By Mario Aguirre, Correspondent
SANTA FE SPRINGS – Anthony Ybarra drove in the decisive run in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday, keeping alive the playoff hopes of the St. Paul baseball team with a 1-0 win over La Salle.
The game didn’t end, though, without some controversy down the stretch. With two outs and a runner on first in the seventh, the home-plate umpire ruled that a pitch from Anthony Gonzalez hit La Salle’s Chris Williams.
Williams, who had no exaggerated reaction from the pitch, walked to first base, with St. Paul coach Casey Morales disputing the call. The third- base plate and home-plate umpires discussed the call, and moments later rescinded it. Williams returned to the plate and struck out. Game over.
“It was a fastball, right-hand side,” Williams said. “I went to swing, but the ball hit me right on the palm.”
“It was just a bad call,” Williams added, with his glove off to reveal his swollen wrist. “The umpire looked over here, and I was just standing at the bag. And I guess he just saw it in my face or something that the ball probably didn’t hit me.”
St. Paul (8-16 overall, 3-6 in league) will take the much- needed Del Rey League win. Only three games remain for the Swordsmen, who must win the rest of the way to remain in playoff contention. Heading into Tuesday, they trailed third-place Bishop Montgomery (9-12, 3-5) by one game.
“Every game from here on out, we’re treating it like the playoffs,” Ybarra said.
“We know if we lose,” Gonzalez said, “we’re done.”
Gonzalez (3-6) worked the mound Tuesday, striking out nine and allowing two hits.
La Salle (13-9, 7-4), which already clinched a playoff berth, needs a win to clinch the league’s No. 2 seed outright. La Salle has only one league game remaining, on Friday, when they host St. Paul.