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STEVE MCCRANK , DAILY BREEZE
Torrance catcher Konnor Smith tags out Fullerton's Mickey Resendiz at the plate during a CIF-SS Division 4 first round playoff game in Torrance on Thursday.

Fullerton knocked out of playoffs by Torrance

STAFF WRITER

TORRANCE - The Torrance baseball team didn’t wait long to make big plays in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 playoffs Thursday.

Center fielder Noah Ishikawa threw a runner out at the plate, and Konnor Smith delivered an RBI double in the first inning. Kai Hershberger put down a squeeze bunt that scored two runs in the third inning during Torrance’s 4-1 win over Fullerton at Kendall Field.

Fullerton ends the season 15-14.

Fullerton’s Mickey Resendiz led the game off with a triple, then Kyle Mickelson followed with a fly ball to center field. Ishikawa trotted forward a bit to catch the ball, then threw a one-hopper to Smith, who made the tag to get the out.

“Once the ball was hit I tracked it down,” Ishikawa said. “I was just hoping I had enough arm strength to make it there.”

Indeed he did.

“That was a huge throw, a perfect one-hop throw, it was a big momentum shift,” Torrance coach Ollie Turner said. “It settled us down. It looked like an obvious run.”

Torrance (18-12) responded in the bottom of the first when Russell Kong had a one-out walk, then Smith delivered a two-out, RBI double off the left-field fence to give the Tartars a 1-0 lead.

Eddie Zavala started a Torrance rally in the third inning with an infield single and a stolen base. Ryan Siebert followed with a single and a stolen base to put runners on second and third. Kong made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly and Ishikawa doubled to left to put runners on second and third. After an intentional walk to Smith loaded the bases, Hershberger put down a squeeze bunt. Siebert scored, then Ishikawa came flying around third base and scored easily while Fullerton made the play at first, giving Torrance a 4-0 lead.

The Indians scored one in the fifth inning when Andrew Bocanegra singled, took second on a wild pitch, took third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Rains.

But that was all Fullerton could muster off Torrance’s pitching. Dante Mendoza went five innings, allowing one run, five hits and one hit batter with no walks and three strikeouts. Travis Martizia pitched a scoreless sixth inning and Alex Gallegos closed it out with a scoreless seventh.

The Tartars turned three double plays, including one to end the game, and did not make any errors.

Smith threw out a runner trying to steal second and picked off another at first.

Torrance hosts California of Whittier (19-9) in the second round on Tuesday.


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