There was so much drama, excitement and strange plays that fans, players and coaches left the Loyola High baseball diamond on Friday night searching for the right words to explain what they had just witnessed.
"That was the craziest game," Sherman Oaks Notre Dame outfielder Colin Brophy said.
"Oh, man. Oh, man," Notre Dame Coach Tom Dill mumbled in the dugout.
Just before darkness was going to force the umpires to call the game, Notre Dame pulled out a 5-3 win in 10 innings over the Cubs, allowing the Knights (21-5, 9-3) to clinch at least a share of the Mission League championship.
The drama started in the bottom of the seventh. Notre Dame had a 2-1 lead with two outs when Loyola's Awari Muoneke drove in the tying run with a single up the middle.
In the ninth, Notre Dame's Will Evans gave his team a 3-2 lead with a leadoff home run to right field.
Loyola, playing without its coach, Mike Cordero, who had to sit out the game after being ejected on Tuesday, loaded the bases with none out in the bottom of the ninth. After a bases loaded walk tied the game, 3-3, Notre Dame Coach Tom Dill brought in Jamie Robertson to pitch.
Robertson struck out the first batter, then got another out when the runner at third was thrown out at home trying to score during a rundown play. Robertson ended the inning with a groundout.
In the 10th, Notre Dame's Hunter Greene hit a double off the left-field fence with one out. After a walk, Jordan Myrow lined a single to right to score pinch runner Logan Pollack. Another run scored on a groundout for a 5-3 lead. Then weirdness happened.
Worried that the umpires might call the game, Dill told Joey Haddad to get out as soon as possible. Haddad swung and missed so early on a pitch from Loyola's Ryan Demarest that it could have been a scene from "The Three Stooges." He tried to miss on purpose.
"I never thought I'd do that in my life," Haddad said.
To speed things up even more, Notre Dame purposely got into a rundown play and forced Loyola to tag out the runner to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 10th, Robertson had a one-two-three inning to secure the victory. Notre Dame celebrated as if it had won a championship. The Knights' league season is over. Loyola (7-3) and Alemany (7-3) play a two-game series next week. If they split, Notre Dame wins the title by itself. Alemany can still gain the league's No. 1 seed if it sweeps Loyola because the Warriors own two wins over Notre Dame.
Deandre Carter came through for Notre Dame, throwing five innings of impressive relief. Brandon Posivak had three hits for Loyola. Henry Stellwagen allowed two runs in six innigs for the Cubs. Robertson threw two shutout innings to earn the win for Notre Dame.
"We were definitely down, we were definitely out," Robertson said. "But I knew this team would come through. We're a tough group of guys."