I’ll apologize ahead of time. I misspelled Bobby Hubble’s name in the paper. It appears as “Tubble”. It’s been fixed on this post. Again, my apologies.
By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
They say it’s the little things that count, so it’s no surprise then that Monrovia High School baseball co-head coach Brad Blackmore was as impressed with some of the subtle plays in the first couple innings as he was with the Wildcats surviving a bases-loaded situation with no outs against Bishop Amat on Tuesday.
What most Monrovia (19-5) fans will remember is the suspense of the seventh inning, clinging to a 4-2 lead as Bishop Amat loaded the bases with no outs. Senior Joe Mata was tabbed to face a situation some pitchers would rather skip, but Mata prevailed. He got the first batter to ground out, then struck out the next two to end the game, allowing the Wildcats to move on to Friday’s quarterfinals against Jurupa Valley.
Sure, Monrovia was a couple hits away from giving itself possibly six or seven-run cushion, but the fact of the matter is the Wildcats did enough to record a big road win, and it started with seemingly routine plays early on.
Monrovia turned a double play in the first, the infield tested early on. Third baseman Nick Carino, shortstop David Perez and second baseman Reed Miller turned key plays, and catcher Gabe Duran did as well. Carino made a diving catch at third and Perez stopped a hard grounder up the middle. Miller saved his for last when i nthe seventh he made a spectacular play to stop a hard grounder. A run scored cut Monrovia’s lead to 4-3, but it’s a whole new ball game if the ball reaches right field.
“I thought that was a big a play as there was,” Blackmore said.
Chris Burkholder pitched a great game into the fifth and Brad Felty got the Wildcats through the seventh.
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Temple City (22-3-1) also is playing well at the right time, and it’s evident by production from throughout its lineup.
First it was the bottom of the lineup that put together clutch hits against Kaiser in the opening round. Freshman Gabriel Juarez, sophomore Cameron Legrand and senior Calvin Copping helped start rallies that produced the go-ahead runs. On Tuesday, it was the top of the lineup that produced against Don Lugo. This time it was Jonah Jarrard, Corey Copping and Kyle Starling that helped Temple City build an early 2-0 lead. The Rams won, 3-2, to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals at Granite Hills (22-5) of Apple Valley.
“We’re putting together a complete team effort,” Temple City coach Barry Bacon said. “We’re relying on the Copping (twins) pitching but getting good timely hitting as well. We’re getting a nice, balanced attack.”
Another top performer is sophomore Bobby Hubble. The junior varsity call-up twice has scored go-ahead runs. His speedy legs have wreaked havoc on the base paths.
Bacon brought Hubble up from the JV team along with some other players. The objective was more about having extra bodies than anything else.
“I brought those guys to be in this playoff experience,” Bacon said. “Since we had such a small squad it’s nice to have extra bodies on the bench. We’re kind of prepping for next year.”
Hubble’s taken advantage of the opportunity, but it started in the nonleague portion of the Rams’ season. Tubble was on varsity when Temple City was in Las Vegas and played against Highland in Palmdale. It was there when he showed his worth, and it’s why he’ll be in line to replace Benji Sanderson at center field next year.
“I just like his baseball instincts,” Bacon said. “He’s smart on the bases.”
Hubble’s success, however, couldn’t have happened without the opportunity, as in his teammates getting on base first.
“Hubble scored two key runs for us but it really is all the other guys getting to that position because Legrand stole second base against Kaiser (before Hubble came in to pinch-run),” Bacon said. “So Cameron set that up. Then Gabriel Juarez drew a walk and went to second on a sacrifice, and then I put in Bobby.”
The epitome of team effort.