By Clay Fowler, Staff Writer
On a couple of occasions in the San Dimas High School baseball team’s key Valle Vista League contest against first-place Covina on Friday, Matt Lee couldn’t have imagined there would be any vital defensive plays to be made in the last inning. The first came when the senior watched his first-inning grand slam sail over the left-field fence, and the second when he was pitching with an eight-run lead after two innings.
Nevertheless, Lee snared a line drive in the seventh inning to help retire Covina in order for the first time since the first inning and preserve a 10-9 victory for San Dimas that put the Saints into a tie for first place.
San Dimas (15-8-1, 7-1) led 10-2 after batting around in each of the first two innings, but Covina (13-8, 6-1) chipped away until a grand slam by Ramses Nava in the fourth inning pulled Covina within a run. The no-doubter by Nava, who finished 2 for 3 with five RBIs, completed a five-run inning for Covina.
After Covina’s lead runner reached base in both the fifth and sixth innings, San Dimas escaped unscathed. Lee, playing first base after his outing on the mound ended courtesy of Nava’s grand slam, caught a leadoff line drive in the seventh that was, appropriately, hit by Nava.
“This was kind of a must-win for us,” San Dimas coach Mike Regan said of the first of two meetings with Covina. “We threw some runs up but they battled back. We knew they wouldn’t give up.”
San Dimas’ early onslaught was fueled by right fielder Joel Celaya, who was 3 for 3 with two RBIs, and third baseman Brandon Yepiz, who was 4 for 4 with a pair of runs scored.
Center fielder Bobby Fraijo was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI in a second inning in which Covina walked in a pair of runs.
Covina starter James Comaroto, who was pulled just five batters into the game, gave up five runs – four earned – on three hits and a walk.
Lee, who unexpectedly pitched two innings of a nine-inning victory over Nogales on Thursday, allowed nine runs – four earned – on six hits and two walks. The senior nearly escaped the fourth inning, but with two outs an infield single, an error and a hit batter preceded Nava’s grand slam.