Hot Colts:The Covina High School baseball team got its second consecutive complete game from a senior pitcher to take a commanding 3 1/2-game lead in the Valle Vista League race. Jason Martinez improved his record to 4-0 and the Colts defense turned four double plays behind him Thursday as Covina knocked off Baldwin Park, 8-4.
South Hills, Charter Oak game story …
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
After dropping a pair of fly balls the previous inning — one on a difficult play on the dead run, the other slipping off his glove fighting the sun, South Hills left-fielder Michael Dlugos returned to the dugout and heard a mouthful from Huskies coach Kevin Smith.
Or were they words of encouragement?
“I guess you can say that,” Dlugos smirked. “In his own kind of way, I’d say.”
Whatever was said, Dlugos responded with a grand slam on his next at bat, a towering shot to left in the fifth inning that proved the difference in South Hills’ 7-3 victory over host Charter Oak on Thursday.
It was Dlugos’ first homer, and it helped South Hills (7-3, 3-2) stay among the Sierra League leaders and move into a second-place tie with Charter Oak (6-3, 3-2).
South Hills took a 3-1 lead scoring three times in the second — all with two outs. Daniel Ramos and Danny Sheehan’s consecutive doubles drove in a run each, and Dominick Martinez’s single scored another.
Charter Oak got one back in the fourth, but blew an opportunity to tie or take the lead.
The Chargers’ Tyler Bailey hit a one-out bloop fly to left that Dlugos couldn’t come up with, then Nick Hernandez followed with an easy fly to left that Dlugos just dropped.
Although Jonathan Wickham’s single scored Bailey to trim the Huskies’ lead to 3-2, Huskies pitcher Ty France, who had just replaced C.J. Saylor, got a big strikeout with the bases loaded to get out of the inning.
It was a key out, because Duglos redeemed himself with a grand slam that broke the game wide open in the fifth for a 7-2 lead.
“We’re trying to shore up some areas on defense, and I thought those two balls he (Dlugos) probably should have caught (in the fourth),” Smith said. “He didn’t, but I give him some kudos because he didn’t put his head down, he came back and hit the grand slam and took he pressure off.
“That’s baseball, one minute you’re in the outhouse, the next you’re in the penthouse.”
Charter Oak had multiple chances to get back in it.
France walked the first two batters in the fifth, but got out of it with a fly out and double play.
France gave up a walk and base hit to start the sixth, but fought himself out with back-to-back strikeouts and a ground out.
Then France really dug himself a hole in the bottom of the seventh, giving up a double to Mike Philp followed by two straight hits, one that scored Philp to trim the Huskies’ lead to 7-3, leaving the bases loaded with no outs and bringing the tying run to the plate.
But again, France answered with back-to-back strikeouts and a fly out to close it.
“We had chances the last three innings to go ahead,” Chargers coach Tom Quinley said. “We had chances before they hit the granny, but their pitchers came through and got timely outs when they needed them. That’s all there was to it.”