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High School Baseball: Sage can't solve pitcher

St. Genevieve's Rios and his sidearm delivery too much for Lightning, who are eliminated after wild-card loss.

May 14, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

NEWPORT COAST — The first thing that caught the eye of Coach Gabriel Reyes when he and his Panorama City St. Genevieve team arrived at Sage Hill was the high school baseball field.

"We don't get [to see] these type of baseball fields in the [San Fernando Valley]," said Reyes, while marveling at the manicured infield, the trimmed outfield grass and the 12-foot fence around it, and the batting cage behind the visitors' dugout.

While St. Genevieve had never played on a field as nice as Sage Hill's, the host school had never seen a pitcher quite like the one it faced Tuesday.

St. Genevieve started a kid with a sidearm delivery. His name was Gonzalo Rios and he almost became the first pitcher to shut out the Lightning this year.

Rios' teammates call him "Gonzo." His release was almost as weird as the "Gonzo the Great" character from The Muppets.

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"Gonzo" was definitely great against the Lightning. He threw a complete game, striking out 11, as St. Genevieve won, 5-1, in the wild-card round of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs.

Reyes said the postseason victory is the first for St. Genevieve in more than 30 years. A sophomore with a submarine release made it possible.

Reyes said the reason why Rios cannot throw overhand is because he broke his collarbone last year. The sidearm delivery works for the right-hander.

Rios fooled the young Lightning (13-7) throughout, throwing fastballs, changeups and sliders for strikes. He allowed five hits, walked one and hit a batter.

Rios, who threw 104 pitches, is the reason why St. Genevieve (8-7) gets to play at defending section champion Lancaster Desert Christian (13-5) in the first round on Friday and why Sage Hill's season ended.

"We haven't seen anybody drop down like that, from that arm angle, a lot of movement [on his pitches]," Sage Hill Coach Danny Gonzales said.

"When that guy started throwing like that, from the beginning of the game, I was telling our guys, 'See it up, see it up, see it up," because that two-seam runs down and dirty, especially for our right-handers, and for our lefties, it was going down and away."

The only batter to hit Rios (5-2) well was Ryan Fishel. The senior leadoff man tripled in the third inning and doubled in the fifth, but each time Sage Hill stranded him in scoring position.

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