By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer
LA HABRA – It has long been said that timely hitting is an essential part of successful baseball.
That important feature served Whittier Christian High School well in Friday’s crucial Olympic League game against Heritage Christian. Senior designated hitter Josh McGee came through with the game’s biggest hit, a two-run single that helped lift the host Heralds to a 3-2 victory over Heritage Christian.
McGee’s hit capped a successful comeback by the Heralds, who overcame a 2-0 deficit after the fifth inning.
Friday’s triumph elevated Whittier Christian (13-9 overall, 5-3 in league) into first place in league.
“Any Olympic League win is a big win,” Heralds coach Brent Lavoie said. “We won at a time when we needed one. We’ve been playing nothing but close games in league. It usually comes down to one play or one pitch to decide the outcome.
“We did a good job of wanting to be the guy in the clutch position. It’s exciting to come out with a win.”
Whittier Christian started its rally in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sophomore catcher Cooper Hughes led off with an infield single, and after two consecutive groundouts advanced Hughes to third, sophomore second baseman/pitcher Mike Rubio extended the inning by drawing a walk.
Junior utility player Joseph Cobian then delivered a run-scoring single to make it 2-1.
That set the stage for McGee, who singled in two runs to make it 3-2.
“I was just hushing the butterflies and using them to my advantage,” McGee said of his clutch hit. “It felt great. I knew we were going to win. I just felt it.”
Heralds junior starting pitcher Mike Rafter, who earned the victory, scattered seven hits in six innings. Rubio, who pitched a scoreless seventh, earned the save.
Senior infielder David Clark collected a team-high two hits for Heritage Christian (12-7, 3-3). Warriors senior pitcher Jake Hasse went the distance, allowing 10 hits in six innings.
Heritage Christian took a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Clark started off the rally by reaching first base on a Whittier Christian error. He then advanced to third base on back-to-back groundouts.
Then senior shortstop Tanner Marcoe gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead with an infield single.
Hasse then helped his own cause by delivering a run-scoring double to right. Rafter, however, got out of the inning by retiring Eric Gordon on a grounder to first.
Cobian led the Heralds offensively with three hits. Rubio and sophomore outfielder J.J. Farrell each added two hits.
Whittier Christian will have a bye next week in league play. The Heralds’ next league game is scheduled for April 30 against Valley Christian.
“It was a big win,” Lavoie said. “It sets us up nicely for a firework finish in league. We get to rest up and then make a final push.”