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Offended Highland Plays Its Card Right in Romp

High school baseball: Bulldogs, upset at receiving wild-card game, take it out on Channel Islands, 10-0.


PALMDALE — OK, so maybe Highland High did deserve a day off.

Angered at being placed in a wild-card game by the Southern Section, the Bulldogs responded with a short and sweet RSVP, downing Channel Islands, 10-0, in the Division I baseball playoffs Tuesday at Highland.

Daniel Champieux hit a three-run home run in the first inning, the Bulldogs collected nine hits and the game was halted after 4 1/2 innings because of the 10-run rule.

Any questions?

"We still feel the [Southern Section] doesn't give teams here in the Antelope Valley enough respect," Highland Coach Mike Van Cheri said. "I think the guys had that in the back of their minds."

All nine batters reached base for Highland (20-6), which had four extra-base hits and was the recipient of five walks.

Champieux, hobbled by a knee injury during mid-season, hit his eighth home run and also drove in a run on a fielder's choice in the third inning.

"It's a shame we didn't have him all year," Van Cheri said of Champieux, who sat out nearly three weeks. "He'd have put up numbers like [outfielder Jason] Kubel."

Kubel, who hit three home runs last week, drew two walks and had a run-scoring single in the fourth to give the Bulldogs a 9-0 lead.

Channel Islands (13-12-1) pitched carefully to Kubel, who said the Bulldogs were properly motivated. Highland, which finished a game behind Palmdale in the Golden League, was one of only two second-place teams forced to play Division I wild-card games.

"I didn't think we'd have a wild-card game with our overall record and the way we've played this year," Kubel said. "But we played like it was a regular first- or second-round game."

Tom Gonzales (7-2), demoted to the bullpen last week because of late-season inconsistency, allowed two hits, struck out six and walked four, allowing the Bulldogs to advance to the first round Friday at Lakewood.

"He redeemed himself today," Kubel said.

Highland ace Matt Parris (8-2) will start against No. 4-seeded Lakewood, the Moore League champion.

"We know they're an established baseball program," Van Cheri said. "We're still trying to build ours. If we can come up with a good showing, that'll go a long way toward getting respect."

Channel Islands, which finished third in the Pacific View League, won three of its last four regular-season games and defeated Camarillo (22-6) last Thursday, 6-5, with a seventh-inning rally.

But the Raiders got only one runner past second base and committed three errors Tuesday.

"Our product today was not very good," Coach Al Tarazon said. "[Highland] was a big part of it."

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