By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN,twitter@sgvtribpreps
The Glendora High school baseball team was one out away from celebrating the outright Baseline League title and a precious guaranteed home game when the difficult CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs begin next week, but the Tartans couldn’t close the deal.
After Glendora scored twice in the sixth to take a two-run lead, visiting Etiwanda scored three times in the seventh to pull out a 4-3 victory.
The loss was somewhat bitter-sweet for Glendora because Alta Loma, the team Glendora was tied with for the Baseline league lead entering the day, also lost to Upland, 7-5.
That left Glendora (16-9, 10-5) and Alta Loma (18-7, 10-5) to share the league title, but Alta Loma will enter the Division 2 playoffs as the league top entry because of its 2-1 series edge over the Tartans.
“I didn’t know (Alta Loma lost) until you told me,” Glendora coach Dan Henley said. “We told the kids all week if you take care of your business, that’s what you’re in charge of.
“That’s what we attempted to do, but we fell a little bit short, so we’ll deal with the consequences. We know they’re a lot of good team in Division 2, so we’ll have to get this loss out of our collective memories and focus on what’s next.”
Glendora starter Wyatt Wood was sailing along through six innings. He gave up just two hits, struck out nine and the only run he allowed came on a fourth-inning, bases loaded two-out balk that allowed Eagles shortstop Tyler Robles to score to tie the game, 1-1.
The Tartans looked like they would get the win for Wood after scoring twice in the bottom of the sixth.
Glendora’s Nick Kaye singled home D.J. Peters for the go-ahead run and Johnny Juarez tripled home John Angiuli for a 3-1 lead.
Junior Matt Young took over for Wood to close the seventh and was one-out away with the Eagles’ Eddy Santana on first with two outs, but Young walked the next two batters to load the bases and fell behind 2-0 to Michael Bradley, forcing Henley to make another pitching change, bringing in sophomore Kale Morton.
Morton worked the count to 3-2 on Bradley, but the senior delivered with a single to center to bring in Santana and Austin Berglund to tie the score, 3-3.
Michael Gonzalez followed the game-winning blow, singling home Robles to push the Eagles ahead, 4-3.
Glendora didn’t go away quietly.
After the Eagles got the first two outs in the seventh, the Tartans loaded the bases on a hit batter and consecutive walks.
But Kaye, who singled home the go-ahead run earlier, hit a blooper to short to end the game.
Looking back, Henley said the decision to replace Wood was an easy one.
“Wyatt’s pitch count was up there,” Henley said “I do watch pitch counts and he’s got a chance to pitch at the next level and I don’t want to be that guy.
“To me, no game is more important than one individual. Wyatt’s got tremendous upside and it’s the first year he’s a full-time pitcher. He hasn’t pitched seven innings all season and after he gave us six, I knew that was enough.”