First inning Friday. USDHS had just scored two runs. Host Mission Bay was about to bat. What was Mission Bay Coach Dennis Pugh doing?
Looking at the flag.
What was on his mind?
The wind. He was thinking something to the effect of: "Oh, please stop blowing. Give us a chance."
Four innings later, his wish was granted. The wind died, and so did USDHS. Mission Bay scored five in the fifth to break a 3-3 tie en route to an 8-3 victory. The Buccaneers (17-3, 8-1) are now in sole possession of first place in the City Western League. USDHS (15-4, 7-2) dropped to second.
Mission Bay is a pitcher's park. On most days, Pugh said, the wind blows in and makes runs few and far between. But about the fourth inning, Pugh noticed that the flag was lifeless. That, coupled with USDHS's lifeless defense, made the fifth inning good for Mission Bay.
A quick look at the bottom of the inning.
Gavin Millay, USDHS's starter and loser, greeted two Mission Bay batters with pitches in the gut. Tom Lafever doubled, Mike McKesson and Tony Lennan singled. Gary Remiker replaced Millay after two runs were in and balked home a third before throwing his first pitch. Throw in an error, a walk, a sacrifice fly and two more runs. That was that.
And that was plenty for USDHS Coach Dick Serrano. After watching his Dons unravel, committing five errors, Serrano had few words, but he made his point with conviction.
"Today we choked," he said. "We had guys playing scared."
Mission Bay starter Jim Thomas (7-1) recovered nicely from a rocky first inning in which he gave up two runs. Millay picked up both RBIs in the inning, doubling over the left fielder's head. But Thomas, traditionally a slow starter, gained momentum as the game progressed, keeping USDHS hitters off balance with his changeup. He went the distance, allowing five hits.
Pugh knows Thomas is tougher in the late innings. He also knows his team can hit its way out of a deficit.
"We felt we could hit Millay," said Pugh, whose team lost to USDHS earlier this season. "This is a better hitting team than I've had in a few years."
In another City Western League game:
University City 4, La Jolla 3 (nine innings)--Joe Maggio hit a bases-empty home run in the fifth for La Jolla (4-16, 1-9), but host University City (6-13, 4-5) scored the winning run in the ninth on an error.
City Eastern League
Mira Mesa 6, Point Loma 2--Rickey Hastey went three for four with two stolen bases, and Travis Arnold won his eighth game for Mira Mesa (18-2, 10-0). Arnold (8-1) struck out 10 and limited host Point Loma (5-17, 1-9) to four hits.
Patrick Henry 8, Morse 6--Scott Arlin (2-2) went the distance and was two for three at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored for Patrick Henry (13-9, 7-3).
Madison 8, Serra 0--Albert Mendiola and Greg Chrones each hit a grand slam for Madison (15-6, 7-3), Mendiola in the fifth and Chrones in the seventh. Devin Fitzmaurice (3-1) was the winner.
City Central League
Hoover 5, San Diego 3--Tyrone Upton had a base-empty home run, triple and double for host Hoover (11-8-1, 6-3). Roger Blake had a bases-loaded triple during Hoover's three-run fifth. San Diego is 8-10-1, 3-7.
Crawford 7, Christian 0--Manny Gagliano hit two home runs, a three-run homer in the first and a solo in the third, to lead Crawford (18-3, 10-0) to its 10th consecutive victory. Chris Townsend (9-0) had seven strikeouts and pitched a three-hitter. Christian is 6-11, 4-6.
St. Augustine 16, Lincoln 8--Visiting St. Augustine scored its 16 runs on just seven hits. Lincoln pitchers Matt Miner, Dacus Hale and Monte Smith combined to issue 14 walks and hit four St. Augustine batters. Brad Gennaro had a three-run home run and five RBIs for St. Augustine (10-11, 5-5).
Francis Parker 3, Army-Navy 0--William Beamer threw a no-hitter at Army-Navy. Beamer struck out eight and, with the help of some good defense, didn't allow a ball to leave the infield. Francis Parker is 11-6, 7-0.
Fallbrook 3, Escondido 1--Keith Elston (1-0) earned the victory, and David Michaelian hit a bases-empty home run in the sixth for host Fallbrook (13-8, 2-5). Jeff Hopkins hit a base-empty home run in the seventh for Escondido (14-6, 6-1).
Valhalla 10, Monte Vista 4--Tony Clark hit a three-run homer in the first for Valhalla (11-9-1, 5-4). David Angotti and Tony Carrasco each went two for three with an RBI for visiting Valhalla. Mike Nelson (1-1) was the winner.
Santana 11, El Capitan 9 (8)--Sid Molero homered to start the game for El Capitan, but Ferdie Hollis hit a two-run homer to give Santana the victory in the bottom of the eighth. El Capitan's Jeremy McGarity was three for four with three RBIs.
Grossmont 7, Mt. Miguel 1--Joe Donlon, Todd Cady, John Tatum, Danny Lennon and Jon Eichhorst all hit home runs, and Mark Gapski (6-1) pitched a three-hitter for Grossmont.