Hart High, playing its fourth game this week and already in a pitching bind because of a shoulder injury to starter Jason Edwards, proved that any pitching woes can be cured with a proper dose of timely hitting.
The Indians, aided by two crucial errors, scored five runs in the seventh inning to erase a four-run deficit and defeat El Segundo, 12-11, in the fifth-place game of the El Segundo tournament at Hart.
Hart’s decisive inning started harmlessly. Robby Davis hit a tame grounder to third, but Chris Lane bobbled the ball and his hurried throw to first was late. Suddenly, the Hart offense, which had been held scoreless since the fourth inning, came to life.
Ray Gardocki and Casey Burrill singled to load the bases, prompting El Segundo Coach John Stevenson to replace starter Brett Newell with Rob Croxall. Chris Vasquez hit Croxall’s second pitch for a single to cut the Eagles’ lead to 11-9. David Toledo drove in another run with Hart’s fourth consecutive single, and Edwards lofted a fly ball to center that scored Vasquez and evened the score, 11-11.
Toledo took third after an infield single by Jay Sanford and a sacrifice fly. Lance Migita, batting .533 but carrying the burden of hitting into a rally-killing double play the previous inning, followed with a sharp grounder that was bobbled by Newell, now playing third.
Newell proceeded to bounce his throw to first ahead of Migita, but the umpire ruled that Lane, now playing first, never had possession of the ball, allowing the winning run to score.
“It was a real great win,” said Coach Bud Murray, whose team improved to 4-1. “I feel sorry for El Segundo, though. They did a real great job of coming back.”
The Eagles (3-2) had rallied from a 7-3 deficit and took the lead in the sixth on Erik Evans’ three-run homer. El Segundo padded its advantage with three runs in the seventh, setting the stage for Hart’s rally.