Division 2 final preview: Pacifica vs. Aliso Niguel
CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
ALISO NIGUEL (23-11) VS. PACIFICA (27-5)
Site, date, time: Dodger Stadium, Friday, 4:30 p.m.
Admission: $10 adults, $5 for students with valid student identification, $5 for children 13 and younger.
How they got there: Aliso Niguel, the No. 2 team from the Sea View League, def. Chino Hills, 3-1; Tustin, 2-1; Valencia, 10-0; and Trabuco Hills, 16-3. Pacifica, champion of the Empire League, def. Redondo Union, 7-0; Alta Loma, 4-0; Mission Viejo, 17-2; and South Hills of West Covina, 2-1.
Outlook: Aliso Niguel had not advanced past the second round of the baseball playoffs before this season. Aliso's Wolverines were 8-4 in the Sea View League, one game behind league champion Mission Viejo. They have won eight in a row.
Barker, an unsigned senior left-hander who is Aliso's probable starting pitcher, is 9-1 with a 0.71 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings. Barker also is batting .381 with a team-leading four home runs.
Senior first baseman/pitcher Matt Molnar, last week named Sea View League athlete of the year, leads the Wolverines in RBIs, with 18. Sophomore shortstop Justin Fowler is batting .367, and sophomore left fielder Anthony Sommer is batting .364.
Sommer had five RBIs against Trabuco Hills in the semifinals Tuesday.
Aliso Niguel has fared well in close games.
"We're pretty battle-tested," Aliso coach Craig Hanson said. "We've scored three or fewer runs 22 times this year, so we've learned how to handle those types of situations."
Pacifica is making its second appearance in a CIF-SS championship baseball game. The Mariners lost to La Quinta, 2-1, in the Division 4 final in 2003.
Pacifica was 11-1 in the Empire League and has an 11-game winning streak.
Senior shortstop Trent Chatterson, who signed with UCLA, has 151 career hits, the fourth-most in Orange County baseball history, and 36 hits this season. Center fielder Jono Herkins, a Cal State Northridge signee, is batting.448 with a team-high 47 hits.
Probable starting pitcher Kyle Davis, an unsigned senior right-hander, is 9-1 with a 1.12 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 75 innings. Davis also has a team-leading 37 RBIs.
Senior first baseman/pitcher Max Bethell, who signed with Cal Poly Pomona, is batting .370.
Pacifica coach Mike Caira said Pacifica and Aliso are similar teams.
"So the team that makes the fewest number of mistakes is going to win it," Caira said.
These teams have not played each other this season, although they were in the Anaheim Lions Tournament in April. In the playoffs,
Aliso has outscored its opponents, 31-5, and Pacific has outscored playoff opponents, 30-3.
Pacifica is the home team.
Projected starting lineups
Brett Barker, Sr., P
Justin Fowler, So., SS
Kyle Paris, Sr., CF
Matt Molnar, Sr., 1B
Anthony Sommer, So., LF
Mike Hall, Sr., DH/Brett Sebade, Jr., C
Kyle Molnar, Fr., RF
Austin Hudgins, Jr., 3B
CJ Danvers, Sr., 2B
Trent Chatterton, Sr., SS
Jono Herkins, Sr., CF
Kyle Davis, Sr., P
Max Bethell, Sr., 1B
Matt Gilbody, Sr., RF
Devan Campos, Sr., 3B
Nick Howard, So., LF
Saul Chavez, Jr., DH/Tanner Negrette, Sr., 2B
Cody Bistline, Sr., C