Agoura Bowled Over by Santa Clara on Controversial Play

Agoura High rolled over its first five Frontier League baseball opponents this season, so when it came time for the Chargers to lose--which they did Friday, falling, 5-4, in 10 innings at Santa Clara--they didn't figure to go down without a fight.

A controversial call at the plate, which allowed Santa Clara to score the winning run, touched off not only a bid for an appeal by Agoura Coach John Crow, but a bench-clearing brawl.

With two out in the 10th, Santa Clara's Augie Maciel, on his way home from second base on Chris Samuel's line drive to center field, bowled over Agoura catcher Josh Smaler to score the winning run.

But Crow took exception to the call.

"In CIF rules," Crow said, "when a runner does not slide or attempt to get around a fielder who has the ball and is ready to make a tag, he is out.

"All he did was run right over our catcher and knock the ball out. I don't know how I'm going to protest it only because you've got to protest before the next pitch. The game was over and the umpires ran away."

Santa Clara's victory celebration and the ensuing confrontation between Crow and the home plate umpire was soon engulfed by a postgame melee.

"I was arguing with the umpire and all of a sudden I found everything behind me," Crow said.

"A guy came up from behind me and tagged me in the lip," Agoura center fielder Chris Pittenger said, his mouth bleeding. "I didn't see anything. It all happened so fast."

Trailing, 4-3, Agoura (10-7, 5-1 in league play) pulled even in the sixth when Pittenger tagged starter Rod Garza's (3-1) first pitch of the inning for a triple, then scored on Dan Freedman's double.

The Saints (8-7, 3-2) jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first, scoring three runs on three hits off Charger right-hander David Aronowitz (4-3). Leadoff batter Kasha Clemens walked and, two outs later, Maciel singled to left.

Garth Terron pulled a double down the left-field line to score Clemens, and Paul Muro followed with another double, driving in Maciel and Terron.

Agoura scored once in the second and twice in third on Chase Ludwig's two-run single.

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