Semifinalist gets chance for new memories
Many of the more successful coaches can't remember how many league championships their teams have won, or who they beat in CIF championship game 15 years ago. But ask about a playoff loss, and those coaches can tell you precisely how minutes it took for the bus ride home, or what they had for dinner that evening.
After Esperanza beat Mater Dei, 5-1, in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals Friday, Esperanza coach Mike Curran was asked about the previous time the Aztecs reached the semifinals.
And he answered quickly: "Four years ago. We lost to Long Beach Wilson in the semifinals, on this very day four years ago."
He was right on the money. It was May 27, 2007, that Esperanza lost to Wilson in the Aztecs' most recent semifinals playoff game.
Beckman pitcher James Kaprelian is 2-0 in the playoffs, with two shutouts in his Division 3 starts. He has allowed five hits and struck out 16.
Woodbridge infielder Brennan Leitao was a double shy of hitting for the cycle Friday in the Warriors' 9-0 victory over Rialto in the Division 3 quarterfinals. The return of Ben Wylly to the pitching rotation has been a catalyst for Woodbridge, too; he threw a complete game against Rialto.
Oxford Academy, trying for a third consecutive Division 6 baseball championship, has outscored its playoff opposition, 27-5.
County statistical leaders, going into the semifinals ...
Hits – Chris Paul, Laguna Beach, 54; Austin Saenz, Mission Viejo and Eric Peruzzi, Laguna Beach, 53; Ty Moore, Mater Dei and Kory Weeks, Rancho Alamitos, 51.
Home runs – Travis Harrison, Tustin, 13; Nathan Antoun, Capistrano Valley Christian, 9; several tied with 6.
RBIs – Paul, 49; Peruzzi, 39; Moore and Kyle Davis, Pacifica, 37.
Runs – Saenz, 47; Keaton Jones, Laguna Beach, 46; Antoun, 40
Stolen bases – Jakob Brouwer, Liberty Christian, 27; Ryan Cooper, Esperanza, 26; Nick Catalano, Esperanza, 23.
Pitching victories – Henry Owens, Edison, 12; Tyler Brashears, El Toro, 11; several tied with 10.
Strikeouts – Owens, 140; Josh Steele, Eastside Christian, 120; Steve Criss, Oxford Academy, 109.
ERA (minimum 50 innings) – Jones, 0.69; Greg Mahle, Westminster, 0.70 ERA, Brashears, 0.77.
THE TOP 10
The Orange County media poll concluded at the end of the regular season. If the media poll continued through the playoffs, here is how this voter would have voted: 1. Esperanza (22-10, Division 1 semifinalist); 2. Edison (25-4, lost in Division 1 quarterfinals); 3. Mater Dei (24-6, lost in Division 1 quarterfinals); 4. JSerra (24-5, lost in Division 1 second round); 5. El Toro (25-8, lost in Division 1 second round); 6. Mission Viejo (21-13, Division 2 semifinalist); 7. Dana Hills (18-14-1, lost in Division 1 quarterfinals); 8. Beckman (24-5, Division 3 semifinalist); 9. Woodbridge (18-11, Division 3 semifinalist); 10. Orange Lutheran (15-14-1, lost in Division 1 second round).