Savanna's AJ Kennedy is met by teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run in the sixth inning of Thursday's CIF-SS playoff game against Estancia. Savanna won the game, 7-0.

Savanna marches on behind confident Kennedy


Savanna senior AJ Kennedy has been the team’s starting varsity catcher since his freshman year.

The Rebels won league championships and playoff games his sophomore and junior years. But Kennedy thinks this year’s team is the best of his four years with the Rebels.

Savanna backed Kennedy’s confidence Thursday with a solid 7-0 victory over Estancia in a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 first-round playoff game at Savanna.

Jonah Lopez drove in four runs, Kennedy drove in two and pitcher Ryan Hartman allowed two hits and struck out 10 in six innings.

Savanna (20-8), co-champion with Katella of the Orange League, will play Nogales (22-6) in the second round Tuesday. The home team will be determined by coin toss today. Nogales advanced with a victory over St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs.

Estancia, the No. 2 team from the Orange Coast League, finished 17-9.

Kennedy, a Cal State Fullerton signee, said Savanna's team camaraderie is strong this season, and that this is the best collection of athletes with which he has played at Savanna.

“We’re all athletic and we know what to do,” Kennedy said.

The Rebels took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. With two outs, Kennedy doubled, Hartman walked George Avina singled in Kennedy and Lopez hit a two-run double.

Savanna added a run in the fifth on Lopez’s RBI single. Kennedy hit a two-run home run in the sixth. It was Kennedy’s sixth home run and advanced his RBI count to 30, the third-highest total in county baseball this season.

Hartman, unsigned and being actively recruited, improved to 10-2. He is tied for the county lead in victories and third in strikeouts, with 82.

Savanna advanced to the second round in 2010 and ’11 and were eliminated in the second round.

Also in Division 4:

Calvary Chapel 7, Indio 1: Wyatt Haccou pitched a complete game and drove in two runs to push his county-leading total to 47 for the host, third-seeded Eagles (25-2).

La Habra 3, Northview of Covina 2: Aaron Porter drove in two runs for the host Highlanders (17-10).

In Division 2:

Cypress 2, Claremont 0: Kevin Lillicrop pitched a shutout for the fourth-seeded Centurions (25-6).

Pacifica 7, Redondo Union 0: Kyle Davis took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and hit a two-run home run, and Trent Chatterton drove in two runs for the host, second-seeded Mariners (24-5).

Trabuco Hills 3, Dos Pueblos of Goleta 2: Bret Dare drove in all three runs for the Mustangs (15-13) and Kevin Wade pitched a complete game.

Valencia 5, Mayfair of Lakewood 4: David Voornees had two RBIs for the visiting Tigers (18-13).

In Division 6:

St. Margaret’s 4, St. Anthony 3: Carter Jahn doubled and drove in a run and Harrison White got the victory in relief for the host Tartans (14-8).

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