One week ago, Austin Hernandez’s walk-off RBI single lifted West Ranch to an extra-inning win over Valencia High and into the driver’s seat for a Foothill League title.
Seven days later…
“The rematch,” said Wildcats coach Casey Burrill, whose team didn’t record a hit until the fourth inning Tuesday but still managed to overcome Woodbridge of Irvine, 6-3, to advance to today’s Ryan Lemmon Invitational championship game at 7 p.m. at Ryan Lemmon Stadium in Irvine.
Valencia (12-5) routed Golden Valley, 14-3, in the tournament’s other semifinal Tuesday, setting up another meeting of two red-hot teams.
The Vikings have scored 25 runs in their last two games.
West Ranch has won 11 in a row.
Indeed, not even three errors and a fourth-inning deficit could derail the Wildcats.
West Ranch (12-3) slogged through the early going Tuesday before exploding for four runs in the bottom of the fifth, Garrett Monheim providing the final blow with an RBI single.
Monheim, who finished 2-for-3, also had the Cats’ first hit, a fourth-inning single.
“We’re pleased that we didn’t stop,” Burrill said. “We kept working hard and felt like we were still in the game. Then we got a flurry of hits and the next thing you know, the score kind of flipped.”
Righty Dom Eberle pitched the final 3 2/3 innings for the Cats, allowing two hits and two walks but no runs.
Burrill said after the game that he would start ace Timmy Josten in the championship game.
Back on March 29, the Wildcats trailed Valencia 2-0 heading to the bottom of the seventh before Evan Gellatly’s two-run single tied the score and forced extra innings.
West Ranch’s win put it in first place of the Foothill League at 5-0. Valencia finished the first rotation of league 4-1.
The teams, which finished as co-champions last year, weren’t scheduled to meet again until May 9.
Golden Valley (6-8) will play Woodbridge at 6:30 p.m. today at Windrow Community Park.
Saugus 3, Canyon of Anaheim 1
Garett Lite threw a complete-game three-hitter Tuesday for the Centurions in a Ryan Lemmon Invitational consolation game.
Lite struck out four. Brandyn Cruz had two hits and three RBIs.
Saugus (6-12) plays the winner of Irvine and J.W. North of Riverside today at 9:30 a.m. at Windrow Community Park in Irvine.