The San Diego Section Division V baseball championship game took place last Friday at Eastlake High School, providing a homecoming for several players on The Rock Academy Warriors, a private Christian school with an enrollment of 93 students located in Liberty Station.
The Warriors list 14 players on their roster. Four are current South Bay residents: junior shortstop Andrew Brown, sophomore outfielder Oscar Castro, sophomore first baseman Michael Martinez and sophomore pitcher Hudson Pearson.
Another Rock Academy player, pitcher/outfielder James L’Esperance, attended Eastlake Middle School and played with Eastlake Little League before moving with his family to Point Loma.
Pearson, Martinez and L’Esperance all took turns on the mound for the second-seeded Warriors in their 8-4 championship game loss to the top-seeded Vista Calvary Christian Academy Lions.
The Rock Academy finished the season 23-5-1; Calvary Christian improved to 28-5 by posting its 12th consecutive victory.
Both teams finished at the top of the division standings in 2012.
If Castro and Pearson’s names are somewhat familiar, readers only have to turn back the clock — and the pages of The Star-News — a couple of years to reconnect.
Castro was a member of Park View Little League’s celebrated 2009 World Series championship team while Pearson helped lead Chula Vista North to the 2010 Pony-13 World Series championship.
Both have made an impact while competing at the next level in high school.
Pearson entered last Friday’s Division V title game 10-1 on the season with a 1.67 earned run average. He finished the season with 79 strikeouts in 57 inning pitched and also hit .268 at the plate with nine RBI.
Castro finished the season with a .277 hitting average, scored 16 runs and also drove in 16 runs.
Brown ranked second on the team with a .442 hitting average, scored 33 runs, drove in 24 runs, smacked 10 doubles and collected three triples.
Martinez batted .354 with 19 runs scored, 30 RBI, seven doubles and three home runs.
Martinez tied teammate Deandre Simpson for the team lead in homers while leading the team in runs batted in.
L’Esperance clubbed a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning to bring the Warriors to within two runs on the scoreboard at 6-4 in the CIF championship game.
Brown drove in one run and scored once while Martinez also scored once.
The Rock Academy finished 10-0 in Frontier League play before going on to finish 3-1 in four playoff games.
Brown drove in three runs and Castro had two RBI in a 15-0 first round playoff victory against Lutheran on May 23. L’Esperance hurled a complete game, striking out 11 batters, to pick up the win on the mound.
The Warriors defeated Christian twice by scores of 5-0 (on May 25) and 3-0 (on May 29) to advance to the division championship game.
Pearson allowed two hits while striking out eight batters in six innings of work to pick up the victory in the first encounter against Christian.
Brown stroked a pair of doubles, scored twice and also drove in a run in the second game against Christian.
Calvary Christian finished 4-0 in the playoffs, defeating the San Diego Jewish Academy (18-1 on May 22) and Horizon Christian twice (10-3 on May 25 and 7-6 on May 29) to earn a trip to the finals against the Rock Academy.
The Rock Academy’s baseball team joined the school’s boys basketball team with a runner-up finish in the CIF finals.
Around the horn
In other division finals, top-seeded Vista (31-4) shaded second-seeded Rancho Buena Vista (27-9) by a 1-0 score on Monday to close out this year’s slate of CIF championship contests.
Three division finals took place Saturday at SDSU.
Second-seeded La Costa Canyon (22-9-1) edged top-seeded Rancho Bernardo (23-10) by a 7-6 score in 10 innings while top-seeded Cathedral Catholic shut down second-seeded El Capitan (31-7) by a 3-1 score to claim the Division III crown. In the Division IV final, top-seeded Santa Fe Christian (28-5) slipped past second-seeded Madison (26-7) by a score of 3-2.
SAN DIEGO SECTION PARADE OF CHAMPIONS
(1) Vista 1, (2) Rancho Buena Vista 0
(2) La Costa Canyon 7, (1) Rancho Bernardo 6 (10 innings)
(1) Cathedral Catholic 3, (2) El Capitan 1
(1) Santa Fe Christian 3, (2) Madison 2
(1) Vista Calvary Christian Academy 8, (2) The Rock Academy 4