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Edison clears first hurdle in playoffs

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

HUNTINGTON BEACH – The regular season could be described as anything but smooth sailing for Edison’s baseball team.

With an overall record that was below .500, the Chargers reached the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs as the Sunset League’s third representative.

Perhaps their challenging regular-season schedule is paying off, as the Chargers defeated Long Beach Poly, 3-2, on Wednesday in a wild-card game at Edison High.

The Chargers (14-16-1) move on to face fourth-seeded Cypress on Friday.

The decisive run came in the sixth. With the score tied, 2-2, Kyler Arenado reached on an error by right fielder EJ Andrews. After a sacrifice bunt by Kaz Akamatsu, the Jackrabbits (16-12) pulled starter John Vozzella in favor of Jacob Gregg.

Gregg committed a balk to send Arenado to third, setting the table for Leo Hyodo. The Chargers second baseman lifted a ball to right, and it carried until it one-hopped the wall for a go-ahead double.

“The scouting that we had was that he was definitely a max-effort type of guy,” Hyodo said of facing Gregg. “He got me to two strikes, but I was just trying to simplify the game. I got a mistake up and in, and I just did what I had to do with it.”

Akamatsu (5-7) went the distance, allowing two runs (zero earned) on two hits. The right-hander struck out six, four of which came in the last two frames.

Chargers coach Cameron Chinn felt good about putting the game on Akamatsu’s shoulders.

“There was nothing faltering from his game,” Chinn said. “It seemed like he was actually getting stronger as the game went on. As far as his strength and his stuff, he was fine.”

Akamatsu said he usually relies on the slider to put batters away, but he turned to the changeup to dispose of the Jackrabbits.

John Thomas homered to give the Chargers a 2-0 lead in the first. Long Beach Poly came back to tie it with two runs in the second inning.

It was the second straight season Edison has defeated Poly in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

The Edison-Cypress game Friday will be at 3:15 p.m. at Cypress.


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