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Stockdale, BHS, Kennedy in action for SoCal Regional baseball playoffs on Tuesday


Bakersfield High senior Johnnie Lee slides home with the only run in the Drillers' 1-0 victory over Hanford in Saturday's Central Section Division III baseball championship game in Visalia.

It’s difficult to imagine topping what has already been one of the most successful baseball seasons in recent memory.

Three Central Section champions and five more that reached the semifinals — all from Kern County.

But Stockdale, Bakersfield High and Kennedy will look to extend their collective seasons when the Southern California Regional playoffs begin on Tuesday.

The Mustangs, fresh off a dominant 10-1 victory over Santa Maria-Righetti in the Division I title game on Friday, will be hosting No. 7 Villa Park (27-5) at 4 p.m.

The Spartans, who lost in the Southern Section semifinals, are led by junior shortstop Gavin Grahovac and a deep pitching staff anchored by junior left-hander Brandon Luu (7-2, 1.22 ERA). Grahovac leads his team in virtually every offensive categorie, hitting .393 with five home runs and 24 RBIs.

Stockdale (26-4) counters with senior shortstop/right-hander Austin Charles.

The 6-foot-6 Charles, who has committed to play at UC Santa Barbara next year, is batting .491 with 13 homers and 56 RBIs. He is also 5-0 with a 1.36 ERA on the mound.

Junior right-hander Ryan Featherston (10-1, 2.10 ERA) figures to get the start today, one week after a near complete game victory over Liberty in the section semifinals.

At the plate, all nine Mustangs starters are hitting above .300, with junior Matt Torres leading the way at .505. Senior Adam Enyart and junior Ruben Rodriguez have combined for 10 home runs and 87 RBIs.

The Drillers (11-18-1), who defeated Hanford 1-0 behind a complete-game three-hitter from freshman Wyatt Caid on Saturday to win the Division III section title, will be on the road to open Division IV regional play.

BHS, which won its first section title in 52 years, plays Burroughs-Burbank at Stengal Field in Glendale at 6 p.m. today.

The Drillers are led by seniors Liam Taft (team-high .351 avg., with 29 RBIs) and taleted shortstop Johnnie Lee (.274 avg., 18 steals), and junior Wyatt Ashe (.324 avg., 21 RBIs).

Kennedy (21-7) won its second straight section title with a 5-4 victory over Reedley-Immanuel on Saturday afternoon in the Division V final and will now host South Gate-Legacy (20-11) today at 4 p.m.

The Thunderbirds, who won the D-VI championship last year, have relied on a balanced attack led by junior Jeremiah Guerra, who has hitting a team-high .458 with 28 RBIs. Guerra is one of three players hitting over .400, joined by juniors Julian Orozco (.424) and Gerardo Salazar (.412). Senior Sergio Gonzalez is hitting .378 with 23 RBIs.

On the mound, junior Miguel Barraza and Ever Murguia have combined to throw 96.2 innings and are 7-0.