senior left-hander, threw a no-hitter in an 11-0 victory Friday afternoon against visiting Corona Santiago.

Owens faced only one batter over the minimum while striking out 12. He issued a two-out walk to Jeremy Goldenetz in the third and hit Steven Pallares with a pitch with one out in the seventh. The game ended when the next batter, Kyle Ferret, grounded into a force play and Pallares was called for interference after sliding well past second base, resulting in a double play.

Owens, who is expected to be taken early in next month’s major league draft, raised his long arms in celebration and was quickly engulfed by his teammates.

“I was fresh and ready to go,” Owens said. “My stuff was there the whole game.”

Owens struck out the side in the first, fifth and sixth innings. During that late stretch, he struck out seven consecutive batters. But he was also efficient. Heading into the seventh inning, he had thrown only 69 pitches.

“He had command of everything,” said Edison coach Steve Lambright. “That’s a good hitting ball club over there. [Santiago] scored 10 runs against Mater Dei and 15 runs against Vista Murrieta, so it just kind of shows what a special pitcher he is.”

Lambright said he had not seen Owens so dominant since he threw a five-hitter in a 2-1 victory against Mater Dei two years ago in a Division 1 semifinal. Lambright said he challenged Owens earlier in the week to put the team on his shoulders.

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