Down by a run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and facing All-City pitcher Daniel Rocha, El Camino Real was looking for any kind of spark in a City Section Division I semifinal game on Wednesday at Birmingham High.
And it happened with a mere bunt. Dylan Hirsch put down a bunt single down the third-base line. That gave Eric Yang, the top player in the West Valley League, a chance to hit. And on Rocha's first pitch, Yang sent a fastball far over the left-field fence for a two-run home run. El Camino Real got an RBI single in the sixth from Jake Baer and went on to defeat Narbonne, 3-2.
"That was the key to the game," El Camino Real Coach Josh Lienhard said of Hirsch's bunt single. "That two-out bunt was gigantic."
The bunt set it up for Yang, who was looking for a fastball and got it.
"That's about as far as I could hit the ball," he said.
Jeremy Polon struck out 10 for El Camino Real before giving way to Matt Malconian in the seventh after surrendering two singles. The Gauchos got a run on a groundout, but the big play in the inning was Ramon Robledo trying to stretch a single into a double. He was thrown out at second.
Malconian struck out Jake Guzman with the tying run on first to end the game. El Camino Real will play the winner of the Cleveland-Chatsworth game at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Dodger Stadium.
Rocha (9-2) struck out three and gave up five hits. His only two losses this season were to El Camino Real and Polon (11-2).
"Rocha pitched amazing," Yang said.