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Kaprielian pushes Beckman into semifinals
IRVINE – Beckman's baseball team and star pitcher James Kaprielian survived some anxious moments in the final two innings and held on for a 2-1 victory over Los Altos in the quarterfinal round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs Friday afternoon at Beckman.
No. 2 seeded Beckman (22-7) moves on to the semifinals Tuesday at Alhambra. Beckman is the defending Division 3 champion.
Kaprielian (11-2) worked out of trouble in the sixth and the seventh innings. He allowed one unearned run, two hits and struck out 10. Kaprielian, who has thrown two no-hitters this year, walked three and hit one batter.
"That was a good team, it's playoff baseball," Kaprielian said. "I don't know about the rest of the guys, but I was expecting that the whole time. I knew they were going to bring it and they did, and you have to tip your hat to them for giving us a run.
"They're a good team and they started catching on to my pitches a little bit. I had to dig down and give it everything I had."
Los Altos (20-10) cashed in a walk, two errors and a hit batter in the sixth inning to score a run and cut the lead to 2-1.
The Conquerors had the bases loaded and no outs, but Kaprielian retired the next three batters, striking out Anthony Cuevas and Andrew Castillo, to end the threat and allow Beckman to maintain the lead.
In the top of the seventh, Joe Munoz doubled with two outs, but Kaprielian struck out Steven Camberos to end the game.
Beckman won the game despite making five errors.
The Patriots scored a run in the first inning on an RBI double by Tyler Cook and moved out to a 2-0 lead on a lead-off home run by Zack Rivera in the third inning.
"We won today because our pitcher is really good," Beckman coach Kevin Lavalle said. "We didn't help him out on defense. I thought we had a good plan at the plate, we just didn't execute it. That's kind of discouraging. I think we can be better and I think James deserves a little bit more from us offensively.
"But I'm extremely happy and proud of these guys. It's never easy in the playoffs, you're going to run into adversity."
Beckman wound up with six hits and stranded eight runners, leaving the bases loaded in the first inning.
"I'm happy to walk out of here with a win, because I don't think we played very well, but I'll take it," Lavalle said.
The home run by Rivera, his fourth of the year, turned out to be the difference.
"He gets a 2-0 fastball and does what he's supposed to do with it," Lavalle said. "The way the game was going, I almost gave him a take sign and thank God I didn't."
Torin Goldstein went 2 for 3 for the Patriots.