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Baseball: A new season for Loyola and Angelo Armenta

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


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