Wilson High School baseball Coach Fidel Catano may have had some concerns, but Andrew Urbina looked right at home pitching from the mound at Dodger Stadium.
The junior right-hander threw a two-hit shutout Saturday with three strikeouts and no walks to lead the Mules to a 2-0 victory over North Hollywood for the City Section Division II championship.
Not that Catano didn’t have confidence in his starter, he just wasn’t sure how his players would react playing in a big and historic stadium that so many have dreamed about playing in.
“I told the kids when we got here to have fun, but to stay focused at game time,” Catano said. “I told them to play hard, play catch and have our pitcher throw strikes.”
Urbina followed his direction, so did third baseman Angel Araujo. The junior singled to score Martin Vasquez in the first inning. He tripled and scored on Rudy Aispuro’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.
“I was seeing the ball really good and just wanted to put the ball in play,” Araujo said. “We’ve practiced hard and have battled all season, and here we are, City champions. “I always dreamed of this and I finally got it. It’s a great feeling. Hopefully, we can get back here next season.”
For Wilson (14-9), the City title was the Mules’ first since winning the 3-A championship in 1998.
The two runs proved to be enough for Urbina, who overcame three errors by his defense to post the win.
North Hollywood put two runners on in the sixth. An error by Urbina allowed leadoff batter Andrew Marmor to reach first safely and Diego Cabral bunted for a single.
Urbina fielded Zane Weston’s bunt and threw out the lead runner at third for the first out. Urbina then got Jonathan Linares to fly to left and struck out Humberto Medelin.
“We worked hard all week not to be nervous today,” Urbina said. “We made some errors, but we came back by making the next play.”
In the seventh, Urbina retired the first two batters, but a throwing error by Araujo allowed the potential tying run to come up. With Eddie Torres on second base, Urbina shook off the miscue by getting Mike Sepulveda to fly out to right fielder Jose Perez.
“He’s (Urbina) a great performer who is always battling for us, getting strikeouts and coming up big,” Araujo said.
Catano said it was one of Urbina’s best games of the season.
“He went out there and threw strikes and didn’t fall behind the hitters too many times,” Catano said.
Urbina said he thinks of his brother, who died three years ago of a rare brain disease, before every game.
“Today was probably the best game I’ve ever pitched,” Urbina said.
North Hollywood starter Torres also delivered a fine performance. The freshman gave up a run in the first and then kept the Mules hitless until the sixth.
The freshman right-hander walked Vasquez to lead off the game and then committed a balk. Araujo made him pay with a single up the middle.
He failed to retire Araujo in the sixth and it proved to be costly, again.
North Hollywood (13-18) could find itself back in Dodger Stadium next season, however. Coach Hector Menchaca started six juniors and two freshmen Saturday.