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Baseball: Cardona's one-hitter moves near top of list

May 26, 2010 | 11:16 pm

In more than 30 years of watching high school baseball in the City Section, I can say that the pitching performance by Jose Cardona of Woodland Hills El Camino Real on Wednesday ranks as one of the top five I've seen.

Cardona threw a one-hitter in El Camino Real's 3-0, eight-inning victory over Wilmington Banning. He produced 12 ground-ball outs, striking out eight and walking two. His curveball was "sick," as one El Camino Real fan described it.

No. 1 on my pitching performance list is the no-hitter by Reseda Cleveland's Bret Saberhagen in the 1982 City championship game.

I remember Rod Beck of Van Nuys Grant beating Granada Hills, 5-1, in the 1986 City final. I saw Jon Garland of Granada Hills Kennedy turn in a top pitching performance in 1997. Eric Pettis of El Camino Real threw a two-hitter to beat Chatsworth in the 2005 City final.

But what so impressed me about Cardona was his maturity. A year ago, he had control problems at times. He was so calm on Wednesday, twice striking out batters with men in scoring positions. Cal State Fullerton got a commitment out of him months ago, but if he pitches like he did against Banning, the pro scouts will sign him first. And he still has one more year of high school to go.

-- Eric Sondheimer