There was no doubt that Palm Desert High was looking for a strong pitching performance in Friday's CIF-Southern Section Division 4 Championship.
They saw a dazzling performance on the mound, but it came from Bishop Amat pitcher Danny Zamora, as the Lancers blanked Palm Desert, 7-0, Friday night at Dodger Stadium. (Check out our blog of live updates as the game happened .)
The junior lefthander was spot on with his control, holding the Aztecs to just four hits and only one baserunner after the third inning.
"The way I see it, we split the series with Amat,” Aztec head Coach Darol Salazar said, referring to a Palm Desert win over Bishop Amat to start the season. “We played well, I’m proud of the boys, but it’s baseball. These things happen.”
“We just didn’t get the bats going,” senior catcher Dave Schuknecht said. “It could have been Dodger Stadium jitters … I know the younger guys were a bit wowed about being here. But we should have beat these guys.”
The Palm Desert Aztecs were hoping for a big night from ace pitcher Brooks Kriske.
But the Lancers got to a fast start in the third, when Kriske gave up a lead off walk, followed by a towering home run to Amat’s Rio Ruiz down the right field line.
Palm Desert had an early scoring chance in the second with a two-out double from Ryan Garvey. John Schuknecht hit a sharp grounder to second that the Lancers Brandon Castaneda bobbled before making a late throw to first. Garvey rounded third and was gunned out at home by the first baseman. Garvey admitted he made the decision to try to score on his own.
“Ball is hit the opposite way, I was already on that. If there was a sign, I missed it,” the junior admitted. “And I thought I was safe.”
The Aztecs started the second well, with back-to-back singles from Halcovich and Dave Schuknecht. Kriske advanced the runners on a sacrifice bunt. The Lancers then intentionally walked Cody Kabeary to get to Jono Tellier. Tellier hit back into a 1-2-3 inning ending double play.
From there, the Aztecs would only get two more runners on base the rest of the way.
Kriske didn’t find his groove and was tagged for four runs, two of them earned, along with a season-high five walks in four innings of work.
Jono Tellier replaced Kriske in the fifth, only to be tagged for three runs himself. The big damage coming on a two out triple to right from Amat’s Jay Anderson, scoring two. Tellier did himself no favors with the next hitter, misplaying a bunt, allowing Anderson to score.
For Garvey, his final game as an Aztecs took a different emotion as he moved from centerfield to first base in the top of the seventh, playing on he same dirt his father – Steve Garvey – did as a member of the Dodgers.
“It’s pretty undescribable, knowing my Dad played there in the 70s,” Ryan said following the game. “Playing there... it was just magical.”
The Aztecs finish the season with a mark of 28-5.
Check back later for a full photo gallery from the game.