Raiders knocked out of playoffs by San Dimas

SAN DIMAS – It was just a day where nothing went the way of the Sonora baseball team in a 19-5 loss to San Dimas in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs, Friday afternoon at San Dimas High.

SHS_BGHS Baseball__009Aided by a couple errors, the Saints (26-6) put up 12 runs on 11 hits in the third inning alone and chased Raiders starting pitcher JP Sarro after just two-and-one-third innings of work. San Dimas led 14-2 after three innings.

“Today just wasn’t our day,” said Pat Tellers, Sonora head coach. “That happened to be the worst inning we had all year and we tell these guys that in the playoffs you have to be flawless. It just caved in on us and once you give up that many it’s hard to come back.”

In that third inning, the first six Saints reached base safely. In the fifth inning, San Dimas saw its first five batters reach base safely en route to putting up its final five runs.

With the 12-run lead, Jimmy Lambert (13-1) cruised through five innings of work, allowing five runs, on 10 hits while striking out four batters.

AJ Oviedo led the Raiders with three hits and scored three runs, two on singles by Brandon Chandler.

“In the second spot, my main job is to try to advance the guy in front of me,” Oviedo said. “But we just needed to get on base and let our big guns, [Andrew] Piraino and Chandler, do their job.”

It wasn’t a bad day for the top four batters in the order, which went a combined 8-for-13 and scored four of the Raiders five runs on the afternoon.

But the hits came from all nine spots in the order for San Dimas, which ended up matching its run total with 19 hits.

Ricky Ramirez led the way for the Saints with three hits and four RBI, while Josh Avila added two hits and drove in four runs.

Logan Murratalla also collected three hits and drove in three runs.

Despite the final result, Sonora appeared poised to stay in step with San Dimas through the first two innings.

With one out in the first inning, San Dimas center fielder Elias Orona misplayed a line drive by Andrew Piraino, which allowed Oviedo to score from first base for a 1-0 lead.

Then in the top of the third inning, down by one run, Chandler knocked in Oviedo with a two-out base hit to tie the score at 2-2.

“We knew Lambert was going to be around the plate, he throws a lot of strikes and likes to jump ahead,” Tellers said. “Through the first five at bats, I thought our guys saw the ball really well, so I thought things could get interesting, but we still needed to play defense. We started making mistakes right away though and you need to make plays this deep in the playoffs.”

The wheels fell off for Sonora in the third inning. San Dimas sent 17 batters to the plate, scoring 12 runs on 11 hits with the help of three Raider errors. After the dust settled, the Saints were up 14-2.

“When you get this deep in the playoffs, as our coaches say, you need to play good defense and today we didn’t do that,” Oviedo said. “We had a lot of mental mistakes on plays we’ve made all season, we just didn’t have it today.”

A pair of spectacular defensive plays by shortstop Gavin Blodgett and third baseman Henry Bustamante kept San Dimas quiet in the fourth inning.

Sonora scored its final three runs in the fifth inning on a wild pitch and back-to-back RBI singles by Chandler and Gavin Blodgett.

Sarro (9-2) took the loss, giving up 12 total runs (three earned runs) on 10 hits.

“The guys didn’t die, we were happy with the fact that they fought,” Tellers said. “We got a few more runs to try to make it respectable, but San Dimas is a heck of a club with the way they swung the bat.”

San Dimas moves on to the semifinals to take on No. 1 Oaks Christian.

Sonora’s season ends at 23-7, which fulfills Tellers’ goal of accomplishing a 20-win season, but leaves the Raiders two games short of their ultimate goal of a CIF Championship.

“We had a great season and won a league title,” Oviedo said. “You never want to go out, you want to win a CIF title, but only one team can do that. We ran into a great team, everything they hit fell and I know they’ll challenge Oaks Christian. They have a good shot.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.