The count was 2-and-2 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 3-3 tie Friday in a City Section Division I baseball quarterfinal. El Camino Real's James Terrazas, batting left-handed, was at the plate. All-City pitcher Adrian Rodriguez of Birmingham was on the mound.
Birmingham had intentionally walked Eric Yang to face Terrazas, who had hit a two-run home run in the first inning. The potential winning run was on second.
Terrazas was loving every second of the drama. "I was fired up," he said.
The junior hit a line drive to the opposite field. Shortstop Ivan Lomeli dived to his right but couldn't stop the ball from heading into left, and Dylan Hirsch, El Camino Real's fastest player, raced home from second to give the Conquistadores a 4-3 victory over the defending City champions.
"You've got to give that guy credit," Birmingham Coach Matt Mowry said of Terrazas. "The pressure was on him and he stepped up."
Birmingham players also stepped up to give the No. 1-seeded Conquistadores all they could handle. The Patriots were down, 3-1, after a Colton Snyder home run, but they scored two runs in the sixth to tie the score on RBI singles by Ryan Mendoza and Alexis Miranda. It was similar to last season, when they rallied to defeat Kennedy, 4-3, in the quarterfinals.
Rodriguez, who threw a complete game Tuesday, replaced Isaac Meza in the sixth and got the Patriots out of a jam. He seemed ready to send the game into the eighth, but Hirsch got a two-out double to set the stage for a dramatic victory.
"I was looking for something outside and got the pitch," Terrazas said.
Matthew Malconian threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win.
It was the final game for Rodriguez, last season's City player of the year, who came in with a 1.22 earned-run average during the playoffs the last two seasons. He hugged Mowry in the dugout afterward, tears visible on his face.
"He's one of the best pitchers to ever come out of our program," Mowry said.
El Camino Real will face Narbonne on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the semifinals at Birmingham. It will be a battle of All-City left-handers — Jeremy Polon of El Camino Real vs. Daniel Rocha of Narbonne.
Narbonne defeated Hamilton, 8-0, behind a shutout from Bryan Correa. Rocha went four for four.
Cleveland advanced to the 6 p.m. semifinal with a 4-1 win over Granada Hills. Sophomore Sam Villa threw a complete game and hit a two-run home run.
The Cavaliers will face No. 2 Chatsworth, a 10-0, five-inning winner over Banning. Tommy Palomera threw the shutout. Jeryd Reuss had three hits and four RBIs and Tyger Goslin had two hits and three RBIs.