With Morse High School ahead by two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning against Serra on Friday, Tiger Coach Len Arevalo replaced starting pitcher Joel Lager with shortstop Paul Anderson.
Anderson earned the save, but not with his pitching. It was the solid fielding he brought to the mound that helped stop a rally, as Morse downed the Conquistadors, 5-4.
Morse is 9-7 and Serra 12-3 after the two City Eastern League teams played in the exhibition game. Both teams will begin league play Friday.
Anderson, who entered the game with a man on first, gave up a single and hit a Serra batter to load the bases. Then he fielded a hard-hit two-hopper to the mound and threw home to get the first end of a home-to-first double play that stopped Serra’s momentum. Serra did score a run on a bobbled grounder before a fly out ended the game.
Anderson’s fielding at short has been a bright spot for the Tigers all season. The senior shortstop has committed only one error.
“Of all the guys you want the ball hit to, Paul is the guy,” said Arevalo.
Anderson, who had played third in past seasons, was moved to short because Derwin Proby has played well at third.
“Paul is not a natural shortstop, but he is a natural athlete,” Arevalo said.
In the top of the seventh, with the scored tied, 3-3, Ralph Portillo started a Morse rally with a single to left. Anderson advanced Portillo to second with a single to center.
Proby drove in both runners with a double to right-center.
Serra scored three runs on four hits in the third inning. Morse replied in the top of the fourth with three runs of its own.
Serra Coach Gary Henderson said: “I think the guys were thinking before the game: ‘Hey, we’re 12-2 and we’re gonna beat everybody.’ We thought we could win without playing real hard, but that’s what happens when you win a bunch of games like we have.”