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San Fernando Takes Its Time but Clinches Share of Mid-Valley Title, 3-2


Granada Hills High pitcher Eric Harris sounded like a kid who had just been told he had to come in and wash up for supper.

"I want to pitch another five innings," Harris said after pitching all the way in his team's 11-inning, 3-2 loss at San Fernando on Thursday.

Harris said he probably could have pitched into the night.

"The reason I lasted so long was because I was able to keep the ball down," said Harris, the last member of his team to board the bus for the ride home. "I was feeling good."

Harris, in his first game since being called up from the junior varsity, threw an effective split-fingered fastball for most of the game. But one of his pitches stayed up in the strike zone with two out in the 11th, and Robert Chavez jumped on it for a single that scored Randy Guerrero from second with the winning run.

"He threw the wrong pitch to the wrong guy," Chavez said. "It was a perfect pitch--a fastball down the middle. It felt great."

The win assured San Fernando (11-7, 10-4 in league) of at least a share of the Mid-Valley League title with one game remaining. San Fernando will play Tuesday at second-place Birmingham.

San Fernando scored two runs in the first inning when leadoff batter Josh Bergara reached first on second baseman Chris Murphy's error. Guerrero followed with a run-scoring triple and later scored on a single by Andy Kapuscinski.

The Tigers, however, could generate little offense for the next 10 innings as Harris, who allowed nine hits and struck out three, kept them off-balance.

"I was really impressed with him," San Fernando Coach Steve Marden said. "He threw a split-finger, a curve--a whole variety--and he threw them for strikes."

San Fernando pitcher Frank Serna also was impressive for nine innings. He yielded eight hits and struck out two. Granada Hills (10-8, 8-6 in league) scored an unearned run in the fifth inning and tied the game with two out in the seventh when Sean Brown singled home Dean Yoshitani.

Marden replaced Serna in the 10th with Vince Ortega.

"He'd thrown 127 pitches, and we had our stopper in the bullpen," Marden said.

Said Ortega, who recorded his first win: "My curveball wasn't working too good. I thought we were going to play all night."

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