A Tough Start to 4 Straight Days of Baseball in the 68th Annual Lions Tourney
By Lynn Guerin
For Rancho Christian it was a tough start to 4 straight days of baseball in the 68th annual Lions Tourney. The Eagles played well early, and had a great chance to win in regulation going to the bottom of the seventh with a 6-4 lead.
Castle Park fought back in the bottom of the seventh with a single by Emilio Luna, who promptly stole second. Derek Diaz followed with another single off reliever Colton Bulger, putting runners at first and second. Luna tagged up and went to third on a deep fly ball by Jazz Hernandez. He scored when Ely Cruz hit a tough one hopper to Eli Goodwin who ran to first for the second out. Diaz took third on the play, Rancho 6 Castle Park 5.
A victory still seemed possible with Rancho’s best pitcher on the mound needing just one out. But a nasty breaking slider from Bulger broke in the dirt and got passed catcher Carter Treadway. Diaz raced home tying the score at 6. Bulger then proceeded to strike out Diego Martinez sending the game to extra innings.
Both teams went quietly in the eighth inning. Luna struck out the side for Castle Park and Treadway in relief of Bulger got two ground outs and a strike out to send the game to the ninth.
Bulger led off for Rancho in the the ninth with a long triple in the gap in left field. Treadway walked. Jo Jo Saatzer laid down a sacrifice bunt-his fifth bunt of the day, three of which he beat out for singles. Bulger scored on the Saatzer sacrifice but Treadway got caught between second and third and was tagged out for the second out. Danny Meraz flied to center to end the inning. Ranchos now lead 7-6, going to the bottom of the ninth.
Hernandez kept the Trojans alive with a sharp single and Cruz followed with another line single putting the winning runs on at first and second. Martinez then hit a ground ball right down the third base line and into left tying the score at 7-7. The hit parade continued and the celebration began when Jeff Villegas lined the 4th straight single, this time to right center bringing in Cruz with the game winner, Final Score- Castle Park Thrilled-Rancho Christian Stunned 8-7.
With the heartbreak, Rancho saw its record go to 5 wins and 3 losses. They will try to regain their winning ways taking on Buckley High of Sherman Oaks on Tuesday at 11 am at Bishops High.