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Mission League Rings Up Kennedy

Baseball: Notre Dame, taking a cue from Chaminade, knocks off Golden Cougars, 8-6.


GRANADA HILLS — Just when things were rolling along as they were supposed to for the Kennedy High baseball team, they ran into more Mission League pitching.

Two weeks ago it was Chaminade ace Chris Gray who shackled the Golden Cougars, ranked No. 23 in the country in a Baseball America preseason poll.

This time it was Notre Dame relievers Austin Bryant and Phil Polanco who put the handcuffs on Kennedy hitters, holding the Golden Cougars hitless in the final three innings as the Knights rallied to defeat Kennedy, 8-6, Tuesday in a semifinal game of the Gold Division at the Birmingham tournament at Kennedy.

Notre Dame will face San Fernando in the championship game today at 9:30 at Birmingham High.

With Kennedy (8-3) leading, 6-4, Notre Dame reliever Bryant replaced starter Ryan Stonerock to start the fifth and retired the Golden Cougars on eight pitches on two fly balls and a grounder.

After the Knights (6-3) scored four runs in the top of the sixth for an 8-6 lead, Polanco stepped in to close the door on Kennedy.

Polanco, a sophomore right-hander, faced eight batters in the final two innings, walked two and struck out two.

"That last guy looked really good," Kennedy Coach Manny Alvarado said. "And I understand he's just a sophomore? He was impressive."

Said Palanco after picking up his first save: "I felt really good going in [after] I struck out the first batter."

Kennedy, which had won seven consecutive since losing to Chaminade, parlayed six Notre Dame errors and six hits into a 6-2 lead after four innings.

Sean Hanrahan's two-run home run in the fifth cut Kennedy's lead to 6-4.

Notre Dame started the sixth with four consecutive hits to claim a 7-6 lead and chased starter Tim Arroyo (0-2), who also took the loss against Chaminade.

J.P. Prepuk's liner up the middle scored John Puccinelli and Kevin Jerkens for the tying and go-ahead runs. Jorge Piedra singled to left to drive in Prepuk with the Knights' fourth run of the inning.

Notre Dame's Adam Boyd went three for three and scored twice.

San Fernando 9, Poly 8--The Tigers, held scoreless for two innings by Parrots relief pitcher Jaron Brignac (1-1), scored twice in the eighth inning on a pair of singles and three walks.

Adrian Rizzo (1-0) pitched three innings in relief of Jorge Rocha. San Fernando (8-3) got a two-run home run from Tony Cardenas.

Sal Trujillo homered for Poly (5-6). Manny Flores and Johnny Manuel each drove in two runs with two hits.

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