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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

El Camino Real Wins Without High Drama

City baseball: Conquistadores belt four two-run homers to easily defeat No. 3-seeded San Pedro, 8-2, in the quarterfinals.

May 31, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

This time, there was no comeback for El Camino Real High.

This time, one wasn't necessary.

The Conquistadores won the hard way in a first-round squeaker last week, but they had no problems in an 8-2 victory over San Pedro in a City Championship baseball quarterfinal Tuesday at Harbor College.

The game was technically an upset--San Pedro was seeded No. 3 while the Conquistadores were No. 6--but El Camino Real dominated, smacking four two-run home runs and never fretting.

Jason Kort and Mike Leduc each hit two-run blasts in the fourth inning to give El Camino Real an 8-1 lead and set up a semifinal Thursday against No. 2-seeded Roosevelt at Crystal Springs Field in Griffith Park.

This game was markedly different than the Conquistadores' 7-6, first-round victory over Sylmar, which required seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Their biggest problem, besides staying awake, against San Pedro?

Too many homers, said Coach Bob Ganssle.

"We're hitting too many long balls and not enough singles," Ganssle said. "I'd like to see a few more timely singles. We're stranding too many runners."

The Conquistadores (20-8) left 10 runners on base, stranding runners at second in four innings.

But home runs, even if they come with the help of a friendly wind, have a way of covering up comparatively trivial mistakes.

The victory also helped erase painful playoff memories of a year ago, when El Camino Real squandered a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning and lost to Poly in the quarterfinals, 4-3.

"We knew the quarterfinals were going to be tough, especially after last year," Kort said. "That was tough."

With the exception of the bottom of the first inning, Tuesday was a breeze.

El Camino Real starter Nick Gomez was chased after one-third of an inning, surrendering two singles, two walks and a run. But Beau Savage (2-0) clamped down, allowing three hits and no runs in 3 2/3 innings.

"Savage was strong," Ganssle said. "He's going to be critical for us. He's got to keep it going for us."

Greg Acheteal (8-4) is expected to pitch against Roosevelt.

Conor Jackson hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Sean McElroy added one in the third for a 4-1 lead.

The loss completed a strange season for San Pedro (17-11), which did not play a game on its campus field because of renovations.

Still, San Pedro Coach Jerry Lovarov knew why El Camino Real was victorious.

"With the wind blowing [out], they got the ball up in the air," he said. "That was the difference in the game. They're a good team. They play in a tough league up there."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL PLAYOFFS

SOUTHERN SECTION

Semifinals

Division IV

Notre Dame 8, Ridgecrest Burroughs 5 (8 innings)

Division V

Riverside Woodcrest Christian 2, St. Bonaventure 0

Carpinteria 7, Village Christian 6

Division VI

Grace Brethren 11, Rio Hondo Prep 3

*

CITY SECTION

Quarterfinals

City Championship

Kennedy 11, Chatsworth 4

El Camino Real 8, San Pedro 2

Banning 4, San Fernando 3

Roosevelt 7, Poly 2

City Invitational

University 7, North Hollywood 3

Van Nuys 4, Bell 3

Narbonne at Monroe, 3 p.m. today

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