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HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL ROUNDUP : Spare Fielder Keeps San Diego From Going Flat

Talk about unlikely heroes. Carlos Rivera, a spare outfielder at San Diego High, sat on the bench for the first six innings of Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Crawford.

But with one out in the top of the seventh, San Diego Coach Tom Lopez called on Rivera to replace right fielder Josh Hoffman.

As Lopez saw it, in case of a single, Rivera’s stronger arm would safeguard San Diego’s slim lead better than Hoffman’s, what with a runner on second and left-handed hitter Bashiri Cooper stepping to the plate.

Well, Cooper got the single all right--but it went to center. Still, pinch runner Anthony Sorrell, who was perched at second, had to stop at third.

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San Diego starter Josh Stepner then struck out Miguel Maldonado, his sixth strikeout of the game. Next up, Chris Townsend, the Crawford pitcher who had thrown a four-hitter, but would get no credit for a victory unless he provided the offensive punch very soon.

On the first pitch from Stepner, Townsend laced a line drive Rivera’s way.

The ball started dipping. It was apparent Rivera would have to get off his feet if he were to preserve the victory.

“I was scared,” Rivera said, knowing full well he was put in because of his arm, not his steady glove. “To catch it, I knew I was going to have to dive for it. It was scary, but when I felt the ball in my glove and I saw everybody jump up, I felt real good.”

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Rivera’s somersaulting catch not only iced the game for San Diego (7-3, 15-7), but capped a week during which San Diego closed a two-game gap with front-running Crawford (7-3, 15-6) to move into a tie for first place.

“The kid comes in off the bench like that and makes a big play, a big play ,” Lopez said. “Give him credit.”

San Diego’s run came unearned in the second because of a fly ball that was not caught. With two outs, Chino Arreola hit a high pop which center fielder Juan Verdin lost in the sun and let hit off the heel of his glove for a two-base error. Jeff Williams then hit a grounder to third, which third baseman Craig Browning fielded, but threw wildly to first for another two-base error, allowing Arreola to score.

In other City Central League games:

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San Diego 1, Crawford 0--San Diego (15-7, 7-3) scored its lone run on back-to-back errors, one a two-base error on a fly ball, the other in the infield. Crawford is 15-6, 7-3.

Lincoln 15, Hoover 13--Lincoln scored eight times in the bottom of the seventh to tie, and won it in the 12th on Don Anderson’s ground-rule double that scored two runs. Paul Greene, who started at catcher and made his first pitching appearance of the season, allowed three hits in the final five innings for the victory. There were 33 hits in the game.

City Eastern League

Serra 10, Morse 1--Mike Bledsoe (two RBIs), Shawn Wilson (RBI), Rom Barrera and Justin Wible had two hits apiece for Serra (8-16-1, 2-6-1). Dwane Bostic had three of the four Morse hits. The Tigers are 5-15-1, 0-7-1.

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Patrick Henry 9, Point Loma 8--Point Loma scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh and had the bases loaded with none out, but relief pitcher Dino Destifano induced a grounder to first, a strikeout and a grounder to second to end the game. Luke Lawrey had a grand slam and five RBIs for Patrick Henry (13-11, 7-3). Point Loma is 13-11, 7-3. Both are tied with Mira Mesa for first place.

City Western League

Kearny 11, University City 2--Scott Goligoski (5-4-1) struck out a season-high nine, giving him 69, and Sean Palmer had two hits, including a bases-loaded triple, for the Komets (10-13, 3-7). University City is 6-16, 1-8.

Mission Bay 16, La Jolla 1--Tom Lafever went two for three with three walks, three RBIs and three runs scored; Jesus Munos went three for five with two runs and two RBIs; and Doug Knight scored four runs for Mission Bay (12-8, 8-2). La Jolla is 12-10, 4-5.

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Metro Conference

Castle Park 10, Hilltop 1--Jackie Sosa continued a weeklong tear, going three for four and driving in eight runs to lead Castle Park (15-10, 6-4). Sosa, a 6-foot-2 senior third baseman, hit a three-run home run in the third, his seventh, a two-run single in the first and a three-run triple in the sixth. Sosa had seven hits in eight at bats and 11 RBIs in his last two games. He has 32 RBIs this year. Benji Gil (4-3) scattered 10 Hilltop hits en route to victory.

Bonita Vista 4, Mar Vista 2--Bonita Vista starter Jorge Millan (2-2) pitched six shutout innings before allowing two in the seventh. Joe Morales highlighted Bonita Vista’s (10-12, 4-6) four-run fifth inning with a two-run single. Mar Vista fell to 3-20, 0-10.

City Harbor League

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St. Augustine 11, Christian 6--Jeremy Klem of St. Augustine went three for four with three RBIs and teammate Aaron Gonsalves was two for four with a double and two RBIs. St. Augustine (14-10, 8-2) had 14 stolen bases, including three each by Mike Bryant and Jason Alcoser.

Nonleague

USDHS 4, Mira Mesa 0--Gavin Millay, a junior right-hander, went the distance and limited Mira Mesa to four hits in improving to 5-1. No. 4 USDHS improved to 19-4. No. 3 Mira Mesa fell to 17-5.


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