After a 2-7 start, just about everyone was ready to write off North Hollywood High’s baseball team.
Another rebuilding season, another case of “Wait ‘till next year.”
But a funny thing happened on the way to the playoffs. North Hollywood suddenly started winning. And with only two teams remaining in the City Section Division II tournament, here North Hollywood is, primed for the championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday at Dodger Stadium against L.A. Wilson.
The 13-17 won-loss record is not pretty, but the Huskies believe a nice shiny trophy would look great on the mantle, so North Hollywood plans to complete its Cinderella season on high school baseball's grandest stage.
Fifth-year coach Hector Menchaca had never won a playoff game until this season, and that makes this season’s postseason run even sweeter.
“I think our record is a little misleading because we’ve been right there in a lot of the games we lost,” Menchaca said. “We were always very competitive. I mean, yes we’ve lost 17 games, but we’ve showed we can compete, and there were always a lot of positives.
“We competed well against quality teams, and that has prepared us for this part of the season.”
Some of North Hollywood’s key players are Jonathan Linares, Andrew Marmor and Eddie Torres.
Linares, a senior shortstop/pitcher, is batting .488 with one home run and 17 RBIs – his third consecutive season batting .400 or better. Marmor, a freshman pitcher, has come on strong and thrown 13 scoreless innings in the playoffs. Torres, a freshman third baseman/pitcher, is a top reliever who is 2-2 with two saves, and he is the scheduled starting pitcher Saturday.
LA. Wilson (13-9) lost its final regular season to Lincoln – an opponent North Hollywood defeated Tuesday in the semifinals. Andrew Urbina, a junior, is batting .321 with 25 runs, and Angel Araujo, a junior, is batting .377.
“I don’t really know much about Wilson other than they play great defense and pitch well,” Menchaca said. “We’re just going to go out and play our game, play good defense and hopefully manufacture some runs.”
NORTH HOLLYWOOD CAPS SUCCESSFUL GOLF SEASON
North Hollywood’s boys golf team finished fourth in the City Section, and Nigel Tucker and Khorri Ellis both advanced to the Southern California Regionals at Brookside in Pasadena.
“We did a great job. I was very happy with our final performance,” coach Steve Miller said.
Ellis advanced to the regional for the fourth year in a row – the only North Hollywood golfer ever to pull off the feat. He shot a 79 at Brookside, and Tucker shot a 79, both failing to advance.
They’re both seniors with plans to play at Glendale College.
“They want to continue playing golf and to see if they can get a scholarship,” Miller said.
At the City final at Wilson Golf Course in L.A., Tucker was fifth and Ellis placed 10th.
H.W. PITCHER HONORED
Baseball standout Lucas Giolito, a junior pitcher for Harvard-Westlake, has been named Mission League Player of the Year. Giolito, a 6-foot-6 right-hander who throws 94 mph, finished 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA. He has committed to UCLA.