Baseball: Umpire appeal gives Serrano 2-1 win in Division 4 final

Controversial umpire decision ends win over South Torrance

In one of the strangest endings you can have in baseball, Serrano waited several minutes to launch a victory celebration on Saturday in the Southern Section Division 4 final against South Torrance at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino.

The scene played out like this: With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh of a 1-1 tie, Daniel Brodie of Serrano hit a ground ball to second baseman Josh Rotuna, who flipped the ball to shortstop Kawika Hubbell for the forceout at second. Hubbell then threw the ball to first baseman Matthew Diederich to complete a double play and send the game into extra innings.


But soon after South Torrance players left the field, Serrano Coach Joe Knowlton appealed that Diederich's foot had come off the bag. The four umpires convened near the pitcher's mound and decided Brodie was safe, overruling the original out call. That caused Serrano players to come out of the dugout and celebrate a 2-1 victory.

"It looked clear the first baseman came off the bag," Knowlton said.

South Torrance Coach Grady Sain wasn't so sure but did his best afterward to show class and sportsmanship. He seemed most upset that the baserunner sliding into second was not cited for interference on the throw to first.

"It's part of sports," he said. "That doesn't take away from the competitiveness of this game. Both sides weren't giving an inch."

South Torrance (25-9) had tied the game in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with none out and scoring on a high throw to first. Then Serrano came back to load the bases and won it.

The game featured strong pitching performances. Serrano's R.J. Peace struck out six and allowed six hits. South Torrance's Drake Pingel struck out nine and allowed six hits.