BASEBALL: Maranatha reaches finals

Minutemen march on
Late-inning rally gives Maranatha 11-6 win over Bishop Union.

The Minutemen advance to UC Riverside for Saturday’s final at 3:30 p.m.

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By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
BISHOP – Maranatha High School’s baseball team is becoming accustomed to coming from behind, especially on the road. Perhaps a little too accustomed.
Luckily for the Minutemen, sophomore pitcher Dylan Covey is used to shutting down opponents, regardless of the venue.
At a location closer to Reno, Nev., than to Pasadena, Maranatha staged another late-inning comeback Tuesday and rode the right arm of Covey all the way to Riverside with an 11-6 victory over host Bishop Union in the CIF-Southern Section Division VI semifinals.
The win sends the Minutemen into Saturday’s championship game against San Jacinto, a 5-0 winner over Bloomington Christian, to be played at UC Riverside at 3:30 p.m.
Covey worked the final two innings, striking out four, to earn his second save in relief of Danny Beckwith (2-3), who took over for starter Cory Popham in the fourth.
“It’s really big because it’s momentum for next year,” said Covey, who also had a banner day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two walks, a double, a homer and four runs batted in.
Thanks to the sophomore, there’s still one game left this season for the Minutemen (18-10-1).
Tony Li was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Josh Forrester added a pair of RBIs as Maranatha collected 10 hits.
The Minutemen shook off a 6-4 deficit by scoring five runs in the sixth inning off Bishop reliever Nick Salas (6-2).
A walk to Popham, a Covey single and a walk to Beckwith loaded the bases with one out. Li’s single down the left-field line tied the game at 6-6.
“It’s just so hard to explain because the whole season’s been a time of growth, but our energy came alive that inning and everyone came together as a team,” Li said.
Myles Neimeyer followed with a hit just inside the first-base line to right field to give the inutemen a 7-6 advantage.
Forrester collected a towering two-run double to left-center field to increase Maranatha’s lead to 9-6.
Bishop (20-3) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but Covey notched a pair of strikeouts to end the threat.
“I came in with runners on first and second and walked a guy, and after that, I just needed to throw strikes,” he said.
Covey wasn’t finished, though – he crushed a two-run homer over the center-field wall and on top of the school library to make it 11-6.
“I knew the fastball was coming, so I was just waiting back and swung at it,” Covey said.
Maranatha broke a scoreless deadlock with a run in the top of the third.
Jordan Calloway walked, went to second on a sacrifice by Popham and kept on running to third on the play. With the infield drawn in, Beckwith hit a sharp smash that the Bishop shortstop misplayed for an error to give the Minutemen a 1-0 lead.
Bishop came right back in the bottom of the inning on a walk to Danyel Dondero, back-to-back balks by Popham and a double to right-center by Tyler Williams to tie the score. Joe Blumberg’s single to left field gave the Broncos a 2-1 advantage.
Maranatha loaded the bases with one out in the third and knotted the game at 2 on a walk to Calloway. Covey’s two-run double with two out put the Minutemen back on top at 4-2.
Bishop came back with a run in the bottom of the fourth when Beckwith, who came on in relief, hit Williams with the bases loaded. Chris Brown later sent what looked like a double-play grounder to short. Li, the Minutemen’s second baseman, didn’t attempt a throw to first, allowing the tying run to score. Maranatha had Salas caught in a rundown between third and home on the play, but Schafer Chulay’s throw sailed over the head of Neimeyer, the catcher, to give the Broncos a 5-4 lead. A bases-loaded walk in the fifth gave Bishop a two-run lead to set the table for Maranatha’s comeback.
Blumberg led Bishop’s eight-hit attack with a pair of singles.

Top of the first inning
Maranatha gets runners to first and third, but can’t score.

Bottom of the first
Bishop gets a leadoff single, but Cory Popham gets a pick off at first, and a double play.

Top of the second inning
The Minutemen get runners at first and second with two out, but are unable to score.

Bottom of the second
Three-up, three-down for for Bishop.

Top of the third
Jordan Calloway walks, is sacrificed to second by Popham. Dylan Covey is intentionally walked. With the infield playing up, Danny Beckwith hits a sharp smash to short that Bishop shortstop can’t field for an error. 1-0 Maranatha.

Bottom of the third
A walk to Danyel Dondero, back-to-back balks by Popham, and a double to right-center field by Tyler Williams to tie the score. Joe Blumberg’s single to left gave the Broncos a 2-1 advantage.

Top of the fourth
Maranatha loaded the bases with one out in the third and knotted the game up at 2-2 on a walk to Calloway. Covey’s two-run double with two out put the Minutemen back on top at 4-2.

Bottom of the fourth
Bishop came back with a run in the bottom of the fourth when Maranatha reliever Danny Beckwith hit Williams with the bases loaded. Chris Brown later sent what looked like a double-play grounder to short. Minutemen second baseman TonyLi didn’t make a throw to first, allowing the tying run to cross the plate. Maranatha had Nick Salas caught in a rundown between third and home, but Schafer Chulay’s throw sailed over the head of catcher Myles Neimeyer to give the Broncos a 5-4 lead.

Top of the fifth
Minutemen strand runners at first and second.

Bottom of the fifth
Bishop loads the bases with one out. Dondero walks against Beckwith to give the Broncos a 6-4 lead.

Top of the sixth
A walk to Popham, a single by Covey and a walk to Beckwith load the bases with one out. Tony Li’s single down the left-field line ties the game at 6-6. Neimeyer hits one just inside the first-base line for an RBI single to right field to give Maranatha a 7-6 advantage. Josh Forrester hits a towering two-run double to left-center field to increase Maranatha’s lead to 9-6.

Bottom of the sixth
Bishop loads the bases with one out, including a walk by Covey whose on in relief. Covey strikes out the final two men to leave ‘em loaded.

Top of the seventh
Covey crushes a two-run homer over the center-field wall on top of the school library to make it 11-6.

Bottom of the seventh
Covey fighting control, walks the first two batters. Two strikeouts, two away. A line out to short ends the game.

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