Trailing 6-0 in the sixth and with Diamond Bar pitcher Henry Omana cruising with a one-hit shutout, the Bulldogs scored eight runs in the sixth to take the lead, and win it in extra innings on a bases-loaded walk, 9-8.
By Fred J. Robledo
West Covina High School baseball coach Drew Lorenger gave the old, “our kids never stopped believing,” explanation after a wild come-from-behind win, but how else could he explain it?
With Diamond Bar senior pitcher Henry Omana returning after breaking his foot two weeks ago and throwing a one-hit shutout through five innings with ten strikeouts, the Bulldogs looked totally deflated, especially after the Brahmas appeared to break it open with four runs in the sixth to go up 6-0.
But the Bulldogs chipped away and eventually knocked out Omana in the bottom half of the sixth and by the time the marathon inning was over, eight runs had crossed to give the Bulldogs an improbable two-run lead.
After the Brahmas rallied to tie it in the seventh with a pair of runs, the Bulldogs won it in the eighth inning after Brahmas pitcher Michael Pachuca walked Aaron Salgado with the bases loaded to force in D.J. Larios for the game-winning run and a 9-8 Bulldogs victory.
West Covina (8-10, 5-2) moved into sole possession of second in the Hacienda League with the win over the CIF-Southern Section Division 3s fourth-ranked Brahmas (12-5-2, 4-3). (To continue click thread)
Just last week West Covina beat Los Altos 7-1, a team that is a half game back of the Bulldogs for second place at 12-7 and 4-2.
Of course everyone is chasing top-ranked Bonita (19-1, 7-0), but Lorenger likes the big steps his Bulldogs have taken to stay in the title hunt and playoff chase.
“We’ve had a super tough schedule all year,” Lorenger said. “Every loss we’ve played the good teams really tough. Last week beating Los Altos was step one, and this was step two. I can’t tell you how big this is for our confidence.”
Omana left the game in the sixth after giving up back-to-back singles, hitting a batter and walking another. He exited with a 6-1 lead and the bases loaded and no outs.
In what Lorenger playfully described as their “bases loaded” offense, the Bulldogs chipped away with five more runs to tie the score without hitting the ball out of the infield.
The Bulldogs tied the game, 6-6, on two infield singles, a ground-out, error and a walk.
David Garcia kept the rally going by singling to right to drive in Andrew Berni for the go-ahead run and Michael Najera singled in Larios for an 8-6 lead.
Brahmas coach Eric Shibley just shook his head.
“Crazier things have happened,” Shibley said. “But this was pretty wild. That’s two games in a row we’ve come into the sixth with a lead and blown it, and for what it’s worth, you have to give credit to the other team.
“But let’s be honest, three or four balls don’t get out of the infield and they end up scoring five runs? They put the ball in play and did what they had to do, but I certainly wouldn’t bet on that happening again, but it happened.”
Diamond Bar’s Zeph Walters two-run double scored Tommy Delgadillo and Taylor Cavazos in the seventh to send it to extra innings, 8-8, but the Bulldogs closed it out in the eighth by loading the bases and drawing the walk to bring in the winning run.
“We’ve been telling our kids all year even when we were losing games that they’re good,” Lorenger said. “Sometimes you need wins like this to believe it. You can talk about it all you want, but eventually you have to win these games and today was a big one against a very good pitcher.”