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Baseball: A new season for Loyola and Angelo Armenta

May 26, 2013 |  2:20 pm

When the regular season ended, highly regarded junior shortstop Angelo Armenta of Loyola was batting .173. He and his teammates were reeling after being swept by Chaminade in a two-game Mission League series that denied the Cubs an outright league title. Their coach was also suspended for off-the-field issues.

So look who's still playing and who's thriving? Armenta and the Cubs.

Loyola has advanced to Tuesday's Southern Section Division 1 semifinal game against Marina at 4 p.m. at Blair Field in Long Beach.

And Armenta has found his hitting groove during the playoffs. He has six hits in seven at-bats, including a home run. He was reminded how the playoffs are a whole new season, and he has taken advantage.

The matchup is an interesting one. Loyola lost its last two regular-season games. Marina swept Fountain Valley in its final two games and has used that momentum to move within one victory of a trip to Dodger Stadium.

Loyola has UCLA-bound junior pitcher Nathan Hadley ready to go. If Hadley is on, Marina will find itself in a very tough duel.

The other semifinal at 7 p.m. on Tuesday has Harvard-Westlake taking on Los Alamitos in an expected battle of No. 2 pitchers.

-- Eric Sondheimer