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SAM GANGWER, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Edison players run onto the field to celebrate beating Mater Dei, 2-1, in a CIF-SS Division I semifinal game Tuesday night at Blair Field in Long Beach. The Chargers earned a spot in Saturday's final at Angel Stadium.

Edison races past Mater Dei and into final

Edison races past Mater Dei and into final

OCVarsity.com
:
The Chargers score in bottom of the seventh to win, 2-1, and reach the Division I title game.

LONG BEACH - Edison's Kyle Jones approached the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the winning run on third base, and with a plan.

"I knew their pitcher was going to be around the strike zone," Jones said. "If he came inside or around the plate, I just wanted to put the bat on the ball."

The first pitch the Edison junior saw from Mater Dei pitcher Matt Blanchard was a ball around the plate, and Jones hit it up the middle past Blanchard and diving shortstop Derek Campbell. That sent home Ryan Little with the run that gave Edison a 2-1 victory over Mater Dei in a CIF-SS Division I semifinal Tuesday at Blair Field.

The Chargers (23-5) will play Capistrano Valley (25-6) in the Division I final at Angel Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Edison won the Division II championship in 2001, its most-recent baseball final.

Capistrano Valley beat Riverside Poly, 1-0, in the other half of Tuesday's Division I semifinals doubleheader at Blair.

With the score tied, 1-1, Little led off the seventh inning with a walk. Tanner Phillips walked, and a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Miller moved Little to third and Phillips to second.

After a strikeout for the second out, Jones followed with his hit.

Henry Owens, a 6-foot-5 sophomore left-hander, pitched a complete game for Edison to improve to 9-1. He went into the game with a 1.08 earned-run average. Owens gave up five hits and the run, which was unearned, and struck out 10 while walking two.

Owens' curveball was his most impressive pitch, though he said it took time for him to get it going.

"Early in the game, I didn't have it," Owens said. "But I had to find it early."

Mater Dei (24-6) finally got a run in the sixth inning. With two outs, Jacob Medina singled and went to second on a single by pinch-hitter A.J. Roth. Ryan Teel then hit a hard grounder that skipped off of the glove of Edison third baseman Miller as he attempted a backhanded grab, a tough play ruled as an error, and Medina scored to tie it, 1-1.

Edison had taken a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Chris Czerniachowski singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a two-out single by Little.

Mater Dei starting pitcher Ian McCarthy was sharp. He pitched 6 1/3 innings, gave up four hits and two earned runs and struck out four while walking two.

It was a tough game on the nerves for both teams, but Jones said Edison wouldn't have it any other way.

"We love the competitiveness of this kind of game," he said.

Edison coach Steve Lambright said the Chargers are ready to embrace the opportunity to play in the championship game at the big stadium.

"These kids have done everything asked of them since Day One," Lambright said. "We told them that somewhere down the line, it was going to pay off."

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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