By Phil Dailey
All season long the La Jolla Country Day baseball team had a never-say-die attitude. In 10 of the Torreys’ games they came from behind to win. Five of those victories came in their last at-bat.
On Saturday against Francis Parker for the CIF Division IV title, no comeback was needed as the Torreys (25-7 overall) got off to a hot start and never looked back, defeating the Lancers (28-5) for their first CIF baseball title at Tony Gwynn Stadium on the campus of San Diego State University.
Led by key hits at the plate, and clutch pitching on the mound, the Torreys made history with a group comprised of six seniors, three juniors and a crop of sophomores.
Included in the group of sophomores was the winning pitcher, Dustin Hughes, who pitched a complete game shutout, and Tommy Edman, who in the team’s first at-bat, launched a shot over the left field fence to give the Torreys a quick 1-0 lead.
The team’s first CIF title, according to head coach John Edman, was attributed to the team’s chemistry.
“These guys (seniors) did such a great job of embracing the younger guys,” Said Edman, the team’s coach for the past 12 seasons.
“For the whole season we had really good chemistry,” sophomore Tommy Edman said. “We started off pretty well and we never had any down games, really.”
Facing Parker’s top pitcher in Kendall Lindley, who shutout Country Day back on April 27, the Torreys took a different approach this time around.
“The guys did a really good job of being patient in the first inning,” John Edman said. “He (Lindley) gets a lot of guys to chase and we did a really good job of making him throw it over the plate.”
That was evident in the first at-bat of the game as Tommy Edman faced a full count.
“I knew he didn’t want to walk the leadoff hitter so I thought it was going to be a fastball — and I got it,” Tommy Edman said.
From there, the Torreys added two more runs — an RBI single from junior Sam Ayala and another RBI single by senior Frank Brown — to take an early 3-0 lead.
On the mound, the Torreys got a clutch performance from Hughes, who allowed five hits and got in a few jams during his seven innings pitched.
“I just tried to stay focused and work my way back and never give up,” said Hughes, who threw 104 pitches during the game.
“Dustin was great, he stayed focused through all that,” said Tommy Edman, referring to two innings where the Lancers had runners in scoring position. “He made the pitches when he needed to.”
The Torreys added one run each in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings to stretch the lead to 7-0 entering the bottom of the seventh.
Hughes got all three Lancer batters out in order to complete the game, giving the Torreys the championship.
“It’s the first time we have been in the championship game,” said John Edman. “It’s a big accomplishment for these guys.”
The team will say goodbye to six seniors, two of which will play next season at the Division I level as catcher Anthony Torres heads to Iowa and second baseman Austin Rooke will play at Northern Colorado.
“We graduate six great seniors,” Edman said, “but we have a really, really special sophomore class.”
The team also returns all of its pitchers, including Hughes.
But the game Saturday wasn’t about the future, it was about the accomplishment of this team.
“CIF championship,” Hughes said. “First time in La Jolla Country Day history.”