Fourth Round Playoffs Roundup
By Andrew Smith
San Diego (6/3/2014) – When the initial seedings came out for the San Diego C.I.F. Division III section championships there was a lot of head-scratching going around the county that went with it. Many believe the committee spent too much time deciphering the Division I (3 hours) brackets that they were mentally fatigued at that point and just went with what sounded good.
Wayne and Garth weren’t available for comment at time of press, but one of their Top-10 list would’ve done D3 voters’ suffice.
Case-in-point Santana was given the #1 seed out of a terrible Grossmont Valley League. No problem with Mount Carmel getting the number two seed…but Canyon Crest at (13-15) the #3?! I don’t care if you’re playing the Yankees in their prime every day…you can’t lose your way into a first round bye when other teams have better credentials.
“Apparently if you play against a bunch of big schools and lose to them you get rewarded in the end when you play down to smaller schools in the playoffs,” Christian head coach Mike Mitchell fumed after learning his team had to play a play-in game as a 5-seed and then face their arch-nemesis Francis Parker after that.
The Lancers (21-10) are simply on a roll right now. With or without butter there’s no denying what they’ve accomplished in their playoff run after serving their way to the Division III Championship Game on Friday at USD by beating Santana (22-12) for the second time in four days 6-1.
“No one expected us to be where we are right now,” a happy Lancers’ skipper DAVID GLASSEY said after the victory. “A lot of people didn’t think we could do what we did, so it’s a great feeling.”
After heavy scouting…Parker’s main plan was to put the ball in play and force Santana to make plays defensively. The second train of thought was to make the Sultans’ ace Alan Strong throw as many pitches as possible and look to take the ball right back up the middle.
In the top of the fourth, Parker was just trying to take the lead, but came up on some fool’s gold, plating 5 runs thanks to timely hitting and a couple Santana guitar solos that went oh so wrong that it could never be labeled “Smooth,” like his
NATE GLASSER singled to shortstop and HAYDEN HASTINGS sacrificed him to second base, but the catcher flung the ball down the right field line to plate a run. JONATHAN VIZCAINO laced one of his three hits on the day to right field and it was misplayed for an another error to plating a second run and so went Santana’s fourth inning.
JAKE WIEGAND singled to shortstop and Vizcaino scored on the catcher’s second error of the inning. AUSTIN ROGERS walked and NICK ALLEN singled to center field giving Parker all the runs they would eventually need.
“Jake (Wiegand) pitched really well and Johnny (Vizcaino) is throwing the ball better than I’ve ever seen him throw all year,” admitted Glassey. “We have set ourselves up in the perfect position for a chance at a title and hopefully on Friday we’ll make that dream come true.”
Bonita Vista 4, Santa Fe Christian 3 (10 inn) – It was a heart-breaking loss for the Eagles (23-6) down at Baron Park on Tuesday. They led 2-1 into the bottom of the sixth until a couple of doubles by Bonita Vista (21-11) tied the game at 2-2, eventually leading to extra innings.
Santa Fe Christian finally jumped out in front in the top of the 10th thanks to a walk to COLE WEAVER and a potential game-winning RBI-double by GARY SAGGESE which put the Eagles up 3-2.
But not so fast…
A lead off walk for the Barons turned into a sacrifice bunt putting the tying run on 2nd with one out. SFC coach DON MITCHELL didn’t think twice about intentionally walking Bonita Vista best hitter Esteban Velasco with the game on the line.
However, thanks to the home plate umpire the two teams will meet again on Thursday with a trip to the San Diego Section Division II Championship on the line after calling a “questionable” or as others put it a “home job” balk to put the winning run on second.
“Their batter yelled for a timeout and everyone thought that was the case except the home plate umpire who never granted it to him,” Mitchell said after dumbfound. “Our pitcher casually stepped off and the ump called it. That was the absolute game-changer because the winning run went to second.”
The Eagles had won 12 straight entering this contest, but afterward they could blame themselves as much as the umpiring crew as the flew out 13 times and were struck out another 8 to make up 21 of their 30 outs.
Good news is…if they win Thursday with their backs against the walls they still have the chance to rectify things and bring home a Division II Championship trophy back to Solano Beach along with them.