Sunny Hills savors playoff win


Sunny Hills played in five one-run games in the Freeway League. They won four of them.

The Lancers did not have to sweat out a tight game Wednesday. They took a big, early lead to beat Godinez, 12-2, in a CIF-SS Division 4 wild-card game at Sunny Hills.

Sunny Hills (17-9) will play at third-seeded Don Lugo of Chino (19-6) in a first-round game Friday.

The win was the Lancers’ first playoff triumph in more than 10 years. In their most-recent playoff appearance, in 2012, the Lancers lost to St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs in a wild-card game.

Senior pitcher Jeff James went 42/3 innings to get the win. He was 3 for 3 with three RBI including a two-run home run. Christian Milroy hit a two-run triple and Andrew Aguilar drove in two runs.

Godinez, which finished third in the Orange Coast League, concluded the season at 11-15. The Grizzlies qualified for the playoffs despite the graduation 11 seniors from last year’s playoff team.

James said playing in so many close league games helped Sunny Hills get ready for the tension of a playoff game.

“The Freeway League is a very competitive league,” James aid. “That got us prepped for playoff ball.”

Sunny Hills coach Arlie Kearney agreed.

“The Freeway League is so tough, from top to bottom,” Kearney said. “We were in a battle almost every game. We came out today ready to go.”

The Lancers batted around in the second inning and scored five runs on six singles, including Aguilar’s that sent home two runs. James and Connor Holz also had RBI hits in the inning.

Sunny Hills scored two runs in the third inning and two in the fourth on James’ towering home run down the left-field line that made it 9-0.

The Grizzlies scored twice in the fifth inning as they sent eight batters to the plate. Gabriel Rodriguez, hit by pitch in his first two plate appearances, had an RBI single in the inning.

James plunked two other Godinez batters.

“I guess I was overthrowing a little bit,” James said. “It happens.”

Sunny Hills’ success has come from a combination of good players and strong camaraderie.

“Out team chemistry is great,” said James. “If we’re not on the field together we’re still hanging out with each other. We’re brothers and that shows on the field.”

Sunny Hills scored three in the sixth inning, including two on Milroy’s triple to right-center field.

Also in Division 4:

Colton 15, Century 5: The host Centurions (16-10) were eliminated at home. Century, which had an early 4-1 lead, has won 36 games over the past two seasons.

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