It's not easy being the No. 1 team in the region ... and the state
Bishop Amat could very well be ranked No. 1 when the season ends. But like baseball teams at every level, the Lancers are beatable. Bishop Amat begins the week with a 4-2 record, the losses coming against San Luis Obispo and Moreno Valley Valley View.
Bishop Amat Coach Ken Kendrena said his players have not stumbled trying to live up to expectations.
"We just haven't been on all cylinders," said Kendrena, a Bishop Amat graduate who was an All-American pitcher at Cal State Northridge in 1991.
"We've had a couple kids that have been in the basketball playoffs, and some others that have been hurt.
"The last few years, we have been slow starters. So hopefully it builds to what it always has. One good thing about losing is that you learn you're not invincible."
Bishop Amat features five players who have already signed with NCAA Division I schools. Adam Simon, a pitcher and outfielder, has signed with UCLA, and shortstop Mike Lange, a four-year starter, is bound for Santa Clara. Pitcher and first baseman Mark Esparza and catcher Jordan Swaydan, a transfer from La Verne Damien, will go to San Diego State, and second baseman David Pierson to St. Mary's.
Pierson and pitcher Anthony Soto are now done with basketball, but outfielder Alex Ramos, who hit a home run in last season's section championship game at Dodger Stadium, and pitcher and third baseman Anthony Hidalgo remain limited because of arm problems. Bishop Amat defeated Yucaipa, 16-5, Friday and plays Fontana Kaiser on Tuesday in its final game in the Chino tournament. Saturday, the Lancers play a doubleheader at No. 18-ranked Newhall Hart.
"If there's a loss at the end of the year, you take it a lot different than when it happens early," Kendrena said. "Right now, it just shows that you have to keep working, and this is a special group that has always done that."
Senior third baseman Kiel Fisher led Riverside Poly (5-0) to the North Orange County tournament championship. He hit five home runs, drove in 10 runs and pitched in four games. Poly plays Santa Ana Mater Dei (4-1) today at 4 p.m. at Cal State Fullerton....
Mater Dei avenged its only loss by beating La Habra Sonora, 5-0, in the championship game of the Newport Elks tournament. Warren Chenier threw a three-hitter.... Junior shortstop Josh Satin of North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (4-1) was one of the top hitters in the San Fernando Valley tournament. He was nine for 17, including four home runs, a triple, double and 10 runs batted in....
Arcadia won the Blue Division championship of the El Segundo tournament with a 6-4, eight-inning victory over Encino Crespi. Sophomore Trevor Plouffe of Crespi was selected the tournament's top pitcher after throwing consecutive shutouts.... Lakewood (5-0) won the Loara tournament championship with a 6-4 victory over Dana Hills....Freshman right-hander Andy Kellogg of Newbury Park is 2-0, with 16 strikeouts in 11 innings, and has allowed only one earned run....
Senior right-hander Eddie Baeza of Sun Valley Poly was considered to be among the best pitchers in the City Section, and he's living up to expectations. He has thrown two five-inning shutouts, giving up one hit while striking out 22 and walking one....The West Valley League has stamped itself as the toughest in the City Section, with Chatsworth (5-0), Van Nuys Birmingham (5-0) and Reseda Cleveland (5-0) off to perfect starts.