By Steve Ramirez
COVINA – When it comes to pitching, Adrian De Horta is usually money for the South Hills High School baseball team.
The senior showed Thursday he can also be clutch with a bat in his hands.
De Horta went 3 for 4, including a key two-run triple to highlight a four-run sixth inning to help the Huskies to a 7-4 victory over Charter Oak in a Sierra League game.
South Hills, also getting two hits and an RBI from Niko Contreras, improved to 15-5 overall and 7-2 in league play to hold onto first place. De Horta also gave up four runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts in six innings.
Nick Hernandez had two RBIs and Ross Barrera had two hits for the Chargers, who slipped to 7-9 and 3-6.
“It’s a big win for us,” South Hills coach Kevin Smith said. “You have to give the kids at Charter Oak a ton of credit. They battled their butts off today. I knew they were going to come back. Adrian wasn’t his best today. But he battled and had the big hit for us in the sixth inning.
“I’m pleased with that. I just thought we were a little flat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the win, the way we came back. I just don’t think we should have been in that situation. That’s what frustrates me. But it was a great high school baseball game.”
Charter Oak, which rallied for an 8-7 victory over South Hills here in March, looked like it might do it again, overcoming an early 2-0 deficit with a run in the fourth and fifth innings.
But South Hills, like good teams usually do, came right back, scoring four in the sixth.
The Huskies, following singles by Clayton Pearson and Adam Goss, took a 3-2 advantage on a sacrifice fly by Gabriel Chavez. De Horta, after David Denson was intentionally walked, then came up big, driving a triple off the center field fence to push it to 5-2. Anthony Muniz followed with a single for a 6-2 lead.
“When they walked David, I took it as I have to bring in the run and help the team out,” De Horta said. “I was looking first-pitch fastball, and that’s what he gave me.
“It was a little up and I was able to get enough of the bat on it.”
Charter Oak didn’t cave. Elias Maldonado walked and Ian Evans was hit by a pitch before two-run double by Hernandez made it 6-4. But De Horta got Kory Brown to fly out and Barrera to ground out to end the threat.
“It’s fun playing those guys,” Charter Oak coach Tom Quinley said. “There a heck of a team. What I liked was that our competitive juices were out today.
“Our kids fought hard today. We did a lot of things right, and if we get a couple of more hits, it could have been a different ball game.”
Denson retired the Chargers in order in the seventh to win it.
“This team just battles back,” De Horta said. “Every time a team answers, we try to answer back and that’s what we (did today).”
By Steve Ramirez