Smith pitches Torrance past rival South Torrance in CIF-SS Division 4 final
The drought for Torrance High baseball is over.
Senior pitcher Kyle Smith hurled a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts and Torrance capitalized on a six-run fifth inning to rout Pioneer League rival South Torrance, 11-0, to win the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 championship Saturday at UC Riverside.
The Tartars combined eight hits with six walks to win the first CIF baseball title in the school’s 97-year history.
The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo-bound Smith was in complete control throughout, never allowing a runner to reach second base.
“I had great command of my stuff, and they couldn’t hit my fastball,” Smith said. “It was a team effort. It takes great defense to win championships. It feels great. Every senior wants to end his high school career like this.”
Torrance’s Manny Olloque drove in the game’s first run in the third inning with an infield single up the middle. South second baseman Kawika Hubbell dove to get to the ball, but had trouble getting the ball out of his glove in time for a force at second base.
The Tartars opened the fifth inning playing small ball. Jacob Gurwell led off with a walk,David Aros bunted for a base hit and Robert Sylvester bunted to third, but the throw went past first base when no one was covering the bag. Tyler Martizia followed with a single to left field and Olloque walked.
Smith helped himself, going 2 for 4 with a double over the right fielder’s head in the seventh inning. His squeeze bunt with one out in the fifth inning was fielded by South pitcher Matt Mogollon, but the throw was mishandled by catcher Matt Mavrosakis , allowing two runs to score. The play knocked Mogollon out of the game and Drake Pingelcame on in relief.
Torrance sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning, but Smith caused a momentary concern when he rolled his ankle running to first base on the squeeze play.
Torrance coach Ollie Turner said he was more concerned about Smith’s ankle than his arm tightening up during the long inning. Hubbell’s third-inning single and Taylor Carmona’s single with one out in the fourth inning were the only hits for South.
“Kyle just dominated today,” Turner said. “I wanted him to finish the game so everyone could dogpile on him.”
Torrance was led by third baseman Olloque, who went 2 for 3 with one run scored on the same day he was selected in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Kansas City Royals. Dominic Hayneswent 2 for 3 with a triple and Sylvester added a three-run triple.
“This feels so good,” Olloque said. “We came out and battled. I wasn’t surprised at all at the outcome. We were ready.”
Turner said he had to get his team in the right fame of mind.
“We tried not to think about the South thing too much, but at the end of the day, it makes it special,” Turner said. “We worked really hard to get here and you need a little luck. Everybody on our team wanted it so bad that they could hardly function three days ago and had to bring ourselves down into the game.”
Turner, who played for Torrance, said he was proud that this group was the one that won the program’s first CIF title.
“I think about all the coaches I had and the ones that came before me,” he said. “I just want everyone in the city to enjoy this.”