San Pedro's Nico Padovan is congratulated after scoring the go-ahead… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
"Living on the Edge," by Aerosmith should be the theme song for the San Pedro High baseball team, which has won 19 consecutive games since a 4-8 start, including seven one-run decisions.
The latest triumph, 1-0 over Granada Hills Kennedy on Friday in a City Section Division 1 quarterfinal playoff game, featured a controversial umpire's reversal in the sixth inning that wiped out a potential tying run for Kennedy.
"I guess God's behind us," senior pitcher Jesse Betancourt said.
Betancourt, who's 5 feet 3, 136 pounds, baffled Kennedy batters from start to finish, throwing a two-hitter while striking out eight and walking one.
"He showed a lot of composure and made the big pitches when he had to," San Pedro Coach Bob Ramirez said.
San Pedro (23-8) scored the game's only run off Kennedy pitcher Pablo Gonzalez on back-to-back doubles in the fifth inning by Nico Padovan and Michael Samperio.
Kennedy (17-9) thought it had tied the game with two outs in the sixth on a two-strike RBI double by Chris Mallon down the left-field line. Third-base umpire Johnny Johnson signaled fair ball.
Kennedy fans were celebrating when Ramirez came out of the dugout to appeal. There were four umpires at the game. Johnson consulted with the home-plate umpire, then emphatically announced on the field the ball was foul. Mallon came back to the plate and struck out.
"You could see it was foul," Ramirez said. "My third baseman said, 'Coach, I don't lie. It was foul.'"
Said Mallon: "It's part of baseball. You don't have replays. It's his call. He made it."
San Pedro advances to play Woodland Hills El Camino Real in Wednesday's 6 p.m. semifinal game at USC. San Fernando will play Chatsworth at 3 p.m. San Pedro is the last non-San Fernando Valley team to win the Division I title — in 1992.
No. 1 Orange Lutheran falls
In the Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals, Valencia West Ranch upset No. 1-seeded Orange Lutheran, 5-4. Freshman Jagger Rusconi hit a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning.
West Ranch will play Corona in Tuesday's semifinals. Corona defeated Placentia El Dorado, 7-4. Santa Ana Mater Dei defeated Anaheim Esperanza, 5-2. Newbury Park defeated Saugus, 7-3.