TIME TO CELEBRATE: El Toro players celebrate near the pitcher's mound after wrapping up their 7-0 victory over Redlands East Valley in the Division II championship game.

Young El Toro doesn't wait, grabs Division II title

Young El Toro doesn't wait, grabs Division II title
Chargers make this their season, winning 7-0 behind Ziegler's shutout.

LOS ANGELES With just three seniors in the starting lineup, El Toro High's baseball team should be good next year. The Chargers can expect an invitation to the National Classic tournament and high positions in county and perhaps even state and national rankings.

The Chargers weren't so bad this year, either.

El Toro won its first CIF-Southern Section baseball championship by defeating Redlands East Valley, 7-0, in the Division II final Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.

Junior left-hander Tyler Zeigler pitched the shutout — his second and the Chargers' eighth — and only the second time Redlands East Valley was shut out in 30 games. The Chargers (25-7) had ace Chad Thompson, who is 12-3 and also a junior, available for three innings but did not need him.

Andrew Marian drove in three runs with a bases-loaded triple in the top of the seventh inning to make it a relaxed bottom half of the inning for the Chargers, for Zeigler — who gave up four hits, two walks and struck out three to finish 6-2 — and for Coach Mike Gonzales.

“Tyler pitched a great game,” Gonzales said. “He got ahead of the hitters, he threw strikes and we played good defense behind him.”

Mike Barnhill drove in one run for El Toro, and Garrett Donohoe also had an RBI.

The Wildcats (26-4) were averaging seven runs a game.

“But they never played a team like us,” Marian said.

Marian, one of the three senior starters, said camaraderie played a big part in the Chargers' championship season,

“It's chemistry, all the way,” he said. “Everybody on this team loves each other. We're like brothers.”

Marian was not surprised El Toro could lose two of its final three regular-season games, all Sea View League contests, and then go 5-0 in the CIF playoffs.

“We're amazing in tournaments,” he said.

El Toro finished third in the very competitive Loara Tournament in March, and went 5-1 in the equally challenging Anaheim Lions Tournament last month.

After El Toro beat Cypress in the semifinals Tuesday, Gonzales spoke of the Chargers' three keys to victory: good defense; good pitching; and timely hitting. As they did in that 11-1 victory over Cypress, El Toro went 3 for 3 in those categories against Redlands East Valley.

El Toro scored twice in the third inning. With one out, Dillon Penprase walked. Nolan Arenado followed with a sharp ground ball that got through the middle, sending Penprase to second.

Barnhill lined a single to right field, Penprase scoring, and when Redlands East Valley right fielder David Andriese bobbled the ball momentarily, it allowed Arenado to score and make it 2-0.

The Chargers scored two more in the sixth. With Austin Fierro on first base and Trevor Jensen on second, Donohoe singled to left. The ball was bobbled in the outfield allowing Fierro to follow Jensen across the plate to make it 4-0.

Marian capped the scoring with a triple that drove in Arenado, Barnhill and Jenseon.

(See more game stats)

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