By Steve Ramirez Staff Writer
South Hills High School stayed in the hunt for the Sierra League baseball title Tuesday.
But their was another reason why Huskies’ coach Kevin Smith was happy about the 3-2 victory over visiting Charter Oak “We’re just trying to win out,” said South Hills coach Kevin Smith said. “It’s important (to win a league title). But were also trying to gain some momentum for the playoffs, because that’s what you work for (all season).
“Charter Oak is a good ball club. They played Chino Hills tough, and right now were (tied with Chino Hills). I feel a little relieved that we got a win today.”
The Huskies, getting two RBIs from junior Tyler France and a solid effort from pitcher Adrian DeHorta, improved to 19-4 overall and 11-3 in the Sierra League. They began the day tied for first with Chino Hills, which was at Ayala.
Charter Oak, which got RBI singles from Tyler Bailey and A.T. De La Garza, slipped to 10-13 and 6-8.
“(DeHorta) threw a heckuva game,” Charter Oak coach Tom Quinley said. “It seemed like the last three innings he was throwing all fastballs. I thought we might connect with a few, but we just didn’t.”
DeHorta scattered 10 hits and turned away one-out rallies in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. He also had five strikeouts.
The key inning came in the fourth when Charter Oak, trailing 3-2, loaded the bases with one out following singles by Nick Hernandez and Travis Santiago and a walk to Jonathan Wickham.
But DeHorta struck out De La Garza before inducing Aaron Henry to ground out.
“We preach on him to retire the first man in the inning,” Smith said. “He did that, but then he got in trouble every inning, even the umpire mentioned that to me. He said, ‘Wow, you get the first out of the inning, and it’s almost a curse.’
“It was just one of those games. (Charter Oak) really battled. They are a good club.”
The Chargers took the early lead, going up 1-0 in the first on an RBI single by Bailey.
South Hills countered with two runs in the bottom of the inning on an sacrifice fly by France and an RBI double by Jeff Moran.
Charter Oak tied it at 2 on an RBI single by De La Garza. Tyler France’s RBI single in the third gave South Hills the lead.
Oscar Montenegro kept the Chargers in the game, finishing with a five-hitter and striking out two. He retired seven of the final 11 batters, including getting help from a pair of doubleplays.
But Charter Oak couldn’t take advantage. The Chargers were thwarted by DeHorta, who also turned away chances in the fifth and sixth before before leaving with one out in the seventh following a single by Mike Philp.
C.J. Saylor then put away his catching gear to pick up the save after striking out Kory Brown and getting Bailey on a ground out.
“I’m blessed to have kids like C.J., like Ty, like Dominick (Martinez),” Smith said. “I’m really blessed to have these type of athletes. I can be hard on them, and they take it.”