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Tigers Look Sharp In Playoff Opener PDF Print E-mail
Written by MIKE TERRY/SFVS   
Thursday, 24 May 2012 03:23

Timely Hits, Three Double Plays Back Shutout Pitching Of Martinez

Playing Hardball -- San Fernando right-hander Kevin Martinez was in command against Granada Hills, scattering six hits and shutting out the Highlanders in the first round of the City Section Division I playoffs.

San Fernando opened the postseason defense of its City Section title with all the elements in place needed to repeat as Division I champion.

Those elements – timely hitting, strong pitching and solid defense – were too much for visiting Granada Hills, which lost to San Fernando, 3-0, in a first round game on Tuesday, May 22.

Right-hander Kevin Martinez threw 84 economical pitches in scattering six hits and pitching a complete game for the third seed Tigers (27-5). His teammates played airtight behind him, turning three double plays against the Highlanders, the last one in the seventh with runners on first and third to end the game.

"I was a little tired in the seventh," said Martinez, who walked one and had one strikeout. "But I knew my defense had everything so I just threw it in there.

"I'm a 'contact pitcher so I have to trust my defense. I just kept throwing ground balls and ground balls, and they kept picking them up. Getting all those double plays makes me trust them even more."

Willie Vazquez provided the only run Martinez needed with an RBI single in the first, scoring Carlos Robles who reached first on a fielder's choice and stole second with two out.

Vazquez said getting the early run helped Martinez relax a bit on the mound. "After getting that run he looked more confident out there," he said.

But San Fernando added insurance runs. In the third, Fred Flores led off with a single to center, was bunted over to second, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a hit to center by Robles. And in the fifth, Isaac Dominguez drilled a one-out single to center to plate Robert Berumen.

"Small ball" was the dominant offensive tactic for San Fernando. The Tigers had two bunt singles among their seven hits, and were not afraid to try and force Granada Hills to make plays. There was a squeeze attempt in the third by Steven Campos despite having two strikes on him (the bunt try did go foul and Campos officially struck out), and two runners in the fifth were thrown out trying to steal.

"That's our style of baseball, that's Tigers' baseball," Coach Armando Gomez said. "We need to continue to do that."

Fourteenth seed Granada Hills (17-17) – which beat Los Angeles Hamilton in a Wild Card game on Friday, May 18, for the right to play San Fernando – got a credible performance from lefthander Edgar Rosales, who pitched six innings and gave up all three runs and seven hits.

It wasn't as if the Tigers pounded him all over the park. Rosales, who threw 91 pitches, struck out five – three of those being Martinez – and walked only one.

He simply got no help from the Highlanders on offense. Granada only had two runners in scoring position. All three double plays – in the third, sixth and seventh – ended innings.

"Those plays all came at the wrong time," Coach Steve Thompson said. "We did not get the timely hits we needed to compete in this game. They did, and hat's off to them.

"They are a very good team, no question about it, and a force to be reckoned with. They look very similar to last year's [title] team. I'm sure the pitching is as good as last year, but I also haven't seen (No.1 pitcher) Alonzo Garcia pitch yet, and I understand he is very good. And nothing against Kevin; he did a tremendous job today, really kept us off balance, and did a great job."

San Fernando will host Birmingham today, May 24, in the quarterfinals. The Patriots, seeded 11th, upset sixth seed Pacific Palisades, 6-0, to advance.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 May 2012 07:18