Eagles Season Ends On a Pair of Blown Calls
By Andrew Smith
Bonita (6/5/2014) – Bad umpiring or officiating is always a human element that can take place at anytime or by anyone in sports. People simply make mistakes in all walks of life no matter what the situation is or the outcome.
With that being said…Santa Fe Christian got hosed, screwed over, home-jobbed, pilfered, embezzled or whatever you want to call it in their 5-4 season-ending loss against Bonita Vista in the fifth round of the San Diego CIF Division 2 playoffs.
“It’s an absolute travesty the way the game ended,” the usually mild tempered Eagles skipper DON MITCHELL fumed after. “It’s just sad that officiating ended up deciding the game in such a negative way.”
The Eagles had a bad roll of lady luck in the first inning. Thanks to a couple of bad hops in the infield and a pair of strike out pitches from DILLON PAULSON being too filthy for the Barons’ batters and even their own catcher, that they ended up actually recording five outs in the inning.
Last Thursday, Bonita Vista only managed three hits in a 3-0 loss against Paulson, but they did their job this time by capitalizing on it, plating all 5 of their runs on three hits…all in the first.
“Even when we we’re down at that point I knew we could still win and I told all our guys that,” Mitchell added. “They won’t see home plate again just play our game and we’ll be fine.”
And they were fine…
Walks to GARY SAGGESE and LUKE BROWN in the top of the second inning followed by a TYLER STEPHENS single loaded the bases for a DEAN ELIOTT sacrifice fly, but they would only strike for one in that frame.
They trailed 5-1 until they put together a rally in the sixth after Paulson led off with a single, followed by a BRIAN BLATNICK double to center field. A sacrifice fly by TYLER LEDBETTER plated a marker and then Saggese singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Blatnick scored on a wild pitch and LUKE VANDERTIE walked to keep the rally going at 5-3.
Stephens – one of Santa Fe Christian’s fastest players on their roster – then stepped to the plate with one out and runners on first and second base. He hit a slow chopper to short and they got the lead runner as well as Stephens who seemed to have already touched the first base bag with two feet before being called out.
“I may be older in my years,” Mitchell admitted. “But I ran a 4.5 from the third base’s coaching box to first base to argue that call. It was ridiculous.”
However, the umpiring crew – not to be outdone – saved their very best for last…
The Eagles were down to their last out of the season until COLE WEAVER and Paulson hit back-to-back singles. A wild pitch moved them each up one base and the Barons decided to give Blatnik a free pass to load the bases.
As if the drama couldn’t get any higher with a trip to the San Diego CIF Division II championship game on the line it did…
Ledbetter laced a ball to center field easily scoring Weaver. Paulson, having already been pinch-ran for earlier in the contest, wasn’t allowed to re-enter again if so was the case rounded third and bowled through the catcher’s attempt of trying to block the plate, but to no avail…
Even though Paulson’s legs were already through the plate and his heiny was literally sitting on the dish before he was first tagged (we have the pictures to prove it…coming soon) the home plate ump deemed him out, ending the Eagles’ season in utter disbelief.
“In all my years of coaching I’ve never seen two of the worst calls in one game in my time,” proclaimed Mitchell who’s coaching career spans 47 years dating back to 1977. “The umpires knew it too. When I contested the call at first he didn’t have one word in response and after the final out they sprinted to their cars to avoid any confrontation.”
In the end it’s a sad ending for a team that is just flat out better than Bonita Vista and even the team they would’ve faced in the final (El Camino).