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Sam Burgess’ three-run home run powers Corona to Division 1 baseball title

Corona High's Sam Burgess lets out a yell after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against Harvard-Westlake.
Corona High’s Sam Burgess lets out a yell after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against Harvard-Westlake in the Southern Section Division 1 final at Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore.
(Craig Weston)
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In a minor league ballpark where home runs don’t come often for high school players, Sam Burgess of Corona electrified the crowd during the Southern Section Division 1 championship game Saturday night by hitting a three-run home run over the right-field wall in the fourth inning against Harvard-Westlake ace Duncan Marsten, sending the Panthers to a 5-0 victory at Lake Elsinore’s Diamond Stadium.

It was Corona’s sixth home run in five playoff games, with each one providing a decisive moment to help the Panthers (30-3) become the first No. 1 seed since Camarillo in 2002 to win the Division 1 title.

Burgess, a Texas Christian commit, came to the plate after Josh Springer was hit by a pitch and Billy Carlson reached base on an infield single. From the moment he swung, Burgess sensed the ball would leave the field. It was a changeup left over the middle of the plate. Marsten and Corona’s Ethan Schiefelbein had been engaged in the expected pitching duel, with neither budging until Burgess came through.

Given a three-run lead, the left-handed Schiefelbein, who has committed to UCLA, showed his emotion and excitement with each strikeout. He gave up a leadoff single to Bryce Rainer to start the game, then didn’t surrender another hit until the sixth inning, retiring 15 consecutive batters. He finished with nine strikeouts and no walks.

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Corona launches its victory celebration after a 5-0 win over Harvard-Westlake in the Division 1 final.
(Craig Weston)

Marsten left after 4-2/3 innings, giving up six hits and four runs with four strikeouts. Corona added a run in the fifth on a wild pitch and another in the sixth on a single from Daniel Rivera.

Harvard-Westlake had been known for coming through with top pitching performances in the Division 1 final. In 2021, Harvard-Westlake won 3-0 over JSerra behind Christian Becerra. In 2013, Jack Flaherty threw the shutout in a 1-0 win over Marina at Dodger Stadium.

This time, the Wolverines faced a tough task against Schiefelbein, who came in 7-0 and headed to a peak performance after being sick last week in a five-inning playoff stint. For four seasons, he has wanted the ball in pressure situations, and coach Andy Wise was confident he’d perform at his best. Schiefelbein finished his senior season with an 0.27 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 52 innings.

“He really knows himself and what he can do well,” Wise said. “He actually paced himself through the first two playoff games so he could be geared up for this.”

Corona pitchers gave up six runs in five playoff games, supported by clutch home runs from Seth Hernandez, Anthony Murphy, Billy Carlson and Burgess.

“These guys had a phenomenal year that should be remembered for a long time,” Wise said.

Division 3

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Isaiah Kapur of Beckman signals he's safe while sliding across home plate with the winning run against St. John Bosco.
(Craig Weston)

Beckman 2, St. John Bosco 1: Jagger Snitko hit a line-drive single to right field in the bottom of the eighth inning, sending Isaiah Kapur home with the winning run from second base to deliver a championship for Beckman.

Zach Ireland threw the first seven innings for Beckman, striking out five and giving up two hits.

Noah Perez had an RBI single for St. John Bosco. Sophomore Julian Garcia was the tough-luck loser, giving up six hits in 7-2/3 innings while striking out five.

Division 4

Camarillo 2, St. Francis 1: Run-scoring doubles in the top of the seventh inning by Nate Tostado and Trotter Enright helped the Scorpions overcome a 1-0 deficit and win the championship. St. Francis pitcher Noah Aguilar-Tanphanich threw four scoreless innings of relief until getting pulled in the seventh after a walk and a double.

Boston Bateman of Camarillo had a no-hitter through five innings but gave up a run on a walk, sacrifice, wild pitch and sacrifice fly. He threw six innings, striking out 11, walking one and giving up one hit. Victor Tostado picked up the save with a scoreless seventh.

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Division 8

Azusa 5, Pacifica Christian 0: Josh Torres struck out 12, walked one and threw a two-hit shutout for Azusa.

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