RANCHO CUCAMONGA — The Etiwanda baseball program is back in familiar territory this season.
The Hawks struggled last season (12-14), failing to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Etiwanda has rebounded sharply this season. The Eagles have reclaimed the baseline league title and are in the middle of another deep playoff game. Dylan Goff and Yahir Ramirez combined for threes in Friday’s Division 2 quarterfinals as the offense used free base to beat Pacifica 10-0 .
The Eagles (23-8) travel to Palos Verdes (21-10) on Tuesday afternoon for the program’s first semifinal game since 2017, when it won the Division 2 championship.
“We have last year as a bright spot on the radar,” Etiwanda coach Don Furnald said. “It’s something we’re not used to, but it brings everyone back into focus. We’re happy to be where we are now.”
Goff, a junior right-hander, excelled on the mound with two hits in six innings to improve his record to 10-0. Goff tackled a pair of jams to keep Pacifica (21-9) off the scoreboard.
“I missed a lot in those innings, so I just slowed down and took a few deep breaths,” said Goff, who walked a 3-pointer and struck out. “Once I calmed down, I started looking for a good rhythm again.”
Etiwanda quickly took the lead in the opening innings as the game’s top two batsmen reached base with a third strike and walk. Freshman Brady Ebel singled out Austin Rolig home to put the Eagles on the board, and Michael Harrison then took home Armando Brisseno with a sacrificial flight. Etiwanda went for the third in the second inning when Park Sobiciak singled out home Tyler Heavy.
Pacifica had a chance to jump back into the game in the third inning after Justin Aguinaga and Junior Zendejas opened the frame with back-to-back singles. However, they were stuck at No. 1 and No. 2 as Goff retired three batters in a row. Goff walked the first two in the fourth, prompting a visit from Fernald.
“I just told him to settle down and be himself and not try to do too much outside,” Fernald said.
Pacifica again failed to finish the game as Goff flew a ball and a pair of ground balls to end the threat.
Etiwanda doubled the lead in the second half of the fourth, and the floodgates opened after a walk and a throw. Ebel had an RBI groundout and Harrison hit a double in the gap at left center to take home again. Alfredo Capacete ended the inning with an RBI single.
Combined, Pacifica’s four pitchers can hit seven batters, hit four more, and throw three wild pitches.
“Our team does a great job swinging the bat, and as long as we have runners on base, we take advantage,” said Harrison, who went 2-for-2 on walks and sacrifices. “We tried to be patient and wait for the good pitch to sit. I think we did a good job today in the crunch time.”
Etiwanda continued to extend the lead late in the game. Rolig hit a single homer in the fifth inning and scored on a wild field in the other. Sobiesiak knocked down his second inning with a sacrificial fly in the sixth inning, while Michai Harrison came down with a battered single in the final inning.
Pacifica’s starting pitcher Chad Gournea hit seven batters before being cleared in the fourth quarter.