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#10 Barons top Lancers for Mesa League baseball title Phillip Brents | Wed, May 26 2010 12:04 AM

While the Bonita Vista Barons may have missed qualifying for the midseason Metro Conference tournament championship game because of a tie against Otay Ranch, Baron head coach Vince Gervais feels his team may have won a bigger prize: the 2010 Mesa League baseball championship title.

"Absolutely," said Gervais after Tuesday's 7-1 victory against visiting Hilltop that gave Bonita Vista undisputed rights to this year's league banner. "This was our first goal in what we wanted to do to better what we did last year - to win league and make a playoff run."

The league title automatically qualifies the Barons for next week's San Diego Section Division I playoffs. Whether Bonita Vista is seeded in the eight-team double-elimination tournament or receives a play-in assignment will be determined at Saturday's section seeding meeting.

Regular season games were scheduled to wrap up Thursday, with play-in games scheduled Tuesday. The double-elimination tournament starts Wednesday, culminating in four divisional championship games at SDSU's Tony Gwynn Stadium the first weekend in June.

Twelve teams will qualify in each of the Division I, Division II and Division III enrollment brackets and 16 teams in Division V. The section will expand its playoffs to include five divisions next year.

The Barons (8-1 in league play, 21-7 overall) wasted little time in making a statement against a Hilltop team that had placed itself in championship contention with a dramatic two-game sweep of defending league champion Otay Ranch the previous week. The hosts batted around in the first inning, with the end result being a quick 5-0 lead.

With the bases loaded, Oli Lopez smacked a two-run single, followed by a run-scoring single by Raymon Campillo and a two-run double by Justin DiStefano.

Hector Montes cracked a solo home run with two outs in the second inning to push the BV lead to 6-0 and the Barons played small ball in the third inning while adding another run on a ground-out.

Handed a commanding 7-0 lead, Taylor Shockey appeared to be breezing until running into some mild problems in the sixth inning. A run-scoring double by Chancellor San Miguel broke up Shockey's shutout bid.

Anthony Olivieri took the mound in relief in the top of the seventh inning but was unable to close out the game as the Lancers (6-3, 14-11) loaded the bases with two outs. In came reliever Pat Schneemann to finally retire the last Hilltop batter on a strikeout, leading to much celebration on the diamond.

Gervais called his team's championship season a culmination of a true team effort.

"We've probably played 14 deep throughout the year which has allowed me to go with the hot hand," Gervais said.

The BV pitching rotation included four starters this season: Troy Cruz, Jesse Hernandez, Alex Quiros and Shockey.

Shockey (3-2) scattered three hits in Tuesday's game while striking out five hitters in six innings.
"That was probably his best game of the year in terms of efficiency," Gervais said in regard to Shockey's performance in the league championship game.

Meanwhile, Hilltop's Miguel Silva (6-3) went the distance in the loss, allowing seven hits.

If the Barons are to top last year's playoff showing, it will have to be something special. Bonita Vista advanced to the Division II semifinals in 2009, falling to Grossmont 8-7.

"Our playoff run is going to be a little different this year because we're in Division I," the BV skipper said. "We made it to the fourth round last year and we'd like to go all the way this year."

The Barons entered the week ranked 10th among section teams, sixth in Division I. Favorites in this year's Division I playoffs include top-ranked Rancho Bernardo, second-ranked La Costa Canyon and fourth-ranked Poway.

But Gervais said his team shouldn't be counted out. "We have a number of players who have tasted success on many teams outside of high school, such as Pony League and Little League, and they are ready for success at this level," the Baron coach said.

All but two players on this year's BV baseball team came up through the Chula Vista North Pony League system. Sweetwater Valley Little League also served as a feeder program.

BV's Lopez's younger brother is Bulla Graft, a member of the 2009 Park View Little League World Series championship team.

Success at the CIF level will depend on whether the Barons can "play the game," as Gervais said.

"There's a difference between playing baseball and playing the game," Gervais said. "We're going to play teams that are bigger than us and that are stronger than us. We've got to do all the little things. We've got to play fundamental baseball. If we try to mash it against teams like Poway and Rancho Bernardo, that won't work. We've got to play the game."

Hilltop is a shining example of that philosophy after making it to the Division II championship game in 2007, falling by a 6-3 score to Grossmont.

South Bay League
Sixth-ranked Montgomery (23-5 overall) zeroed in on a perfect league campaign after defeating Southwest, 8-0, on Tuesday to improve to 11-0 in league play.

Steve Shafer fired a two-hitter and Jose Aguirre clubbed a solo home run in the second inning.

The Aztecs are ranked second among the section's Division III teams, trailing third-ranked El Capitan (19-5 overall).

San Diego Section Baseball Rankings
MaxPreps.com Top 25
(through May 13)

1. Rancho Bernardo         20-6
2. La Costa Canyon     24-4   
3. El Capitan         19-5   
4. Poway             17-7   
5. Grossmont         20-6   
6. Montgomery         21-5   
7. Torrey Pines         22-7   
8. Rancho Buena Vista     17-8   
9. Helix             17-8-1   
10. Bonita Vista         18-7   
11. Scripps Ranch         21-6   
12. Vista             14-11   
13. Santana         15-8   
14. Cathedral Catholic     15-9   
15. Ramona         19-7   
16. Otay Ranch         19-8   
17. Carlsbad         12-13
18. Steele Canyon         11-10-1   
19. Point Loma         14-9   
20. Granite Hills         8-11   
21. Oceanside         17-9   
22. Madison         18-7   
23. St. Augustine         15-11   
24. Mira Mesa         16-10   
25. Mission Hills         14-12   

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