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Owens, Edison stunned by loss in quarterfinals
LAKEWOOD - Henry Owens walked off the mound after the top of the sixth inning Friday, shook his head and raised his hands as he headed toward the dugout.
It was that kind of frustrating afternoon for the big left-hander and the top-seeded team in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
Lakewood became the first team to get a hit off Owens this postseason and didn't stop there. The host Lancers strung together a few hard hits in the third and used some creativity in the sixth to post a 3-1 victory.
It was first loss of the season for Owens (12-1), who threw a no-hitter in the first round and two hitless innings of relief in the second round Tuesday.
"We were very confident that we'd get a hit against him," Lakewood coach Spud O'Neil said of the 6-foot-7 senior, expected to a high draft pick in upcoming amateur draft.
"(He's) a great pitcher. We prepared the last two days. We threw every left-hander who was on campus and put them up about half-way to the plate (against our hitters)."
Lakewood (29-4-1) collected its first hits against Owens in the third. Jimmy Gosano led off with a sharp single to left. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a double down the left field line by J.P. Yakel, the Lancers' No. 9 hitter in the order. Jonathan Pasillas followed with a double to the left field gap to make it 2-0.
Gosano said he hit a fastball by Owens.
"We just trying to have good approaches (at the plate) and trying to sit on his fastball," he said.
Edison (25-4) trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the sixth on a two-out single by sophomore Jake Lesinski. But in the bottom of the sixth, Lakewood tacked on a run on a two-out squeeze bunt by Gosano.
The Chargers threatened in the seventh, putting runners at first and second with one out. But right-hander Shane Watson (10-2) retired the next two batters for the complete-game victory.
Watson, a junior, allowed four singles, stuck out three and walked three.
Owens allowed four hits, struck out 11 and walked three.
Edison coach Steve Lambright said Owens hasn't been his sharpest coming off relief appearances this season. "He's a power pitcher but they put some good swings (on Owens)," Lambright said. "They outplayed us."
Lambright was visibly upset prior to the final out. Watson and Lakewood tried to fool Edison by faking an errant pickoff toss to second, a play the Lancers call "Hollywood."
During the theatrics, it appeared as if a second ball surfaced in right center field. O'Neil explained that a coach told him that one of his players had taken off some tape from his wrist and put it in his pocket.
"It's not part of the play," O'Neil said of the tape. "We would not ever do that as far as a trick play."
Said Owens, "Lakewood is a good ball team. We showed class and they didn't."
Lakewood advances to play J.W. North, a 6-2 winner against Dana Hills, in the semifinals Tuesday at Blair Field. Lesinski went 2 for 3 while Edison's Timmy Lopes and Jon Torres added the other hits.