Out of sheer excitement, Albert Einstein Academy baseball coach Marcello Imbert grabbed the faces of Sam Stulman and Ian Sockett and gave them each a kiss on the cheek.
No one on the team knew what to do with his emotions after the Rockets came back for a dramatic 4-3 win in the ninth inning to beat Santa Clarita Christian on Friday at the Hart complex.
“Einstein baseball has arrived,” Imbert said.
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Down 3-1 entering the top of the ninth inning, Phillip Stulman’s sacrifice fly scored Sam Stulman to bring Einstein (3-0) within one run.
Then, with two runners on base, Sockett singled to send both home and end the game. It was his first base hit of the season.
“In the end, I just looked for the down-the-middle pitch and I crushed it,” Sockett said. “I was just trying to concentrate on the pitcher, keep all the noise out, concentrate. He threw me a strike and I hit it.”
For the first half of the game, it was a battle of pitchers.
Sam Stulman pitched six innings, before being pulled due to CIF pitch limits, and recorded 14 strikeouts.
“I was just doing it for my team,” Stulman said. “I thought I was executing. I was pitching for my team because I knew that they … would back me up so I wanted to make it easy for them and get the strikeouts.”
SCCS pitcher Noah Dent pitched seven innings and recorded eight strikeouts before Ryan Franchimone took over.
Franchimone didn’t just take over on the mound, however. His two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning put the Cardinals (1-2) ahead 3-1.
“He’s our biggest power hitter and for him to get one like that and give us the lead and then come in and pitch the way he did to really lock in and dominate when he’s on the mound (was great),” said SCCS coach Garrick Moss.
The two teams meet again on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Hart complex. The Cardinals will be the home team.