Sacred Heart High School's baseball players sport shamrocks on their uniforms, but it was Capistrano Valley that got all the breaks and a 3-2 victory Wednesday in the championship game of the Bolsa Grande Easter tournament at Garden Grove.
The Cougars scored the winning run on a squib hit. Then Sacred Heart's rally to tie the score ended when a single hit field umpire Cal Laub--who was standing between the pitcher's mound and second--and the potential tying run was erased.
This is the third straight year that Capistrano Valley (15-2) has won the championship, and Wednesday's victory was the Cougars' 13th straight in the tournament. Sacred Heart, a parochial school from San Francisco, is 12-8.
"I'd rather be lucky than good," said Bob Zamora, Capistrano Valley coach, after pitcher Brett Snyder got three straight outs in the seventh after Sacred Heart had opened the inning with a single and a double.
Snyder (5-1) also drove in what proved to be the winning run in the fifth inning, squibbing a grounder past Sacred Heart second baseman Mark Chiarucci that drove in Brad Haywood and Tommy Adams for a 3-1 lead.
Sacred Heart cut the lead to 3-2 with an unearned run on two consecutive errors in the sixth inning, and it appeared to have tied the score when designated hitter John Brown singled sharply through the middle. The ball hit the umpire, however, and Javier Alvarez, who had scored, was ordered back to third base. Under the rules, if a ball hits an umpire, the hitter is credited with a hit but a runner cannot advance.
Sacred Heart then tried a delayed steal, hoping to get Alvarez home with the tying run. But Brown was caught in a rundown between first and second and was put out before Alvarez could score. The play brought a protest from Sacred Heart Coach Steve Franceschi, and Laub ejected him from the game, along with Brown.
"That was one of the worst jobs of umpiring I've ever seen," said Franceschi. "Not only did the field umpire show poor judgment, he also had bad mechanics. He was in the wrong position when that ball hit him."
The game opened on an unusual note. Adams drove the opening pitch to the gap in right-center field and tried for an inside-the-park home run. But a fine relay throw by Alvarez nipped Adams at the plate.
It was one of the few times that opponents got Adams out in the tournament. He hit three homers and two triples in four games. Most of the Cougars hit well in the tournament, scoring 36 runs on 49 hits.
Sacred Heart scored first in the second inning when Harold McCray's bloop single scored Rich Rovetti. The Cougars tied the score, 1-1, on shortstop Bill Bardens' run-scoring single in the fourth.
Sacred Heart's George Debrunner opened the seventh with a single and moved to third on McCray's double down the left-field line.
Snyder struck out Jim Keighran, then fielded a grounder and threw out R.J. Ferrari at home. He finished the game by striking out Gus Alcantar.
In the fifth-place game:
Leuzinger 17, Bolsa Grande 1-- Leuzinger scored seven runs in the first inning and eight runs in the sixth at Los Amigos High School. The Olympians had 12 hits, all singles. John Ingram (9-1) was the winning pitcher, and Adam Overbo took the loss. Leuzinger is 15-3, Bolsa Grande is 10-5.
Newport Harbor 7, Estancia 6--With the score tied, 6-6, Jimmy Ferrell scored the winning run on a fielder's choice as Newport Harbor won the consolation championship.