Despite the absence of leading hitter Josh Hochgesang from the starting lineup, Sunny Hills got plenty of help from Scott Warkentin in its 10-5 upset of Tustin in the opening round of the Southern Section Division II baseball playoffs Friday at Tustin High.
With Hochgesang, who batted .507 and hit 10 home runs in the regular season, limited to a pinch-runner because of tendinitis in his throwing arm, Warkentin came through with a home run and four runs batted in.
Warkentin, who replaced Hochgesang at shortstop, hit a two-run shot in the second inning as Sunny Hills rallied from an early deficit and handed Tustin its quickest exit from the playoffs in seven years.
"We wanted to have some fun and win this one for Josh," Warkentin said.
The victory puts Sunny Hills (20-7), the No. 2 entry from the Freeway League, into Tuesday's second round against Upland, which beat Century League-champion Canyon.
Warkentin's homer to right-center highlighted a three-run rally with two outs in the second as the Lancers wiped out a 3-1 deficit and took a 4-3 lead. They never trailed again.
Tustin cut the lead to 5-4 when Rick Gonzalez scored on a ground out by Rudy Aguilera in the third, but Sunny Hills scored a twice in the fourth on RBI singles by pitcher Greg Garand and Mike McCue, who went three for five and scored two runs. Warkentin's two-run single capped a three-run seventh to seal it.
Garand (8-1) got the victory. Tustin's Jason Milliman (8-1) suffered his first loss of the season.
The Tillers, the Golden West League champs, end the season 19-6-1.