San Gabriel Valley must beat the undefeated Licking County Athletics, which is the host team, twice today. The championship contest will begin at 8 a.m. PDT. An if-necessary game would be played immediately after the championship contest.
San Gabriel Valley turned to pitcher Eddie McKiernan, who struck out seven and allowed one run in five innings. Willie Sandez hit a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning for San Gabriel Valley, which got two runs scored from Crescenta Valley High senior Dustin Emmons.
San Gabriel Valley Coach Phil Torres, who is assisted by fellow Crescenta Valley High coaches Dave Mendoza and Brent Forsee, said his team will be tired but ready to meet the Athletics.
"We are just still thrilled to be around," said Torres, whose team suffered a 2-1 loss to Youngstown, Ohio, on Saturday. "It's a credit for them to hang in there.
"It's something they've earned and it's an honor to play in the championship game."
Emmons scored on a single by Jesus Campos to give San Gabriel Valley, which captured the Pacific Southwest region championship, a 1-0 lead in the second. Ryan Brown followed with a sacrifice fly.
Brown and Jordan Larson scored on an error to extend San Gabriel Valley's lead to 4-1 in the fourth. Matt Smoley had a pinch-hit single — his third in the tournament — to make it 6-1 before George Adrian of Crescenta Valley High stole home in the sixth to cap the scoring.
Emmons said San Gabriel Valley will be prepared for Licking County.
"We just have to keep it going," Emmons said. "It will be a dogfight to win two in a row, but we are confident."
San Gabriel Valley last won the championship in 2004.
CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or by e-mail at email@example.com.