Extra innings not enough to get Wildcats past Mira Costa in first round


West Ranch baseball traveled south to take on Mira Costa in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs on Friday afternoon.

In a game that featured seven combined base hits and 15 strikeouts, the Mustangs managed to get the 2-1 win in nine innings to advance to the second round.

“I thought we were pretty offensive, certainly compared to our opponent, “ said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. “It’s just one of those weird things. I thought we had a good game plan, but baseball is a weird game and sometimes it doesn’t go in your favor.”

In the first inning, Mira Costa’s Chase Meidroth hit a single, stole second and advanced to third after a fielder’s choice groundout. Wildcats pitcher Alex Burge threw an errant pitch that allowed Meidroth to score from third for the game’s first run.

Heading into the top of the fifth, the Wildcats (19-10) were able to get runners on base after a walk by Justin Bumgarner and a single by Ryan Farr.

Bumgarner later advanced to third on a wild pitch and soon after scored on a sacrifice groundout by Ryan Camacho to tie the game at 1-1.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill opted to sub out pitcher Alex Burge, who ended the game giving up one run on one hit and struck out seven, in favor of Cade Nicol.

Nicol was able to strike out three of the next eight batters he faced through the bottom of the eighth inning, only giving up one base hit and a walk.

With Chris Stefanos’ double to lead off the top of the ninth inning, things looked like they were going in the Wildcats’ favor after a wild pitch allowed Stefanos to advance to third with no outs.

Garrett Monheim grounded out to first and next up was Evan Gellatly, who reached base on a fielder’s choice. The Wildcats couldn’t nab the go-ahead run, though, as Stefanos was tagged out at home plate.

After an intentional walk to Bumgarner, Ryan Farr hit a line drive that was caught for the third out and last at-bat that the Wildcats would get.

Mira Costa’s Vince Malcolm came on to pinch run after a walk to Joey Acosta. Stealing second and then scoring on a walk-off error by Wildcats’ Ryan Farr after an awkward sac-bunt, the Mustangs (28-3) took the game.

Cade Nicol went two innings, giving up one hit, walking two and striking out three batters.

Will Chambers and Ryan Farr ended the game 1-for-3 and Chris Stefanos and Ryan Camacho both went 1-for-4, with Camacho getting the Wildcats’ only RBI of the game.

“Every last game of the year, we say our ‘goodbyes’ to our seniors and of course there’s a lot of tears and hugs in every direction. But we don’t think we deserved to lose that game, that was the message to them after the game. In some ways it mirrors life.” Burrill said.

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