SOUTHERN SECTION BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : 4-A : No. 1 Simi Valley Beats Ocean View in 9th, 3-2
For the record, Ocean View High School’s season came to an end Friday when Simi Valley’s Scott Sharts homered in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Pioneers a 3-2 win in a Southern Section 4-A quarterfinal game at Simi Valley.
But what Ocean View Coach Bill Gibbons will remember most about the game won’t be the 410-foot blast Sharts hit off reliever Brett Johnson to lead off the ninth.
What will haunt Gibbons will be the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Seahawks came within an out of upsetting the team ranked No. 1 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball Magazine.
“That’s when the game was lost,” Gibbons said. “We had the opportunity to close the door.”
But the Seahawks didn’t and the Pioneers were able to rally and win a playoff game on their last at-bat for the third straight time.
Ocean View, despite getting only one hit off Scott Radinsky in seven innings, led, 2-1, entering the bottom of the seventh.
The way David Holdridge was pitching for the Seahawks, it appeared Ocean View was on its way to a semifinal matchup with Esperanza, which defeated Rowland Friday, 7-2.
Holdridge, pitching for the first time in a month because of assorted injuries, had allowed only five hits in the first six innings while striking out 11.
But Holdridge gave up a single to Sharts to start the seventh and was replaced by Brent Knackert.
Tim Laker was the first batter Knackert faced and popped up a bunt. Knackert made a diving catch of the ball and had pinch-runner Greg Gerber doubled off first. But Knackert bobbled the ball while trying to throw it, allowing Gerber to get back to first.
The missed double play proved costly for Ocean View (19-5-1).
Von Herron then grounded to third and the Seahawks just missed turning another double play, as the speedy Herron beat second baseman Jim Van Patten’s throw to first.
With a chance to end the game, Knackert walked Mike Hankins, putting runners at first and second.
Then, on a 1-0 pitch, Shaun Murphy singled to left to score Herron. When left fielder Bill Daymude bobbled the ball, Hankins tried for third but was thrown out. David Leonhardt’s tag of Hankins at third came just after Herron touched the plate with the tying run.
Once Simi Valley (26-3) had tied the game, it turned to Radinsky to keep it that way. The senior left-hander allowed only two hits over nine innings, striking out 11 while walking eight. In winning his third straight playoff game, Radinsky improved his record to 14-1.
Radinsky breezed through the eighth and ninth innings, allowing only a single to Phil Chess.
That set the stage for Sharts, who made solid contact with Johnson’s second pitch and sent it deep over the fence in left-center field.
“It was a fastball, right down the pipe,” Sharts said. “I wasn’t thinking home run, I was just thinking base hit. That’s the first time I’ve ever won a game like that.”
Gibbons knew one of the reasons his team didn’t win.
“That leftie over there,” he said, pointing to Radinsky. “He’s a hoss.”
Radinsky had a no-hitter for 5 innings before Chess singled home a run to tie the score at 1-1. Radinsky then walked the next two batters to force in a run and give Ocean View a 2-1 lead.
Simi Valley got its first run in the third when Holdridge balked home Herron.
With two out and runners at first and third, Holdridge had Murphy picked off first base, but was called for a balk for making a motion toward the plate.