Simi Valley High School, the top-ranked prep baseball team in the country according to Collegiate Baseball, lost, 6-5, to Anaheim Esperanza in semifinal action of the Southern Section 4-A baseball playoffs Tuesday at Cal State Fullerton.
Esperanza shortstop Tom Redington hit a two-run homer with two out in the bottom of the sixth inning to cap the Aztecs' come-from-behind victory. Esperanza (24-3-1) rallied from 4-0 and 5-4 deficits and gained its first-ever berth in a baseball championship game.
Esperanza faces Fontana, a 1-0 winner over Placentia El Dorado, Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
Simi Valley (26-4) had won 19 straight games going into the 4-A semifinal and was top seeded.
With the score tied, 4-4, in the top of the sixth inning, Simi Valley's Duane Mulville homered to left to make it 5-4.
That set the stage for Redington, a junior, who hit his ninth homer of the season. Esperanza pitcher Tim MacNeil (8-0) went the distance, giving up seven hits. Simi Valley ace Scott Radinsky left in the fourth inning. Radinsky (14-1) had 30 strikeouts in 20 playoff innings going into Tuesday's game. Radinsky had three strikeouts Tuesday.
Fontana advanced thanks to Charlie Solano, whose seventh-inning single drove home Jose Larraga from second base for the game's only run.
In the 3-A division, Anaheim Western defeated El Segundo, 7-1, at Glover Stadium in Anaheim.
Pitcher Rich Lodding allowed just one hit, a chopper through the infield, for Western (26-4). El Segundo finished 26-6-1.
Designated hitter Mark Tranberg and third baseman Dave Tellers hit back-to-back solo home runs in the fifth inning.
In the other 3-A semifinal, Rio Mesa of Oxnard used a 15-hit attack to beat Lompoc, 11-1, in a rematch of last season's championship game.
Rio Mesa first baseman Sean Luft was 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs. Luft had an RBI triple in the first inning and a three-run homer in the sixth.
Artesia, behind Gunnar Sedborg's four-hit shutout pitching, defeated Mission Viejo, 5-0, in a 2-A semifinal game at UC Irvine. Artesia (21-7) plays Saugus, which beat Monclair, 6-3, in 10 innings.
In the 1-A division, Covina Gladstone beat Long Beach St. Anthony, 6-2, in eight innings at Blair Field in Long Beach. Baldwin Park beat St. Bernard, 11-3, in the other 1-A game.
Gladstone, twice a loser to Baldwin Park in Montview League play this season, faces the Braves for the championship Saturday.
With the game tied, 2-2, in the top of the eighth, Gladstone's Oscar Marlen hit a two-run single to key a four-run inning.
Amador Sanchez, Scott Robles and Rich Castillo had RBI singles in the third inning in Baldwin Park's victory at Citrus College.
In Small Schools action, Burbank Providence beat Windward, 24-6, and will face Temecula Linfield Christian, which beat Pasadena Poly, 13-8, in the championship Friday.