SOUTHERN SECTION BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : 3-A : Western Defeats Troy in 12 the Hard Way, 2-1

Times Staff Writer

The Western High School baseball team had plenty of easy scoring opportunities Friday in its Southern Section 3-A playoff opener against Troy.

But the Pioneers decided they would rather do things the hard way.

Three times in 11 innings, Western had a runner at third base with one out or less, and three times, the Pioneers failed to score.

But when faced with more improbable odds, the Pioneers came through twice in the clutch to defeat the Warriors, 2-1, in a first-round game in Anaheim's Glover Stadium.

Rich Lodding's two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning tied the game, 1-1, and Scott Pawloski's two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning gave the second-seeded Pioneers the win.

Pawloski's hit scored David Tellers, who had doubled to open the 12th and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

Chris Robinson, who relieved starter Mike Greer in the 11th, struck out Dan Price and induced Mark Klump to fly out to short right field, but Pawloski lined a pitch cleanly to left for the winning hit.

That put an end to a three-hour game that the Pioneers, it seemed, didn't want to end. They had a runner at third with one out in the second inning, but Price and Klump struck out. They had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth, but Dave Brown struck out and Paul Boucher grounded out.

And then there was the 11th, The Inning of Infamy.

Boucher opened with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. The throw from catcher Mike Pawlawski back to Robinson got by the pitcher, though, and Boucher alertly advanced to third.

Runner on third, no outs.

With the infield in, Lodding grounded to shortstop for the first out, and the Warriors decided to intentionally walk Mark Tranberg. Troy, looking for a double play with Tellers up, moved its infielders back.

Western Coach Dave Bowman countered with a suicide squeeze, but Tellers missed on a low pitch, and Boucher was tagged by Pawlawski for the second out. Before Tellers had another chance to swing, pinch-runner John Nelson was picked off second.

As sloppy as the inning was, it was overshadowed by the outstanding pitching performances of Greer and Tellers.

Greer, a senior right-hander, allowed six hits and struck out 14 in 10 innings before being replaced by Robinson.

Tellers, also a senior right-hander, went 9, allowing six hits and striking out four before being replaced by Lodding. Lodding didn't allow a hit over the final 2 innings and was credited with the win.

Troy (12-10) scored in the top of the eighth when, with two out, John Woods blooped a single to center field and scored on Robinson's double to right-center.

But Western (23-4) came back in the bottom of the eighth when Shawn Frattone singled, was sacrificed to second and scored on Lodding's single to center.

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