it was the game of the year in the Santa Clarity Valley, and more than 1,000 fans came out to College of the Canyons to watch Foothill League rivals Hart and Saugus play in a Southern Section Division 1 semifinal baseball game.
As expected, the two teams could not break away. For the third time this season, they had to play extra innings. In the top of the 10th, junior catcher Robert Reeves hit a home run over the right-field fence, and sidearmer reliever Sean Ward came through with 4 2/3 innings of shutout relief to lead Hart past Saugus, 3-2, in 10 innings.
"Us and Saugus _ I don't know what it is," Hart Coach Jim Ozella said. "We battle all the time."
The difference was Ward shutting down the Centurions after replacing Paul Richan in the sixth inning following an RBI double by Anthony Donatella that tied the game at 2-2. Ozella turned Ward into a sidearmer more than year ago, and his effectiveness has helped the Indians reach their first-ever Division 1 final on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino.
Hart will play Huntington Beach, a 4-0 winner over Norco.
"It means the world to me," Ward said of getting to play for a championship in his final game.