Redlands East Valley right fielder Alphonzo Mancinas wore eyeblack and sunglasses Tuesday afternoon. It didn’t help one bit trying to catch fly balls on a windy, sunny day in a Southern Section Division 1 second-round home playoff game against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
“The sun is horrible,” he said. “Ridiculous.”
And he was on the winning team.
Notre Dame never fully recovered from giving up four runs in the first inning when its outfielders couldn’t handle sun or wind in a 5-4 loss to the Wildcats.
The Knights fought back to tie the score in the top of the seventh when Lucas Gordon delivered a one-out, pinch-hit RBI triple and Drew Littwin contributed a two-strike squeeze bunt.
But Notre Dame, which committed five errors, enabled Redlands East Valley to put a runner on second because of a throwing error. Then pinch-runner Peter Roldan, the fastest player in the program and making his varsity debut after playing junior varsity all season, stole third and scored the walk-off run when the throw went into left field.
“It was my first time playing on varsity and they don’t know my speed,” Roldan said.
Notre Dame’s loss ended the four-year career of Hunter Greene, a candidate to be the No. 1 pick in next month’s baseball draft. He went hitless in four at-bats. Mancinas finished three for three.
Redlands East Valley will get to host Santa Ana Mater Dei in Friday’s quarterfinals. Mater Dei defeated Goleta Dos Pueblos 12-2. Jonathan Schiffer and Maxwell Foxcroft hit home runs.
Riverside North was down 8-2 in the sixth inning before rallying to defeat West Covina South Hills 10-8. North will play host to Corona, which defeated Vista Murrieta 5-4. Jayden Kiernan hit a two-run, two-out home run in the sixth inning.
Nick Pratto threw a shutout and hit a two-run home run as No. 1-seeded Huntington Beach defeated Anaheim Servite 3-0, and will host Placentia El Dorado, which defeated Dana Hills 6-0. Jesse Lopez went four for four for the Golden Hawks.
No. 2-seeded Lake Forest El Toro defeated La Puente Bishop Amat 3-2. Pitcher Jake Jackson entered in the seventh to get a strikeout with the tying run at third to end the game. El Toro will host Santa Ana Foothill, a 4-1 winner over Cerritos Gahr.