Any high school baseball coach would love to have a pitching staff as deep and talented as the one Bill Gibbons has assembled this season at Ocean View.
But having four capable starters in David Holdridge (7-0), Brett Johnson (4-0), Craig Anderson (4-2) and Brent Knackert (3-1) can make for some stressful decisions come playoff time.
Just ask Gibbons.
"It can be a dilemma," he said. "If you pick the wrong guy and he has a bad day, you can second-guess yourself. It's always a tough decision."
As of Monday night, Gibbons hadn't decided who he would start today when the Seahawks (19-4-1) play Loara (18-9-1) in the second round of the CIF Southern Section 4-A playoffs at Loara High School. But he had narrowed his choices to Holdridge, a junior right-hander with a 1.63 earned-run average and 70 strikeouts, and Knackert, also a right-hander.
Holdridge, who hit a three-run homer to break a 3-3 tie and lift Ocean View to a 6-3, first-round win over Los Altos on Friday, is the Seahawks' ace, but he hasn't pitched in more than a week. Johnson pitched four innings and Anderson pitched three against Los Altos.
If Holdridge or Knackert falters, Gibbons' bullpen is deep.
"I'd rather have more choices than less, because if you get into a game where you need (other pitchers), you've got them," he said.
The Saxons, who needed 14 innings to defeat Servite, 3-2, in the first round, will counter with either Mike Golia, a senior left-hander who threw five innings Friday, right-hander Rich Milo, or lefty Alan Evans.
Loara is led on offense by Brian Roberts (.423, 6 homers, 25 RBIs), Wade Clester (.340, 26 RBIs) and Golia (5 homers, 19 RBIs). No player is batting more than .400 for Ocean View, but the Seahawks, behind Holdridge and Billy Daymude, have seven players hitting better than .300. Ocean View, the Sunset League champion, has won 12 of its last 13 games.
In other 4-A second-round games:
San Gorgonio (18-5) at Esperanza (21-3-1)--The fourth-seeded Aztecs, who opened with a 7-0 victory over Huntington Beach, will start senior left-hander Tim MacNeil (7-0, 1.15 ERA) against the Spartans, who eliminated Hoover in the first round.
Senior right-hander Jeff Burr (10-2) will probably start for San Gorgonio, which is led offensively by 6-4, 220-pound catcher Tony Kounas (.500, 3 homers, 32 RBIs).
Five starters (Kevin Clancy, Andy Escobar, Tom Redington, Emmitt Cohick and Dave Moralez) hit better than .400 during the regular season for the Aztecs. Redington added seven homers, 34 RBIs and 29 runs, and Eric Cox hit five homers and had 32 RBIs.
El Dorado (20-6) at Bishop Amat (15-8-1)--Senior right-hander Jeff Petredes, who hit five homers and had 29 RBIs during the regular season, is expected to start for the Golden Hawks, who defeated North Torrance, 4-1, in the first round.
The Lancers, who beat Riverside Poly Friday, rely on outfielders Mario Torres (.397, 22 RBIs) and Richard Sanchez (.381, 14 RBIs) and shortstop/pitcher Dave Gorman (.379, 14 RBIs).
Lakewood (20-3) at Westminster (16-8)--The second-seeded Lancers, who won nine of 10 one-run decisions in the Moore League, beat Rolling Hills, 2-1, in the first round. Junior right-hander Mike McNary (13-2, 0.81 ERA, 133 strikeouts), who threw a complete-game, two-hitter Friday, will probably start again for Lakewood.
The Lions will probably start freshman left-hander Ryan Klesko (5-1). Shorstop Al Rodriguez led Orange County in stolen bases with 20 and hit .400 with 18 RBIs.
In 3-A second-round games:
Lompoc (16-7) vs. Sonora (25-1) at Fullerton College--The Braves, who have won three Southern Section titles and have reached the championship game three other times under Coach Dan Bodary, defeated San Gabriel, 5-3, in the first round.
Bill Bentley (8-1) or Paul Bommersbach (6-3) will oppose Raider right-hander Brian Needham (8-1). Lompoc's top hitter is catcher Dale Craig (.475 with 3 homers and 26 RBIs).
Top-seeded Sonora, which has won 23 straight games, is led by shortstop Rob Stuart (.412, 6 homers, 25 RBIs, 37 runs), second baseman Mitch Kaylor (5 homers, 32 RBIs, 27 runs) and right fielder Scott Einhorn (32 RBIs, 26 runs).
Canyon (16-8) at Damien (16-7)--The Spartans had to defeat Workman, 4-0, in a wild-card game to advance to the first round, where they upset John W. North, 3-1. Damien's top hitter is Kenny Corn (.440, 16 RBIs), and its top pitcher is Junior Pro (5-3, 1.29 ERA).
The Comanches had 20 runs in their first-round victory over Harvard Friday. Mike Townley and Todd French each had three hits to pace Canyon.
Gahr (21-5) at Fullerton (17-7)--The third-seeded Gladiators, who eliminated Foothill in the first round, are led by Vern Hildebrandt (.448, 14 RBIs), Phil Wang (.440) and Keith Harrison (.400, 18 RBIs). Right-hander Steve Vernola (11-1), who pitched a complete game Friday, is Gahr's top pitcher.
Catcher John Mele hit a three-run homer to lead the Indians to their 3-2 win over Corona in the first round. First baseman Jeff Bailey has hit four homers this year.