Redlands East Valley’s Ryan England drives in the winning run on this play, a squeeze bunt with no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning in a 4-3 victory over Yucaipa at the County Clash on Saturday at San Manuel Stadium.
It was one of several key bunts on the day for the first County Clash of the year. But more on that later.
First, let’s recap the winning rally. With the score 3-3, Zach Kirtley led off with a single and went to second when first baseman Hunter Reade was called for obstructing Kirtley on a pickoff throw to first, giving Kirtley second base. Isaac Gonzalez singled Kirtley to third. Ryan England then put down the perfect bunt on a 1-0 count.
“We have trust in all of our guys. It had to be a fastball count, because otherwise he could throw that slider down and away, which is impossible to bunt,” REV coach James Cordes said.
It capped a rally from a 3-0 deficit. A key member of that comeback was the job turned in by relief pitcher David Barela, who got the win with 6 2/3 innings of shutout relief of Jake Gozzo.
“He knew he was the first one in (relief), so he was preparing like it was a start,” Cordes said. “Jake didn’t have a good bullpen, so that’s why we took him out early.”
Said Barela:” I just wanted to keep the game close.”
Yucaipa had taken the early lead, thanks to a squeeze bunt of its own.
With the game scoreless in the second inning, Kyle Roy singled and Taylor Pelissero walked. After a successful sacrifice bunt, Seth Gill’s RBI single put Yucaipa up 1-0, and he took second on the throw to the infield. Mark Lucas then laid down a squeeze bunt that was bobbled in the infield, allowing Pelissero to score and then it was thrown away, allowing Gill to score to make it 3-0.
REV rallied in the fourth with three of its own. Marcos Vega and Zach Kirtley singled and Vega advanced to third on a fielding error. A groundout scored one run and after a flyout and a walk, Ryan Williams’ two-run double tied the score 3-3.
After bunts were critical in one REV rally and one Yucaipa rally in the last game of the day, they also played a critical role in Game 1, a Carter 6-4 San Andreas League victory over San Gorgonio.
Twice, San Gorgonio tried to get a fielder’s choice on a Carter bunt attempt, but both times the runner was safe, once in the second inning and once in the sixth. The first one, the umpire ruled that Jose Gonzalez beat the throw to third base on James Meza’s bunt attempt. In the sixth, the throw to second was off the mark on Isaias Rosales’ bunt attempt.
Both times, doubles followed: a three-run double by Rosales immediately after the bunt in the second inning and a go-ahead two-run double by Ryan Maestas.
Both times, San Gorgonio coach Bill Eatinger didn’t fault the decisions to throw to get the baserunner. The first, he argued the runner was out. On the second, he felt the throw was bad, not the decision. Either way, they didn’t get the outs and it proved costly.
The middle game, a 12-0 win by Redlands over Miller, had none of the drama of the other two games as Redlands scored in all six of its at-bats.