By Nathan Cambridge, Correspondent
MONROVIA – In a game in which Monrovia High School scored all its runs with two outs, Carl Daniels led the way with a two-out, three-run home run in the fifth inning to power the Wildcats to a 6-2 win over visiting Chino in a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 first-round baseball playoff game Thursday.
“I thought they did an incredible, unbelievable job with two outs,” Chino coach Bob Sheehan said. “That’s just an amazing thing to be able to score six runs with two outs, but they did it.”
Not only did Monrovia (18-5) score all its runs with two outs, the Wildcats also collected all eight of their hits with two out.
“We got the hits when it mattered,” Wildcats co-coach Brad Blackmore said.
After Chino (19-8) tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning, the first two Wildcats grounded out to start the bottom half. Justin Jones then drew a seven-pitch walk ahead of David Perez, who hit a two-out single.
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After that Joe Mata gave the Wildcats the lead back with a single up the middle to score Jones and put runners at the corners for Daniels. The senior then jumped on Michael Reina’s first-pitch curveball and sent it over the fence in left-center field to give Monrovia some breathing room.
“I knew he was going to throw (a curveball) already, so I just sat back and slugged it,” Daniels said, “I was anxious to hit the first pitch.”
Monrovia took a 2-0 lead in the second inning after Reina struck out the first two batters. Chris Burkholder and Tony Shue hit consecutive two-out singles, bringing up No. 8 hitter Nick Carino, who swatted a double to the right-center-field gap to score both runners.
“The bottom of our lineup did a great job getting us two runs with two outs,” Blackmore said.
Mata, the Wildcats starter, and reliever Brad Felty (4-0) combined to hold the Cowboys to five hits. Mata pitched four scoreless innings before being touched for two runs in the fifth, the first on an RBI groundout by Eli Vera and the second on a two-out single by Tyler Hill. Wade Witheral then hit a single to put runners at the corners and Mata gave way to Felty, who struck out Reina looking to end the threat.
“Joe’s got eight wins for us, but when it smells like something starts to go wrong we go to Brad,” Blackmore said, “He’s so good. He’s only been throwing this way (submarine style) for 10 months and he’s so good at it. He just keeps hitters off balance.”
The senior went on to hold Chino scoreless the rest of the way, including striking out three in the seventh while allowing one hit.
“Coach saw me throwing like that last year around this time and decided to change it and now, a year later, I’m pretty good,” Felty said.
In next week’s second round, Monrovia will play Bishop Amat or Burroughs of Ridgecrest.
“It was a good victory, a team win. I look forward to the next round,” Daniels said.