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Sanchez' Series heroics tops list

Local baseball player realizes sport's biggest dream to claim top spot among stories of the year for 2010.

December 30, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com
  • Freddy Sanchez.
Freddy Sanchez. (Martha Jane Stanton,…)

1 Freddy Sanchez helps Giants win World Series: For the first time since 1997, when Gregg Zaun helped the Florida Marlins win it all, Glendale was represented by a local player in the Fall Classic, and represented well.

For even casual fans tuning into San Francisco's five-game win over the Texas Rangers for its first title since 1954, Sanchez was hard to miss. The former Glendale Community College standout, who also attended Burbank High, started every game of the series at second base and had some timely hits and quality at-bats out of the No. 2 batting slot.

"This is unbelievable. It's indescribable," Sanchez told ESPN after going one for four in the title-clinching 3-1 win at Texas on Nov. 1. "Every night we had a different hero. ...Our pitching, they did it all year and they did it this whole postseason."

When the Giants traded for Sanchez more than halfway through the 2009 season, it was understood he was expected to set the table offensively and solidify the defense up the middle.

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With a series batting average of .270 with three runs batted in, five runs and four extra-base hits and consistent error-free fielding against one of the top offenses in baseball, Sanchez lived up to his end of the deal when it mattered most.

He was particularly instrumental in getting the Giants off to a fast start with a record-breaking hitting performance in an 11-7 Game One win.

His four-for-five World Series debut began with doubles in his first three plate appearances — a Major League Baseball first — and he drove in three runs to help the Giants take a big early lead and knock Rangers ace Cliff Lee from the game.

"I didn't know it was a record," Sanchez said in a postgame television interview. "It didn't cross my mind.

"I'm just glad I was able to help the team today and get some runs across and help the team most of all."

2 Flintridge Sacred Heart soccer wins CIF Regional title: Already having turned in the best season in team history, in terms of a second-place unbeaten Mission League finish and the longest-ever CIF Southern Section Division II playoff run, the Tologs weren't content to stop there.

"I think we might have felt we had underachieved if we hadn't won that state championship," Tologs co-Coach Frank Pace said. "Imagine saying that our fear would be underachieving, but we were undefeated in league and came in second, so there was that feeling of unfinished business.

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