Damien scores on wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh to beat Charter Oak, 2-1; South Hills 8, Chino Hills 1; Claremont 3, Ayala 2

By John Honell, Correspondent
LA VERNE – Do the little things and good things will happen is the mantra of every high school coach in America.

It took seven attempts but the Damien High School baseball team finally did the little things in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 2-1 win over Charter Oak on Wednesday.

The win gave the Spartans (12-8-1, 6-5-1) a 1 1/2-game lead over the Chargers for third place in the Sierra League standings.

“I tell my boys it’s better to be lucky than good,” Spartans coach Al Leyva said. “(Charter Oak) is a quality team and today we were just lucky.”

Eric Quezada walked to lead off the seventh inning and Kevin Hindes sacrificed him to second. Kevin Macedo was hit by a pitch. Then, with two outs,Quezada stole third on 2-1 count against David Banuelos. He scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

“I gave (Quezada) the green light,” Leyva said. “The third baseman was playing way back and Eric has good speed. I didn’t think there was any way (the catcher) could throw him out and my thought was maybe he throws one away and we sneak one in.

“But we end up getting a wild pitch so it worked out for us.”

Sophomore Grant Hockin went the distance for his fifth win. He walked two and gave up two hits.

“My goal is to complete every game,” Hockin said. “I just stuck with my gameplan to keep the ball low and throw strikes. My pitches were everything I wanted today. I felt like I had my best stuff today but it was a tough game all the way to the end.”

The Chargers (12-8, 5-7) scored first in the top of the third inning.

Daniel Vasquez led off with a double, the Chargers’ first hit, and went to third on a ground ball to short. Then, with the infield playing in, he scored on a ground out by Nohlan Hernandez.

“He made a mental mistake going on the ground ball in front of him,” Chargers coach Tom Quinley said. “But, he was going on contact when he was on third and we made it work out.”

The Chargers wasted a gutsy pitching performance by starter Mac Lupton.

The Spartans got the leadoff runner on base in every inning but didn’t score until the bottom of the sixth.

Chad Lee, who walked leading off the sixth, was the final hitter against Lupton.

Jon Reid came in and was greeted by back-to-back singles by Banuelos and Chad Hockin to drive in Lee with the tying run.

It looked like it could be a big inning for the Spartans, but Reid got a strikeout and Vasquez picked Banuelos off second.”

“We didn’t execute today,” Leyva said. “They ended up turning three double plays off the bunt. We had the leadoff runner on in every inning and we couldn’t get him over to second and get that key hit.

“We’ll go back to the drawing board and get it going. Other than that last inning, we ran ourselves out of almost every inning. Grant kept us close and we found a way to hang in there.”

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  • SH fan

    South Hills 8 Chino Hills 1

  • Pitching or Hitting?

    Does anyone know why Damien is not hitting better?
    Is the pitching they are facing just that good?
    After all they have one of the best hitting instructors to ever coach the game.
    Who knows what up here?

  • sgvbaby

    Damien was up against a tough kid from C.O. from what I saw he was 88-90top. Sierra pitching is tough.

  • wondering

    Maybe they are not very good hitters to begin with. But i bet they are learning how to compete. Isn’t that what life is about

  • Manny Reynoso

    The pitching in the Sierra League is tough. For instance, Claremont has two starters that can throw in the low 90’s, this is better than some of the community colleges in the area.

  • LOL

    Little Skippy is not a hitting ooach. The worst in the SGV. Period. And he sucked as a player and never won the BIG one at Citrus.

  • wondering


    sorry to hear that he probably cut you!

  • Averages?


    Agree with LOL. You have no clue dude

    Isn’t Damien pounding the ball? Ask yourself why is Skippy at Damien? Hitting coach? Grandson?This guy hides in the dugout when he decides to show up.

    Here at Damien the talent is here. They seem to be bringing out the best? Love that 30 day rule…

    I heard fishing and golf may be in order for old washed up farts like this? The hammer needs to fall. Little Albert better wake up….

  • You have No leadeship at Damien Baseball. Just got word about what Al Leyva feels about the seniors st Damien. If thats what he thinks, he needs to go. Your pay $7,000 a year and you have that BS, no way, he’s got to go.

  • sgvhitters

    I’m not surprised, He’s an ass. Great talent, no coaching.

  • lol

    WOW, the truth comes out. Tell me how you really feel coach…

  • DHSB

    Is it true that Coach Leyva called its Varsity team a Bunch of Pussys? The only pussy is Coach Leyva.