Orange County: Preview of SS baseball semifinals

Here is a look at Southern Section Championship baseball semifinal games on Tuesday that include Orange County teams.


Esperanza (22-10) vs. Long Beach Wilson (26-6) at Blair Field, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

The last time Esperanza reached the semifinals was 2007 when it lost to ... Wilson. The Aztecs are coming off a 5-1 upset of second-seeded Mater Dei after outscoring their first two opponents, 30-11. The Century League champion hit only three home runs in its first 29 games, but have hit four during the playoffs. Nick Catalano (.396, 35 runs, 19 RBIs) has three homers and Ryan Cooper (.427, 31 runs, 24 RBIs) has two. Austin Pettibone (8-4, 2.24 ERA) and Scott Mason (5-0, 2.45 ERA) lead the pitching staff. Wilson, which finished second in the Moore League to another semifinalist, Lakewood, is led by Daniel DeWolf).338, 24 runs, 15 RBIs), Stefan Miladanovich (.309, 14 runs, 20 RBIs), as well as pitcher Chase Dejong (10-2, 1.41 ERA), who has been the winner in all three playoff games, and closer Ty Provencher 1.95 ERA), who committed to Long Beach State. Although Wilson plays some of its home games at Blair Field, Esperanza will be the home team. The winner will play at Dodger Stadium on Friday, 7:30 p.m., against the winner of 4 p.m. game between Lakewood and Riverside North.


No. 4 Santa Barbara (23-6) at Mission Viejo (21-13), Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Santa Barbara is used to scoring a lot of runs. The Gauchos average 6.8 runs per game, and scored seven in its two most recent playoff victories. Five players have at least 20 RBIs in an offense led by Collin Dewell (.391, 39 runs 33 RBIs) and Spencer Fraker (.359, 37 runs, 20 RBIs). Danny Zandona (10-1, 1.29 ERA) leads the Santa Barbara mound corps, which carries a collective 2.33 ERA. He has appeared in all three playoff games. Mission has only one player with as many as 20 RBIs, Austin Saenz (.495, 44 runs, 25 RBIs), but the Diablos are also averaging more than six runs per game. The winner will play Thursday, 7:30 p.m., at Dodger Stadium against the winner of Etiwanda at No. 2 Arcadia.


No. 1 Bonita (27-4) at No. 4 Beckman (23-6), Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Chances are that there won't be very many runs scored in this game. In the playoffs, the pitching of both teams has been excellent. Bonita pitcher Justin Garza is 13-0 following a 7-0 shutout of San Gorgonio. The Bearcats, who reached the section finals a year ago only to lose to Ocean View, have allowed only one run in the playoffs, a 5-1 victory over Northwood. Beckman has been just as impressive, having allowed only one run in a 4-1 victory over Montebello. Beckman's offense has mustered only three runs in the playoffs for pitcher James Kaprielian (10-1) but he responded with 1-0 and 2-0 shutouts, including a one-hitter in the first round against Downey. The Patriots have seven shutouts in the last 12 games.

Woodbridge (18-11) at Culver City (16-12-1), Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Culver City lost out on the Ocean League title because it lost its last two games in league to Santa Monica, but has new life in the playoffs. The Centaurs, behind pitcher Lucas O'Connor, are coming off a 4-1 victory over University, a team that Woodbridge defeated 2-1, 7-4 and 6-5 during Pacific Coast League play. Brandon Horth (.449, 24 runs, 25 RBIs) leads the Woodbridge offense, and as a pitcher he is 6-3 with a 0.93 earned-run average. The Culver City offense is led by Rodney Bradley (.384, 32 runs, 15 RBIs) and Tyler Adkison (.408, 26 runs, 20 RBIs).


No. 4 Bishop Union (20-2) at No. 1 Oxford Academy (25-2), Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Oxford, a two-time defending champion, is led offensively by Lucas Sardo (.484, 29 runs, 34 RBIs) and Steve Criss (.360, 30 runs, 26 RBIs). Criss (10-0, 1.03 ERA) and Daniel Lucak (6-1, 2.52 ERA) lead the defense. Bishop has won 13 in a row since losing back-to-back games. In that span, eight times the Broncos have held opponents to two runs or less, and 11 times three runs or less. The winner plays Saturday, 3:30 p.m., at UC Riverside against the winner of No. 3 Lancaster Desert Christian at No. 2 Pasadena Poly.