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Hart Rides Davis’ Clutch Triple to 6-3 Victory

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Some guys have a knack for hitting in the clutch. Or maybe some guys just have all the luck.

Maybe Rob Davis has both.

Davis provided the key hit Friday, tripling in the sixth inning to spark Hart High to a 6-3 win over visiting Claremont in a Southern Section 4-A Division first-round playoff game.

“Maybe it’s just luck,” Davis said. “The numbers show it, I suppose. But I don’t know why.”

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To wit: Davis, Hart’s senior shortstop, is the team’s leading hitter with a .456 average. He’s also batting a team-high .462 with runners in scoring position, a team-high .667 with two out and runners in scoring position and a team-high .536 after the fifth inning.

And so, as Hart’s luck would have it, it was Davis who stepped to the plate with the score tied and a runner at third base in the sixth.

Forget that Davis had struck out in two previous at-bats. This was his hour of power.

And he tripled to deep center field to trigger a three-run inning.

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“It’s not luck,” Hart Coach Bud Murray said. “Some people are like that. When you’re tough, you compete.”

Hart (23-1-2) had struggled to keep pace with pesky Claremont (15-13), a wild-card entry that gave a good account of itself against the top-seeded Indians.

Claremont roughed up Hart senior left-hander Andrew Lorraine for three runs on six hits in the first three innings and took a 3-2 lead into the fifth.

Hart struggled against senior right-hander Paul Rodriguez (9-6), who struck out six and scattered five hits before yielding to reliever Bob Skapik in the sixth.

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“We weren’t really worried,” Davis said. “We just try to stay with a team and then take advantage of their mistakes.”

Claremont made only one, officially. With Claremont leading by a run in the fifth, Rodriguez apparently had pitched out of a two-out jam with a runner at third base. Lance Migita launched an infield pop fly, but first baseman Rob Riley and catcher Marty Mazurek nearly collided near the first-base line and the ball grazed off Riley’s glove for an error.

Claremont made additional errors on the basepaths. Lorraine picked runners off first base in each of the first three innings.

Lorraine (9-0) settled down after the third, retiring the final 12 batters he faced--eight on strikeouts.

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