LCC LEARNS TO RALLY BACK THIS SEASON
San Diego Union Tribune
By John Maffei
Trailing by six runs with one out in the top of the sixth inning, La Costa Canyon was headed for its third straight loss. But the next seven batters reached base with six scoring to tie the game. Shortstop Nick Hay's first home run of the season Monday proved to be the winner as the Mavericks pulled out an improbable 8-7, 10-inning , Open Division win at Catherdral Catholic High on the first day of the 69th annual Lions Tournament.
"This team prides itself on never giving up." said LCC baseball coach Justin Machado. "It's a scrappy little group that lost its best pitcher and player to injury (Spencer Jones with a fractured elbow) eight games into the season. "But these guys really have bought into playing team baseball."
Every player in the LCC lineup reached base as the fifth-ranked Mavericks (14-5) banged out 12 hits and drew nine walks. Hays was on base four times with the homer and three walks. Catcher Austin Machado reached four times with two hits, a walk and a hit by pitch. Jake Woltman had a pair of singles and was hit by a pitch. Jake Schenk, Hays, Machado (two) and Chris Neveau drove in runs in LCC's big inning and Machado scored the tying run on a wild pitch as the Mavericks sent 10 batters to the plate.
But it took a pair of defensive gems to win the game. Hays made an outstanding throw to the plate and Machado had a great catch and tag when Cathedral Catholic (10-9) tried to steal a run in the bottom of the seventh as pinch-runner Jason Slavin attempted to score from second on an infield grounder. LCC left fielder Garrett Bavacqua made a spectacular diving catch going toward the line on Nico Ryder's liner with a runner on third in the ninth.
"What a great win and confidence builder," said Conner Kinney, who threw five shutout innings in relief to earn his third win of the season and lower his ERA to 0.33. "This team doesn't quit. We play as a family." the only problem for the Mavericks, who host Sacramento Elk Grove today is that LCC burned two starting pitchers -- Kinney and Ross Goldschlag. "But winning is worth it," Kinney said. "You play to win the game you're playing and worry about tomorrow later. "I thought I might pitch an inning, maybe two today. Never thought I'd pitch five."
Cathedral Catholic, which plays at Helix today, got a strong 4.5 inning relief effort from Cooper Rons, who struck out five and allowed just one run. Catcher Mikie Welch led the Dons with four hits, including a double, scored a run and drove in one. "I've been on both sides of games like this."said Cathedral Catholic coach Gary Remiker. "Believe me, losing stings. But it's wins like this that can launch a team." "There is still a long way to go, but we're playing better (having won six of seven coming into the game). "You want to be playing your best baseball late in the season, and I think we're getting there."