With rain coming down, the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Hart baseball’s Rocco Saldivar approached the plate.
“I was just trying to stay relaxed,” said Saldivar. “…My main thing was just to breathe and keep myself calm just so I can get a good pitch and try to hit the ball.
“But it ended up hitting me.”
The ball made contact with Saldivar’s knee, which consequently forced Josh Cerpa across home plate and earned the Indians a 3-2 win over West Ranch in their Foothill League opener at home on Wednesday.
Hart (3-5 overall, 1-0 in Foothill League) stormed the out of the dugout to celebrate, then was shooed off while the officials conferred. Moments later, however, they were on the field to stay.
“I’ll have to go with the second one,” said Indians pitcher Ryan Carolan of which was the superior celebration. “We knew it was a done deal.”
Carolan gave up three hits and recorded six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of work. Pat Arman struck out three and allowed no hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
For the Wildcats, JD Callahan pitched six innings that saw five hits and five strikeouts before Alex Burge took over in the seventh.
“I thought it was a pitcher’s duel,” said Cats coach Casey Burrill. “Probably neither pitcher deserved to get a loss today. They’re both very effective, kept all the batters off balance and I thought it was a really well-pitched baseball game.”
West Ranch (6-2, 0-1) was the first to dent the scoreboard in the fourth inning when Will Chambers grounded out to first as Jovan Camacho headed home.
Hart evened it up in the bottom of the inning, scoring on an error, then took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning on a Cole Roederer homer that went over the fence.
“Cole’s homer just turned the tables,” Carolan said. “They kind of had the ball a little bit and his home run kind of just turned the tables and got the energy back to our side.”
Camacho tied the game once more, earning a run on an error in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Hart’s Josh Cerpa singled in the seventh, then stole second and advanced to third on an error to set the scene for the Indians’ game-winning run.
“I thought we were very competitive today,” said Hart coach Jim Ozella. “Guys just stepped it up late in the game.
“…If the game is on the line, you’ve got to learn to step up. You can’t keep failing. You can’t keep stepping away from the situation. Here’s your opportunity to shine … You’ve got to love playing in a tight game.”
Canyon 5, Golden Valley 4
The Cowboys’ Tyler DeYoung went 1-for-3 with an RBI triple. Cebastian Arriaga went 2-for-2 with an RBI, while CJ Dowell went 1-for-2 with an RBI. Charles Harrison pitched seven innings, striking out 10 batters.
Canyon moves to 5-3 overall and 1-0 in league with the win. It will next host Valencia on Friday, while the Grizzlies (4-2, 0-1) next plays Hart at home.