Once known for its powerful basketball teams in the 1990s, Glendora High can now boast about having perhaps the best baseball team in Southern California after the Tartans won their first Southern Section Division 2 championship with a 10-3 victory over Yucaipa on Saturday at The Diamond at Lake Elsinore.
FOR THE RECORD:
High school baseball: In the Southern Section baseball roundup in Sunday's Sports section, the nickname for the Glendora High School team was incorrect. It is the Tartans, not the Tartars. —
"I had confidence they'd come in and play to their abilities," Coach Dan Henley said. "Today was very special."
From hitting to pitching to playing error-free defense, Glendora (27-2-1) did it all. A three-run fourth inning knocked out Yucaipa pitcher Taijuan Walker, a possible first-round major league draft pick who walked four in three innings and simply didn't have the same form that he had shown during a dominant playoff run.
Joseph Woodward, Clinton Harwick, John Alexander, Kyle Layton and Brennan Salgado all had two hits in supporting UCLA-bound pitcher Adam Plutko (10-1), who gave up five hits, struck out three and walked two in a complete game.
Afterward, the dogpile saw catcher Joseph Winterburn pull down the 6-foot-3 Plutko, then others piled on.
"I got crushed at the bottom," Plutko said. "I was yelling for guys to get off me. I couldn't breathe."
Said Henley: "To get to this moment and play your best game at this time of the year, it's special."
Junior pitcher Freddy Sepulveda of Huntington Beach Ocean View had shoulder surgery in January to shave a bone that was affecting his rotator cuff. He wasn't supposed to pitch this season. But there he was, pitching three shutout innings of relief to save a 2-1 victory over La Verne Bonita in the Division 3 championship game.
"I felt I was ready to go," said Sepulveda, who won two playoff games and saved two others in helping Ocean View (22-9) win its third section title.
Ocean View scored runs in the second and third innings. Blake Hitchcock and Timothy Robinson hit singles in the second, with Robinson scoring on a groundout. In the third, Colton Johnson led off with a triple and scored on a groundout.
Junior pitcher Blake Walker started and gave up two hits in four innings. Sepulveda gave up two hits in three innings. They combined for one walk.
"They're both a potent combination," Coach Shane Borowski said.
The wizardry of shortstop Scotty Burcham, the precision pitching of Nick Baker and the power of Ryan Garvey propelled Palm Desert to its first Southern Section championship, a 9-0 victory over Torrance in the Division 4 final.
Burcham, a junior, had seven assists, including a bare-handed play in which he charged the ball and threw out the runner at first. His expert fielding, combined with five errors by Torrance, was a major factor in the game. Baker (12-2) gave up four hits, walked none and struck out one. Garvey hit two doubles.
"Scotty had numerous plays that were amazing," Baker said.
Palm Desert (26-5) broke open a 2-0 game with three runs in the sixth and four runs in the seventh. Austin Sylvester and David Schuknecht each hit two-run singles in the seventh. It was the 21st victory in the last 22 games for the surging Aztecs, who used a strong nonleague schedule, including an appearance in the National Classic, to prepare for their championship run.