As darkness fell at the Kennedy High baseball field Thursday it became difficult to see. But at least one thing was crystal clear: Travis Bourne’s two-out single to score pinch-runner James Campbell from second arrived not a moment too soon.
Bourne’s single to center field came at 6:04 p.m. and proved to be the difference in Kennedy’s 13-12, six-inning North Valley League victory over previously unbeaten San Fernando.
Seven minutes and two low-and-outside pitches to Mike Murray later, the game was called because of darkness, giving the Golden Cougars (5-2, 1-1 in league play) a split of a two-game series with San Fernando, which defeated Kennedy, 4-3, Tuesday.
“You can’t throw a pitch after 6:11,” San Fernando Coach Steve Marden said, explaining the umpire’s decision to stop the game. “It was just too dark.”
One glance at the score book, however, illuminated one shortcoming: “Rule No. 1 in high school baseball,” Marden said, “is that pitchers must throw strikes.”
Nevertheless, there was a glut of bases on balls. Eighteen batters walked and 13 of them scored.
With his team leading, 12-4, in the fifth, Kennedy starter Denny Sharp walked four of the first six batters he faced, including three in a row to force in runs.
San Fernando (4-1, 1-1), which scored four times in the third to forge a 4-4 tie, scored six times in the fifth and twice in the sixth off reliever Palmer Drain (2-0) to knot the score, 12-12.
Kennedy scored twice in each of the first two innings and four times in both the third and fourth. Gino Tagliaferri slammed a towering two-run home run to left-center field in the first and Bourne, who was three for four, hit a two-run, line-drive home run to the same spot in the second.
Kennedy chased starter Hector De La Cruz in the third, then tagged relievers Jess Vasquez and John Najar each for four runs. Kennedy drew four walks in the third and two in the fourth.
In the sixth, Najar (0-1) yielded a two-out single to catcher Lazaro Campos. Campbell replaced Campos and stole second on the first pitch to Bourne.
“I couldn’t see the ball that well,” Bourne said. “But last time I came up, he threw me a lot of fastballs. I hit it in the right area.”