May 26, 2024

Corona, Huntington Beach, Harvard-Westlake and Orange Lutheran are so evenly matched that it came as no surprise it would take walk-off hits to decide the winners in semifinal games played hundreds of miles away in Cary, N.C., on Friday.

Down to its final two outs with no runners aboard and trailing by a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, Corona got consecutive hits from Brady Ebel, Seth Hernandez, Josh Springer and Billy Carlson to pull out a 6-5 victory over Huntington Beach to advance to the championship game of the National High School Baseball Invitational. Springer’s RBI single tied it 5-5 and Carlson delivered a walk-off double.

A couple of hours later, Orange Lutheran and Harvard-Westlake went into extra innings before the Lancers got their own walk-off single from pinch-hitter Vinny Hudson in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 3-2 victory.

Corona improved to 17-2. Coach Andy Wise has Hernandez, one of the best pitchers in Southern California, set to pitch Saturday’s title game at 1:15 p.m. PST against Orange Lutheran (18-4).

Corona lost to Orange Lutheran 4-2 last month in the championship game of the Prep Baseball Report preseason tournament. The Panthers have a critical three-game series beginning Monday with Corona Centennial to decide the Big VIII League race, so Wise will need to be careful with his pitching.

Huntington Beach relief pitcher Otto Espinoza limited Corona to one run in four innings going into the seventh before the Panthers finally got to him. Springer and Anthony Murphy each finished with three hits. Trevor Goldenetz had three hits for Huntington Beach, including a two-run double while teammate CJ Weinstein also had a two-run double.

Orange Lutheran was led by Derek Curiel, who went three for three and had an RBI double in the fifth inning and tied the game in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single.

Mater Dei 7, St. John Bosco 2: Brandon Thomas threw six scoreless innings and also contributed two hits for Mater Dei, which helped its playoff chances by taking two of three games from the Braves in the Trinity League.

Santa Margarita 3, JSerra 2: A three-run sixth inning helped the Eagles rally from a 2-0 deficit for the Trinity League victory. Ben Finnegan had a two-run single.

Cleveland 2, Chatsworth 1: Kaeden Riepl struck out six in six innings for Cleveleand and Otish Bush got the save.

Chaminade 9, Birmingham 7: Vinny Van der Wel hit a three-run walk-off home run in the seventh to celebrate senior day at Chaminade. He finished four for four on the day. Nolan Mowry, the son of Birmingham coach Matt Mowry, had three hits for Chaminade.

Calabasas 5, Thousand Oaks 1: Ethan Gibbel threw five innings and Luc Olson got the save for Calabasas.

Westlake 8, Agoura 0: Jesse Beer struck out seven in five scoreless innings for Westlake. Nolan Johnson had two hits and three RBIs while Dillon Marrisett had a home run.

Los Alamitos 7, Edison 0: Ryan Deck threw the complete game, striking out five with no walks. Jake Evans and Cole Belfanti each had two-run singles for Los Alamitos.

Etiwanda 3, Upland 0: Christian Eaton struck out five in a complete game. Al Moreno and Ryan Severns each had two hits.

Villa Park 1, El Modena 0: Aaron Sambath threw five shutout innings for Villa Park.

Hart 7, Castaic 3: Troy Cooper struck out 11 in six innings while allowing one hit.

Saugus 9, Golden Valley 1: Ethan Harris had two hits, including a double, to lead Saugus.

San Dimas 12, West Covina 1: Landon White had five RBIs for San Dimas.

Corona Centennial 6, Eastvale Roosevelt 0: Michael Malki struck out 10 in 5 1/3 innings for Centennial.

Newport Harbor 4, Corona del Mar 3: A passed ball in the seventh gave Newport Harbor a walk-off victory.

Softball

Orange Lutheran 1, JSerra 0: Brianne Weiss (13-1) allowed three hits and struck out 12 for Orange Lutheran. Madelyn Armendariz had an RBI triiple.

Granada Hills 13, Taft 0: Jasmine Soriano had a home run, triple and four RBIs for the Highlanders.

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