The above video shows Robert Mendez scoring the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning on a wild pitch and a throwing error in Ontario Christian’s 2-1 Division 5 quarterfinal victory in nine innings on Friday.
But consider some of the interesting aspects in this game:
- Templeton freshman pitcher Mac Lardner didn’t allow a ball hit out of the infield in the final five innings. He allowed six hits, one earned run, three walks (two in the first inning, the other was intentional), and struck out three.
- But Ontario Christian had him on the ropes in the first inning. After a sacrifice fly put the Knights up 1-0, Jonathan Love hit a weak grounder to shortstop. Love would’ve beaten the play at first, and shortstop Tyrus Yamagata realized that. The runner from second, Riley Manquen expected Yamagata to throw to first, so he kept running past third. Yamagata instead threw home and Manquen was thrown out. Associate head coach Jon Love didn’t fault Manquen, who said it was a calculated risk that they take.
- Ontario Christian had two more hits in the second inning (four total in the first two innings), then got two the rest of the game and Lardner retired 16 of 17 at from the second to the seventh.
- Meanwhile, Ontario Christian starter Hayden Jorgenson was in trouble when Templeton loaded the bases with no outs in the second on a walk, a single, a wild pitch and another walk. Then Donald Syracuse hit a soft liner at the feet of Jorgenson, who scooped it up. Many initially thought Jorgenson short-hopped it, but it was ruled a catch. The runners were unaware he caught it, so Jorgenson threw to third to double up one runner then back to second for a 1-5-4 triple play. Templeton coach Brad Macomber saw the ball move in Jorgenson’s glove, so he thought it had hit the ground, but admitted it might have been a clean catch.
- Templeton tied the score 1-1 in the fifth when Michael Frigon’s grounder took a bad hop past first baseman Tim West for a game-tying double.
- That was the last break for Templeton. In the eighth, the Eagles appeared to take a lead when Andy Garretson and Taylor Tobin hit back-to-back doubles to start the inning. But Ontario Christian noticed Garretson failed to touch home plate and he was ruled out on appeal. Love said the umpire told them Garretson missed home “by a lot.” Macomber said with throw to the plate, he had never seen that called in decades in the sport.
- The ruling at the plate seemed to strengthen reliever Travis Booth, who had allowed a runner in scoring position in each of his innings to that point after entering to start the sixth. Booth struck out five of the next six batters.
- The winning rally started with two outs and no one on in the ninth. Robert Mendez beat out a bad-hop grounder to third that went as a single. Mikey Rivera then hit a tricky soft grounder to the right of Lardner. Lardner made a nice play to field it, but his throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag for an error. Then on the video pitch in the dirt in the above video, Mendez took off for third and scored when catcher Tobin’s throw to third went into left field.
- It was just your normal game with a runner thrown out trying to score from second on an infield hit, a triple play, a runner ruled out for not touching home plate, a freshman pitcher who was dazzling for 8 2/3 innings and a walk-off wild pitch/throwing error. There was a winning team that had only six hits and no balls (hits or otherwise) hit out of the infield in the final five innings, but struck out only three times in nine innings,. There was the losing team that had nine hits, including four doubles (to none for Ontario Christian), but left runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.